Western’s Mountain Heritage Center unveils first online exhibit “Southern Appalachian Quilts”

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center recently unveiled its first online exhibit, “Southern Appalachian Quilts,” featuring photographs and information about 37 quilts in the center’s collection.

The exhibit, located on the Web at www.wcu.edu/mhc/exhibits.htm (link no longer active; see http://www.quiltindex.org/contributor.php?kid=1F-BB-0), is part of the center’s ongoing efforts to increase the accessibility of artifacts donated to the Mountain Heritage Center by residents of Western North Carolina, said Suzanne McDowell, center curator.

The quilts were collected by center staff over the past two decades and cover the years 1850 to 1975.

In addition to photographs, the exhibit includes details about quilt pattern history and construction techniques, information about the quilt makers, and notes about the history of particular quilts, including oral history traditions passed down through families who have owned the quilts, McDowell said.

Western graduate students from the departments of history and international business assisted with research and Web design.

The online exhibit is part of the Mountain Heritage Center’s “Threads” project, which began in 2001 and includes a thorough documentation of each quilt in the center’s collection and preservation assessment by textile conservators from the Biltmore House. Funding for the “Threads” project was provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Quilter’s Guild of Dallas Inc.

The Mountain Heritage Center is a regional history museum located on the ground floor of the H.F. Robinson Administration Building on Western’s campus. For more information about the center and its programs, call (828) 227-7129.