Pieces of the Past

Pieces of the Past:  Quilts Tell A Story

Available as a slide program

This exhibit shows that there’s much, much more to a quilt than merely the utilitarian purpose of keeping people warm. Quilts are used to decorate homes, as gifts to celebrate a person or event, and to remember a loved one. These historic quilts tell stories about their makers, and often are all that remain of these talented, self-sufficient women.

Even though the quilts are no longer on display at the Woodson History Center, we have created a PowerPoint presentation that includes both full-screen and close-up views of all the quilts from the exhibit, plus photos of their makers. The talk includes stories about the women who made these useful works of art and why the quilts were made.

Viewers learn about the artistic, cultural, historic, and social importance of the quilts. They learn about the women who made them and how lifestyle, current events, and society affected fabric and pattern choices. Through the quilts and their stories, a picture emerges of the important contributions made by women at a time when their opportunities remained limited.

For example, we look at views of a quilt made by women in many homemakers clubs across Marathon County as a wedding gift for the woman who founded many of them in the 1920s. We hunt for a scrap from our country's Centennial in 1876, that was included in a quilt made of 2 1/2 - inch hexagons. 

Support for this exhibit was provided through the Community Arts Grant Program of the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, with funds provided by the Wisconsin Arts Board, a state agency; the Community Foundation; and the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation.