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September 17, 2010

Program Examines Quilts from the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries

From whole cloth to patchwork to crazy quilts, Linda Baumgarten, Colonial Williamsburg curator of textiles and costumes, looks at quilts in America from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries during the program, Three Centuries of Quilts in America at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

Baumgarten curated the exhibition, “Quilted Fashions,” which showcases 200 years of pre-1800 quilted textiles from America, Great Britain and elsewhere around the world, including the Mediterranean and India. This exhibition was made possible by a grant from Mary and Clinton Gilliland of Menlo Park, Calif., through the Turner-Gilliland Family Fund. “Quilted Fashions” will be on view through Oct. 4.

In addition writing a number of articles on the subjects of costumes and textiles, Baumgarten is the author of three books: “What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America”; “Eighteenth-Century Clothing in Williamsburg”; and “Costume Close-Up: Clothing Construction and Pattern 1750-1790,” co-authored with John Watson and Florine Carr.

Her most recent work has been on the subject of quilts and quilted clothing from 1600 to 1800. She has embarked on a project of drawing the stitching patterns on quilts to allow easy comparison of their designs and their evolution. Her article on quilted petticoats, which included many of these pattern drawings, appeared in the 2007 issue of “Dress,” the journal of the Costume Society of America.

Baumgarten holds two master’s degrees: one from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the second from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture in Delaware.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, museum pass or Good Neighbor Card provides access to this lecture.

The Sept. 23 presentation is part of an 11-month series celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Wallace Museum. Programs are scheduled through December 2010.

All hour-long lectures begin at 7 p.m. Dates and topics of upcoming presentations include:

  • Thursday, Oct. 21. George Washington Sipped Here: Tea and Liberty in 18th-century Virginia. Ceramics expert and Colonial Williamsburg products manager Liza Gusler explores the ritual of tea drinking in colonial Virginia.
  • Thursday, Nov. 18. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Using Prints to Re-create the Past. Laura Barry, Colonial Williamsburg associate curator of prints, maps and paintings, explores the role of 18th-century prints and other graphics in revealing the day-to-day lives of early Americans.
  • Thursday, December 16.Decking the Halls: The Evolution of Holiday Decoration at Historic Sites. Amanda Rosner, Colonial Williamsburg assistant curator of historic interiors and household accessories, looks at Christmas decorations in the house museum and reveals what is fact and what is fancy.

    Programs and exhibitions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

    The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

    The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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