Saturday, July 17, 2010

New England Quilt Museum

After seeing the Mark Twain house and spending the night in Hartford, our plan was to drive north, skirt the northern suburbs of Boston, and pick up our son who was taking the train out from Boston to spare us the drive into Boston proper.  Since we had gotten a very early start we had a couple of hours to spare, but we figured we could find something to do. Mid morning we pulled off the interstate at Lowell, Massachusetts for a pit stop at the McDonald's.

This is the first trip we've taken with my husband's GPS device.  Despite a few quirks, as when it kept insisting we get off a highway that was clearly marked for our destination, go around the block and reenter the highway at the EXACT same point, potentially sending us into a never-ending loop through rush hour traffic, it had proved an invaluable tool for getting around unfamiliar towns and cities.  Once you get used to a disembodied voice suddenly telling you to turn right (or left) in "point two miles," that is.  One of its best features is that it can find restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and, as it turned out, tourist attractions that are close to wherever you happen to be.

As I came out of the McDonalds with my coffee my husband suddenly announced that there was a quilt museum nearby.  Would I like to go?

He is a sweetie, isn't he?

So that's how we ended up at the New England Museum of Quilts.  The museum is located in the downtown area of Lowell in an old red brick bank building.  The special exhibition that was just ending as we were there was called, "Women's Writes: Signature Quilts and Their Stories."  It featured quilts, tops, and blocks that had been signed or embroidered with names, either as friendship quilts or as fund raisers for various causes such as temperance or abolition.  Some of the quilts were from the museum's permanent collection and others were on loan. 

The museum area is fairly small, but there were about three dozen quilts displayed.  Some were hanging on walls, some were draped over beds, and (my favorite) some were folded up in a dresser so you could open the drawers and see them close up.  In addition to the display area there is a classroom and a library (!).  I kind of briefly considered whether moving to Lowell might be possible, but then, sadly, decided not.

My husband gamely paid his admission, took a walk around the display area with me, but when I started another turn around the galleries, he opted to explore more of downtown Lowell on his own.  Kind of a good thing, actually, as I could spend some time browsing the gift shop on the first floor relatively guilt-free.

Lowell has a quilt festival in early August which benefits the museum.  It looks like it would be a lot of fun.


Quilts and Cats said...

I live in Tn now, but I grew up in Massachusetts. I never knew about the museum, probably because I spent my adult years in Chicopee on the other side of the state! Sounds like you had a great time.

Joan said...

So glad you enjoyed the museum - I work there, and I think I met you when you were visiting! We've changed exhibits, so now you HAVE to come back and see us again!

Deb Geyer said...

Wow, how cool! I'm going to have to make note of that on my bucket list!