Some museums are just one building.
The Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village is just that – a whole VILLAGE!
There is a main museum, and then several buildings around the main museum on the grounds, old churches, homes and other historic dwellings and out buildings have been moved onto the property to preserve the history of this area that tied its livelihood and survival to the success of the Erie canal.
There are several guilds that call the museum home – they have a lace making guild as well as a thriving guild for quilters, and many groups use the facility to help promote and preserve the craft, keeping it available to us today.
On Thursday after our workshop was over, I was given a guided tour behind the scenes in the archives of the museum – the inner sanctum!
Here you see stacks of acid free boxes full of textiles ---I wished I could have stayed and examined the contents of every precious box!
But we only had a limited amount of time, and we focused on a special project that the guild has been involved with, recreating several of the quilts in the museum collection as closely to the originals as possible so that quilts may be displayed in their historic settings with in the homes and other buildings on the museum grounds.
Having replicas preserves the originals, and yet people get the feeling of which quilts were from what era ---
I had a hard time telling just which one was the real one, and which one was the clone!
The guild members searched far and wide for fabrics that were nearly identical to those in the original quilts. If the original quilt was tied, they tied the replica, if the fabric in the original was badly faded, they used sunlight and even bleaching products to achieve a similar look.
16 patch – the one on top is the original, circa 1870!
The replica’s sashings are just a bit darker, but the two quilts are nearly identical and when placed on the beds in the houses in the village – you would never know that wasn’t the “real old deal!”
The one on the bottom is the replica, the one on top, the original. They look identical to me!
Close up of original 1890s fabrics
Closer still! I love the blue ones with the zig zag and wavy lines!
Rose Wreath quilts!
Loads of hand applique went into the rose wreath quilts, the replica is on the bottom, and the original is on the top, circa 1850.
Close up of original wreath.
Pink Snowball circa 1830
The replica is on the bottom, and the original is on the top. The original had faded in such a way that no “new” fabric was available to create a quilt that had that authentic aged look. Old pinks turned yellowish with age – and the only way to recreate that was with a bleaching technique which left the reproduction pink looking sun faded in spots and not in others – which is the way that old quilts age. Nothing fades evenly. Nothing stains evenly. When on the bed, this one looks spot on for the era in which the original was created. Great job, Amherst Quilters!
Close up of original quilt, circa 1830
Poor Shredded Album Block in paisleys, circa 1870
And would you believe I was so enamored with this abundance of paisley that I forgot to take the photo of the replica quilt? Believe me, it is identical in every way only there is no shredding, tearing or deterioration – which is why duplicates are being made.
1890s crazy quilt
Close up of stitches!
This one was just out I think for the embroiderer’s guild..no replication is being made of this lovely quilt, but it was so fun to look at all the pieces that went into it and all the stitches used to frame each patch.
The museum also had some great quilts hanging for display behind protective glass:
Red & Green Applique circa 1850!
Beautiful Sunburst circa 1870 with geese and squares border…
Take a look at that border….the ONLY time it turns to squares is at the far right side. So was THAT the head of the quilt? Or the foot? We may never know! I just thought it was interesting that the geese all point toward the center on that border, and those squares on point are centered within the border. Also notice the fabric changes within a couple of the blocks…row 2, 3rd block over particularly.
This just reemphasizes to me that if all the blocks and parts of the quilt are perfect, it is just NOT as interesting to look at. I love the little bits of quirkiness shown in this great quilt!
Mother load of treadles!
I had a great time spending 4 days at this wonderful museum! I loved meeting those that run the show from behind the scenes ----they even let me ogle the MACHINES in the archives! Too bad none of them were up and functional. I would have loved to give a treadle demo to the other quilters in attendance so we could show them how it’s done!
Thanks again, Amherst Quilters and museum staff for making my visit so fun and memorable.
Today ---no time for sewing today. But I might be able to get a binding on this evening and sit and do some hand sewing tonight.
Today is for getting the suitcase unpacked and contents washed and repacked. The trunk show needs to be unpacked, quilts switched out and new quilts for the next round of classes switched in to the line up. Book orders are going out, I’ve been gone for 12 days!
There is a lot to be done, but I’m going at it at a slower pace and trying to think of today and tomorrow as my “weekend” before flying off to Michigan on Wednesday --