2017 marks the centennial of America’s entry into World War I. Nearly 5,000,000 Americans fought in “The Great War” with over 117,000 losing their lives on the battlefield.
On the home front, thousands of women were sewing and volunteering for the Red Cross. Modern Priscilla magazine (devoted to needlework and everyday housekeeping) responded to President Wilson’s call for increased fund raising for the war effort. The magazine encouraged a Quilt Campaign using their Red Cross pattern in order to raise money for the purchase of ambulances, emergency equipment, and yarn.
During three days in July – Thursday the 27th – Saturday the 29th, of this centennial year, the lublic is invited to gather in and around Harrisonburg with Virginia Quilt Museum Symposium participants to consider “Friction, Fray, and Fabric: Textiles in the First World War.”
Attendees will gain multiple perspectives of the (first) Great War through the eyes of a soldier, a president, and a pacifist as the “friction and fray” come to light. Then “fabric” takes center stage with a look at ways a nation responds to its war-affected situation and obligations.
Thursday July 27th: Kim McCray (former VQM Director), Dynamic Aviation, Bridgewater, VA (“A Young Man with Valley Ties: The World War I Service of Dwight Eisenhower” and tour of America’s first Air Force One)
Friday July 26th: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, Staunton, VA (tour)
Crossroads Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, Harrisonburg, VA (tour and storytellers)
Phil Kniss (Pastor), Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, VA (“The Great Test: Mennonites During the Great War”)
Saturday July 27th: Speakers at Asbury United Methodist Church (next door to Museum)
- Madelyn Shaw, Curator of Textiles at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution – “Shortages and Substitutes: American Textiles and the Great War”
- Neva Hart, Quilt Historian – “A Red Cross Quilt from Sugar Grove”
- Jackie Pamenter, Greene County, VA Historical Society – “The Fabric of a County in Wartime”
- Sue Reich, Keynote Speaker – “World War I Quilts”
- Reception, book signing, open exhibits, and sing-along with Nancy Bassett, Pianist (at Museum)
(Visit the website for full details on schedule, speakers, and registration for one, two, or all three days. www.vaquiltmuseum.org/2017-symposium/)
The Virginia Quilt Museum was founded in 1995 and exists to celebrate quilting in Virginia. The Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit funded solely through private donations, memberships, and revenue from admissions and museum shop sales. The Virginia Quilt Museum receives no federal or state funding.