Press Room -- Illinois State Museum, Springfield
SPRINGFIELD –State Representative Donald Moffitt and his wife Carolyn Moffitt of Gilson, IL recently donated an approximately 140 year old quilt to the Illinois State Museum. The cheddar and white colored, pine bur pattern pieced quilt was a gift to Carolyn Moffitt from sisters Mildred and Marian Shelton originally from Berwick, Illinois. According to family history, the Sheltons’ mother, Vada Wiswell, created the quilt as a young woman alongside other community members sometime between 1875 and1890. This group of talented quilters reportedly came together during the Civil War to sew quilts for soldiers then continued making quilts after the war ended.
Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts Angela Goebel-Bain said, "This is an important acquisition for the Illinois State Museum as we strive to represent the work of people from all over the state. The Museum holds over 450 quilts, mostly made and used in Illinois. The Illinois State Museum’s quilt collection is exceptionally strong, and this addition enhances the Museum’s ability to preserve Illinois’ rich quilt-making heritage. I am especially pleased to have a quilt made by a group of quilters who came together during the Civil War and continued their relationship for decades. This quilt is an excellent example of how women continued to work together to create and maintain cooperative relationships in the aftermath of the Civil War."
Representative Moffitt reflects on his and Mrs. Moffitt's decision to donate this quilt to the Illinois State Museum, "To appreciate where we are today as a society we need to understand from where we have come. Preserving local history helps us do that. This quilt is an example of the legacy of ladies' efforts to support each other during the Civil War while their men were serving their country. Marian and Mildred Shelton gave us this beautiful quilt made by their ancestors and family friends in the Berwick, IL area. We feel it honors the Shelton family and allows more Americans to appreciate this work of art if the Illinois State Museum displays it as a tribute to the brave American soldiers who have served since our great democracy was founded. The quilt has been a source of pride in our private collection and we wanted to be sure it was well preserved because of the craftmanship it embodies."
The Illinois State Museum promotes discovery, learning, and an appreciation of Illinois’ natural, cultural, and artistic heritage. The Museum’s extensive collections and research activities provide the foundation for exhibitions and public programs that tell the story of the land, life, people, and art of Illinois. The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring St. (on the corner of Spring and Edwards Streets) in Springfield and is open from 8:30 - 5:00 Monday through Saturday and from 12:00 - 5:00 on Sunday. Admission is free. Parking is available nearby and the building is ADA accessible.
Image available at: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BwmWGMu2OCzyaE1KbEJiZGJmb2c