Columbia River Basin Documentation Project

White Bluffs Quilt Museum collects quilts of the nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. The collection is particularly strong in early 1900 quilts and comforters reflecting the settling of the Columbia River Basin by farmers and farm related workers and then later the settlement of the Hanford Nuclear Plant workers. The collection ranges from typical log cabin, crazy quilts made of shirting, wools and feed sack materials as well as more ornate silks and tapestries. Early pieces are hand sewn, both pieced and quilted. Early 1900 pieces are transitional with machine piecing and hand quilting. It is only recently that women and men tend to have both piecing and quilting done by machine.

The White Bluffs Quilt Museum was founded in 2007, as interest in quilting and textile art exploded in the Tri-cities area of eastern Washington state. The Museum has a growing collection of quilts, comforters, hand woven linens, and rugs plus other textile pieces. Many members are also members of one of the local quilt guilds or fiber arts group, focusing on education in all fiber crafts. Our purpose is restoration of textiles, education in textile skills and community service. We are looking at increasing our collection and facilitating inclusion of other Washington quilt collections or individual quilts in the quilt index.

From the beginning, the members wanted to preserve the objects of the past, and to create a space for restoration of items on the verge of being lost. Quilts, counterpanes, coverlets, and other textile and household items found a home in the Museum which is growing as community members look for a “home” for items made by grandma or great grandma. Today, the Museum’s collection of nearly 80 quilts and comforters is held in trust by the Museum.

White Bluffs Quilt Museum displays quilts on a rotating basic usually theme or pattern related. The displays alternate between historical and current trends in quilting and design. The focus can be on technique or medium and even holiday event. Additionally, educational public programs are held at least once a year intended to draw and inform our larger community of the wonderful skills and samples of our heritage.

--Jean Zoet, 7/7/2016.

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