With the arrival of spring in Massachusetts came a flurry of activity surrounding the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Several regional museum exhibits will feature textiles conserved by Museum Textile Services. You can read about three projects here, but nothing takes the place of visiting a museum and seeing the actual artifacts for yourself!
One Foot Square, Quilted & Bound at the New England Quit Museum includes rare and never-before-displayed Civil War artifacts and fabrics. One of the highlights is a rare glazed-cotton "potholder" quilt from Portland, Maine, on loan from the Brick Store Museum. Prior to exhibition, this quilt required stabilization to the splitting silks and reinforcement of the stitches that hold together the twenty individual blocks. This quilt is on display through July 10 at the Lowell museum, 18 Shattuck Street. Read more in the Eagle Tribune.
When Duty Whispers: Concord and the Civil War features an extremely important flag on loan to the Concord Museum from the near-by Middlesex School. The First National colors of the Massachusetts 55 Volunteer Regiment was issues in July 1863 but was not used on campaign. It was given to Middlesex School by Col. N. P. Hallowell, who a trustee there from 1902 until his death in 1914. The flag was restored by Hallowell's daughter in 1972 and was on permanent exhibit at the Warburgh Library for almost 40 years. A successful fund-raising campaign allowed Museum Textile Services to conserve and remount the flag, which will now live in a custom display case built by Spokeshave Design. The Flag can be viewed at the Concord Museum through September 18, 2011, before it is returned to Middlesex School. Read more in the April 3, 2011, Boston Globe.
Commemorating Our Role in the Civil War 150 Years Later is the title of this summer's exhibit from the Framingham History Center. Among the historic artifacts on display will be the "Citizen's Flag," a Civil war-era garrison-sized American flag made of wool bunting with cotton stars. The flag was donated to the town of Framingham in 1892 according to vintage printed labels on either side of the hoist binding. Before entering the museum's collection, the flag was exposed to extreme soot which left it discolored and brittle. Museum Textile Services was able to remove the sooty deposits with gentle wetcleaning and then stabilize the flag and install a Velcro hanging system. The visual impact of this large flag hanging overhead is not to be missed! It is on view from June 11, 2011, at the Edgell Memorial Library, 3 Oak Street, from 10:00am4:00 pm. A full calendar of Civil War events in Framingham is available here.
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