Illinois Reporter

Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University

Volunteers relive history stitch by stitch

Women have been contributing to home and work since the beginning of time, whether it’s tending to the children, doing house tasks or in the case of the 1800s, making quilts.

In Illinois, at least 1 percent of the construction costs funded by the state of Illinois must go toward public art. This is called the Art-in-Architecture Program, and it exists to fund local art.

The Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site used their one percent by adding decorative quilts to the walls of the theater. The theater on site is used to play a 14-minute film about the Lincolns, their neighbors the Sargent family, and life in the 1840s.

When the site was first built, there was a fundraiser where the volunteers stitched queen sized quilts and put them in a raffle. The volunteers would stitch the queen sized quilt, and a sample of the quilt which is a small replica of the queen sized.

“The colors and patterns are of the era we portray,” Volunteer Cheryl Hawker, said.

Most of the quilts that decorate the theater are of the 1840s era, however there are a couple modern pieces. In particular, there is a small quilt of half the American flag, and half the Confederate flag which was unanimously voted to be hung in the theater. Over the two halves reads “United We Stand”.

“The vote took place in December of 2001,” Hawker said. “Following the 9/11 attack, the unity was strong and the quilt got a unanimous vote.”

In addition to the American-Confederate flag on display, there are two modern pieces. They are of floral patterns, with petals that stick off the quilt.

To fundraise for the historical site to continue the expansions, such as the Sargent family exhibit in the works, the volunteers continue to create quilts to auction off every year.


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This entry was posted on June 29, 2017 by in Uncategorized.
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