Quilt Documentation Project

On Thursday, October 10th, the RHS was delighted to participate in the Mass Quilt Documentation Project. 

According to their website:  “Since its establishment in 1994, the Massachusetts Quilt Documentation Project has documented over 6,000 quilts originating or currently owned in this state.  Dozens of historical Societies and hundreds of private owners have been served.

“MassQuilts encourages the study and preservation of quilts and demonstrates that these textiles convey important insights about the lives of Massachusetts women from the colonial period to the present.”

Documented quilt owners receive:
–       A copy of the documentation report including an approximate date, description of the fabrics, construction and patterns.
–       A photograph of the quilt
–       A special label to attach to the quilt signifying its inclusion in the documentation project
–       Instructions on the care of Antique Quilts

The ladies of the Documentation Project were very enthusiastic about the quilts we brought them, especially the Album Quilt that has hung on the quilt rack in the old kitchen for many years.  The Society, in the form of Shirley Todd, provided lunch for the Quilt Ladies and everyone had a lovely time hearing how passionate they are about the quilts they document.  By the end of the day, they had inspected over a dozen quilts owned by the Society – they even hitched a ride back to the house to assess the quilts still actually on the beds!

The painstakingly thorough process was fascinating to watch and the depth of knowledge and passion for their subject that these women possessed was impressive.

At the end of the day, as promised, we had all the promised documentation for each of our quilts and a primer on the care and preservation of antique quilts:

Displaying your Quilt:

  1. Display your quilts out of direct sunlight and bright indoor lighting – also away from kids, pets and other critters.
  2. Wall or standing quilt racks work well for displaying large quilts – however, quilts should not be in direct contact with wood, use acid free tissue paper or clean cotton sheets as a buffer.
  3. Muslins sleeves can be hand sewn to the back of a quilt for wall hanging.

Cleaning your Quilt:

  1. Clean your quilt with a very gentle vacuuming through a flexible plastic screen – or nylon stocking.

Storing your Quilt:

  1. Store in an acid free box with acid free paper or folded into a clean cotton sheet
  2. Do not stack
  3. Do not store in plastic bags or other air tight containers.
  4. Store in dry area away from extreme temperatures – not the attic or the basement!
  5. Quilts should be unfolded and refolded in a different orientation every three to six months.

We extend our thanks to the members of the Massachusetts Quilt Documentation Project who came from all over the state to assess our quilt collection.  More information about this project may be found at their website:


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