VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Feb. 23, 2023) – A rare 18th century quilt, located in the historic Thoroughgood House, has been selected by the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) as one of “Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts of 2022.”
According to VAM’s website, “Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts” program aims to shed light on the importance of Virginia museums, and the expense and expertise necessary to care for the unique historic and cultural items in their care.
This deep indigo-glazed calamanco quilt, which features a “Tree of Life” pattern and elaborate trapunto work, is extremely rare, as no other similarly patterned quilt has been found.
“Historic artifacts, like this quilt, tell their own stories,” said Annmarie Reiley-Kay, Director of the History Museums division of the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department. “The ‘Tree of Life’ pattern represents the family, roots, growth, security and fruits of nature; all concepts that a family struggling to survive in the emerging new country of the United States of America in the late 18th century would possess.”
Reiley-Kay also indicated that the quilt serves as an education opportunity to discuss the history of fiber arts, encourage students to draw comparisons of changes throughout history, and learn about historic preservation and the proper handling and care of historic artifacts.
Following a competetive review of nominations by representatives from VAM’s partner organizations such as the Library of Virginia, Preservation Virginia, Virginia Conservation Association, and Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the 2022 most endangered artifacts have been selected and voting is now open.
The quilt is dry, brittle, and acidic throughout, with fading on both sides, as well as small to medium holes and tears scattered throughout the entirety of the quilt. The edges are worn and unraveling, and there is tearing and loss around the corners. Should the quilt be selected for the award, funding will support its preservation.