Going West! Quilts and Community

October 4, 2007 — January 21, 2008

Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
This is an embroidered wool quilt with red color tones and four circles.

Sara Barbary Good Boldon, Wagon Wheels Crazy Quilt, Craig, Burt County, Nebraska, about 1890, wool; pieced, tied, pressed, and embroidered, Lent by the Burt County Museum, Tekamah

Going West! Quilts and Community reveals the essential role that quilts and the making of quilts played in the lives of women on the frontier. The exhibition features 50 quilts from the first quarter of the nineteenth century to the 1930s—on loan from historical societies and museums in Nebraska—that were brought on the journey as cherished memories or made once women established homes on the prairie. Going West! includes a wide variety of quilts, from the familiar log cabin and lone star patterns to variations of the fan and wagon wheel to crazy quilts, doll and children’s quilts and community signature works. Each quilt reveals the extraordinary creativity of the individuals who made them and help to tell the stories of Americans who forged west and of the country's pioneering spirit.

Exhibition Catalogue

Going West! Quilts and Community

The accompanying catalogue, co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and D Giles Ltd. London, includes contributions by Sandi Fox and an introduction by author and independent curator Roderick Kiracofe. It is available for purchase in the museum’s store and online.


The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of Helen and Peter Bing for this exhibition.