Western Pennsylvania Quilt Documentation Project

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Name of documentation project: Western_Pennsylvania_Quilt_Documentation_Project

Primary institutional or organizational affiliation of the project: Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation (BCHRLF)

Description of Project and Scope

When did documentation begin? March 28, 2009

When did documentation end? Ongoing. Anticipate a 2014 deadline.

Is documentation ongoing? Yes

How many documentation days were held? Currently 21 documentation days have been conducted.

Describe parameters for quilts to be included in the documentation:

Describe any particular factors that motivated starting the documentation: In 2008, a Pennsylvania Historical Museum consultant suggested that the BCHRLF focus on women’s history. The Foundation has an extensive hands-on program for young girls that features a timeline of history. Programs are offered on weaving, spinning, lacemaking, embroidery, and the history of clothing. A conversation was held with Sue Reich, who suggested that a documentation had not been completed in western Pennsylvania and it would be a worthy project.

Describe any special characteristics about your documentation: Currently we are documenting the quilts that belong to Muriel and Foster McCarl. Mrs. McCarl owned over 125 quilts that range from the late 1700s through contemporary times.

Project Outcomes

A. Documentation

How many quilts were documented? At this point, 300 quilts.

What format are the images of the quilts? Digital

Were Oral Histories obtained? Each quilt owner was given the opportunity to provide an oral history.

What format was used to collect Oral Histories? Recordings were not made of the preliminary interview.

What type of ephemera was collected? Ephemera collected has varied according to each individual. We have collected photos and news clippings that have been provided. This information has been kept with the original intake information.

Does the documentation project have a website? The quilt documentation is listed on the website of the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation.

B. Computerization and Digitization

Has the information ever been entered into any kind of database? Not at this point.

How and where are the digital files stored? Digital files are stored on the BCHRLF computer hard drive. Backups are on CD in two different locations.

C. Publication and Exhibits

Publications anticipated include a book describing the quilts that have been documented as having been made in western Pennsylvania. It is conceivable that an additional book could be written about the McCarl collection even though those quilts were acquired from a wide variety of places. Having been in a private collection for most of the past forty years, these unusual and high quality quilts will be of interest to quilt lovers and historians. We further anticipate that articles and/or papers will be submitted to the American Quilt Study Group for publication in either Blanket Statements or Uncoverings. As the projected continues, it is possible that a local exhibition could be mounted featuring the oldest and most unusual quilts documented.

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