Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Amazing Museum Trip

Last week I ventured down to Richmond, Virginia for a trip with the Baltimore Applique Society to visit the Museum of the Confederacy for what I thought was going to be a little tour of a museum and a chance to view a couple of antique quilts.  Talk about an understatement!   

We started out touring the White House of the Confederacy with a tour guide that was nothing short of amazing!  Abdul was a retired Seargent-Major of the Army who was born and raised in the Richmond area, and knew his history like no one I've met before.  The House has been restored to as it was when Jefferson Davis and his family lived there, and our guide shared facts and told us stories that brought it to life for us.  It was a fascinating tour. 

Then we went next door to the Museum where we had been pre-scheduled to meet with Cathy Wright the curator in charge of the textile collection, and go behind the scenes to view some of the antique quilts in the museum's collection.

We were asked not to publish any pictures of the quilts, so here you can't see the quilt, but you can see how we all gathered around and viewed several wonderful Civil War era quilts in two different conservation rooms of the museum that included some gorgeous embroidery, a really cool hexi quilt, some beautiful pieced quilts, a couple of wonderfully preserved crazy quilts, and a down right amazing hand-quilted trapunto whole cloth quilt.  Cathy was so gracious, and was very knowledgeable sharing the history of the quilts. 

If you want to view the quilts in the Museum of the Confederacy's collection, they have a great feature on their website were they've photographed the quilt collection, and you can even zoom in to see the fabrics up close.  Go to , sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy :)

Then after we walked through the museum's exhibits, we got a totally un-scheduled treat.  Teresa Roane who is in charge of the Archives at the Museum invited our group upstairs to tour their library and collection of wonderful letters and documents.  Teresa showed us some original letters from Civil War soldiers and Generals.  I was amazed at how people 150 years ago, even though we write a bit differently and have totally different life experiences, are so similar to people of today in their thoughts to their loved ones, rantings to their superiors, and even shared jokes between cousins.

The picture above shows us in our grand finale of the day after Teresa unscrolled the original Provisional Articles of the Confederacy for us to look over!

It was amazing to see history so up close and personal, and Teresa's enthusiasm was catching.  I was blown away at the hospitality of the people who run this museum and how much they thoroughly enjoyed sharing the history with us.  If you are ever visiting the Richmond area, I highly recommend a trip to the Museum of the Confederacy!  Don't you just love it when a little trip turns into such a delightful day!

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn


Anonymous said...

Dawn, thankyou for sharing about your recent trip to the MOC. I didn't know about the quilt collection on line. I will enjoy many hours of looking and dreaming about the quilts. It will be a great site to go to at work during down time as the 'org' sites are not blocked. Have a great holiday and happy quilting.

Pat said...

This sounds like a wonderful trip. It seems, though, that your group made advance arrangements to have such good guides and I wonder if one or two folks just showing up would get to see as much as you did? Thanks for providing the link for us to see their antique quilts!

Dawn said...

You're right, we had already made arrangements to go behind the scenes and see the quilts in the conservation room, and we probably got invited to see the archives because we were a group. But the house tour is the same one everyone would get, and the Archives can be visited by anyone by appointment ~ I was most impressed with the energy and enthusiasm that everyone there had for their exhibits and collections. I think that's what made the day :)

Michele said...

What an exciting and interesting trip!