Texas Tech University

Historic Quilt Exhibit Opening at Museum of Texas Tech

Heidi Toth

January 11, 2016

“Legacy of a Thousand Stitches” includes almost 50 quilts spanning more than 150 years of history.


An exhibition on quilting, one of the original types of graphic design, opens Friday (Jan. 15) at the Museum of Texas Tech University, 3301 4th St.

“Legacy of a Thousand Stitches” includes 42 unique handmade quilts from the museum's collection. Quilts, which were designed to tell a story or send a message, in many cases are the only legacy left behind by the quilter. Where the maker's identity is known, a picture and history will be included.

“The collection is encyclopedic in that major types of quilts are represented from an early 19th century whitework and trapunto quilt whose whole design is created by the quilting line and areas that have been stuffed from the back to create a three-dimensional effect, to quilts made by contemporary quilt artists,” said Marian Ann Montgomery, the curator of clothing and textiles at the museum. “There are quilts made from early 19th century chintz and those made from the feed sacks that were used across West Texas for clothing and household items.”


Highlights of the display include:

  • A quilt of chintz cut with an inscription documenting it to 1839, which contains the same fabric prints as chintz quilts in the collections of the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum and Colonial Williamsburg.
  • A quilt made by Hispanic women in Lubbock in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the work of the Baptist Women's Missionary Union and presented to the president of the Mexican Baptist Convention in 1988.
  • A machine-appliqued quilt dating to 1861, which is unusual because few households had sewing machines at the start of the Civil War.
  • A red and white Rocky Mountain Road quilt made in the late 1800s by Annie Parker Anderson, a relative of Chief Quanah Parker.
  • A wool suggan, a small quilt often used by cowboys, which is embroidered with cattle brands.

Additionally, six doll quilts will be on display. These quilts are rare because they typically were made from scraps from household sewing and often didn't survive playtime. This is the first time these quilts have been exhibited at the Museum of Texas Tech.

The exhibit runs through May 15. Visitors can pick up a catalog in the gift shop that includes the history and photos of 101 quilts, including the 42 that will be on display.

Interested patrons can participate in a bed turning on March 31, in which the other quilts will be available for viewing. Included in that special exhibit is the Susan Robb quilt, the only surviving quilt that records the Confederate sympathies from the Civil War.