Exhibit: Quilts — Art, History, Community

A look back at the Quilts — Art, History, Community exhibit of historic quilts from the collection of the Aurora Historical Society on display.

The visiting curator for the exhibit, Erin Howard, says that of the numerous quilts owned by the society, the two dozen she has chosen reflect some aspect of art, history or community.   “We have a simple ‘Nine Patch’ pattern made by or for a 10-year old girl, and we have the intricate c. 1880 ‘Pineapple’ pattern made by an unknown but highly expert needlewoman who used luxurious silk that had only recently become available in the United States,”  Howard says.  “We have a beautiful ‘Log Cabin’ quilt made by Anna Makepeace Tanner and her 6 daughters,”  Howard continues, “and since that pattern was well-known as a way to use up scraps from other projects, we see it as a perfect fit with the lifestyle of the Tanners, who despite their fine and well-furnished house, were basically modest and hardworking people.”

Howard credits the centennial year of 1876 as a factor in the rise of interest in traditional quilting and points out that while many forms of women’s work tended to isolate individuals in the home, quilting could be a communal endeavor as women gathered at “bees” to work on a single quilt.


Quilts are many things.

They are the result of practical skills painfully gained, but are respected as unique artistic achievements.

They are reminders of the isolation of “women’s work”, but can be as intimate as our own pillows.

These quilts have many stories to tell. Stories of toil and creation, tradition and change, friendship and family. Stories of Aurora and Aurorans past and present.

Presented by the Aurora Historical Society
September 28, 2019 – October 26, 2019

John Jaros, Executive Director
Mary Clark Ormond, Board President
Erin Ruggaber Howard, Guest Curator

Special Thanks to our Exhibit Volunteers:
Scott Sherwood; Bill Walsh; Mike Philipchuck; and Daniel Howard

Click on photos below to read more about each quilt.

Stay tuned. More photos of the exhibit will be added soon.