Do You Own a Heritage Quilt?

Quilt documentation day coming soon, so don't miss this chance.

  • Aug. 5, 2015 8:00 a.m.
WARM AND COMFY - The Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum wishes to continue to document heritage quilts made in Alberta or brought as part of the migration to Alberta.

WARM AND COMFY - The Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum wishes to continue to document heritage quilts made in Alberta or brought as part of the migration to Alberta.

The Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum is pleased to announce that former Museum Manager Lucie Heins (now the Assistant Curator, Western Canadian History at the Royal Alberta Museum) is returning for a public Quilt Documentation Day on Tuesday, August 18 from 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. This is an opportunity to have your family quilt(s) documented and photographed (at no cost to you) in order to preserve its history and contribution to Alberta’s quilting history. Lucie and her team will look at the techniques and materials used to make your quilt. They will also try to collect as much history as possible. If you don’t know the age of your quilt, they will be able to give you an approximate date. Only pre-1970 quilts will be considered at this time unless a heritage quilt top was finished after 1970.

The Western Canadian History Program at the Royal Alberta Museum has been working on an Alberta Craft Research Initiative to document the material culture of craft production within the Alberta context. The Alberta Quilt Project, a component of this research initiative, looks at contemporary quilts made in Alberta over the last 25 years and heritage quilts made in Alberta or brought by immigrants to Alberta. As the Alberta Quilt Project proceeds, it is hoped that this research will help tell the Alberta quilting story. Most history books written about quilts in Canada are about quilts in eastern Canada. It is time to change that. The information captured through the quilt documentation events and interviews will help to capture that history. If you own a heritage or family quilt made in Alberta or as part of the immigrant story to Alberta, it may be a good candidate.

The Heritage Museum’s Executive Director Karen Aberle believes that “this is an important event, both for the museum and for Wetaskiwin. It allows us to welcome Lucie home and, much like a quilt itself, to join individual pieces from our community, as well as all of Alberta, so that together we can all help to tell the story of our cultural heritage.” If you would like more information about the event, or to book a time to have your quilt(s) documented, please contact Karen at 780-352-0227. If you wish more information about the Alberta Quilt Project contact Lucie Heins at 780-453-9176 or lucie.heins@gov.ab.ca.

History of the Project

Phase I of the Alberta Quilt Project, documenting 21st century Alberta quilters, was completed during the first two and a half years of the project. In order to truly capture Alberta quilters today, it was necessary that as many quilters as possible participate in a survey. More than 600 quilters have completed a very detailed survey questionnaire. The results have been analyzed and there is no doubt that quilting trends today differ from quilting trends 100 years ago. There is also great diversity in the types of quilts made today, from traditional to contemporary art pieces. The results of the project were shared with Alberta quilters in almost 30 different communities throughout Alberta from as far south as Etzikom and Lethbridge and as far north as Grand Prairie and Peace River.

This is a unique project because most documentation projects focus specifically on heritage quilts. In 50 or 100 years from now, material culture historians will be thrilled that Alberta quilting trends were captured at this time. Alberta quilters are making their own history today although for most of us it is just an everyday existence. We rarely think of today as history because it is the present. Alberta quilters should know that they are pioneers in this new and innovative research.

Phase II, a five year project, is in its third year. We wish to continue to document heritage quilts made in Alberta or brought as part of the migration to Alberta. Our goal is to document and photograph quilts found in regional museums as well as in private collections throughout Alberta. This documentation allows us to see the different kind of quilts made during different decades, the materials and the patterns used to create them. This will help us capture trends by regions if any. All of the information retrieved will reside in the Royal Alberta Museum.