So where did I get to last time…. Um Conkeys’ Tavern wasn’t it? Well moving through all the different room sets which are surprisingly full of authentic goodies and very well informed staff you reach the quilt room which I’m sure is a delight for anyone regardless of their sewing skills.
One, the room is the first to have its windows open to the outside and you feel the benefit of the natural light and space (the rest are all closed with simulated American views painted on them) but don’t worry there is a large screen protecting light from entering the whole room, so the quilts don’t fade. The views are beautiful and it’s all too easy to imagine how you would spend your days if you owned this house. I’ll tell you, you’d dress up in Regency finery and sit on the window seat composing insipid poetry or writing romance fiction whilst taking long, wistful looks over your land.
The landscape that you see is rolling fields, woodland, rising hills and well tended lawns. You don’t see much in the way of other buildings so it all seems very well preserved from modern living which adds to the feeling of history that the museum so well induces.
It was a grey day when we went so this picture does little to inspire but you can get the gist I hope.
The quilt room! Photography is strictly prohibited in the museum which is a shame as the postcard selection is balls. This is a major disappointment and one which I’m still cross about. We were lucky, however, to have a very well informed American quilter amongst the visitors to the museum and she explained some of the techniques used and the history of some of the quilts and their meanings.
They have to be seen to be believed. The stitching is so fine it’s almost invisible. There is quite a range from the political, personal, celebratory to decorative. There were approximately 25 or so on display but I think the museum holds a collection of around 50. 25 was plenty to see as the level of skill was intimidating and awe inspiring. I would have loved to have been able to share with you some pictures to tempt you to come but it isn’t possible. Here is a picture of a decorative sewn panel which is not in the quilt room, it is in the folk room and it is the only good pic the museum sells.
This is, I think, called courthouse steps style and is made entirely from the ribbons used to wrap around cigars, hence all the text on the ribbons and the golden colour of them.
So, hopefully you now have a good idea of what the museum holds, there is loads more I’ve not properly mentioned, history of the destruction of the native American tribes and their lands, the slaughter of the bison, history of slavery and emancipation, trade with china, Shaker style and so on but that is for you to go and discover for yourself. So go! Here’s the link to their home page American Museum in Britain and I shall finish with some more pics.