A group of volunteers – quilt historians, quilt enthusiasts and quiltmakers – who believe it is time to survey, record, preserve and share the stories of Oregon quilts and their makers. Many other states have completed similar documentation projects and shared their findings; we think it is time for one to be undertaken in the Beaver State!
The project was launched in 2009 and reorganized in 2012 as a project of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem. The Heritage Center is located at the historic Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, a site with rich textile history of its own. Since the first quilt documentation day in April, 2010, more than 1,400 quilts have been recorded. We predict that hundreds more will surveyed by the end of the project in April, 2019.
Quilts have been arriving in Oregon since the 1840’s and have continuously been made since that time. They are textile documents, often made by women whose stories may be otherwise unrecorded. What can these textile documents tell us about their makers and the time in which they were made? On a larger scale, can quilts made in or brought to Oregon tell us about community history in our state? Are Oregon quilts unique in patterns, colors, techniques styles or materials? We hope to find some answers to these and other questions.