Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia (2014) was my largest quilt exhibition to date, with I believe about 34 quilts on view at any given time–three quilts went off exhibit halfway through and were replaced by very similar quilts by the same quilters, and several more which couldn’t fit in the exhibition were included in the catalogue. The online exhibit is at https://eyeonelegance.dar.org/. The complete label text is online, and the photos are zoomable to almost life-size closeups of the fabric and quilting: it’s pretty amazing.
I’m not trying to bet commercial here (for what it’s worth, I don’t get anything from sales anyway), but some people might wonder if there’s a catalogue and the answer is yes, it’s in its second printing, in paperback this time, and I think the photos’ colors are even better in this one. It includes an essay on fabrics used in pre-1860 quilts by Debby Cooney, a really well-written summary. Virginia Vis wrote a terrific essay on Baltimore Album quilts, summing up research to date, explaining the design types, and proposing a new design category and some theories on the origins of the quilts; she also wrote catalogue entries for the album quilts in the exhibition. The rest I wrote, along with an introductory essay looking at some social history and design themes relating to the quilts in the exhibition.
You can order it at https://www.dar.org/dar-shopping/dar-online-store/product-detail/586
My most recent quilt exhibition, A Piece of Her Mind: Culture and Technology in American Quilts (2019) does not have a catalogue but all the quilts and related objects in the exhibit, and all the label copy, are online at http://apieceofhermind.dar.org/
In 2011 the Martha Pullen company published a book of about 50 of our quilts, Historic Quilts of the DAR Museum.
A full-size photo of each quilt is followed by a page-long (or longer) essay on the quilt and its history. Most of the quilts in the DAR’s collection have known provenance, so we know either the quilt maker, or what family or region the quilt originated in.
Earlier exhibitions I curated which included quilts were New Threads: Recent Acquisitions in Costume and Textiles and Quilts from a Young Country in 2008 (the latter was a loan exhibit which appeared at the Houston International Quilt Festival); And So To Bed, co-curated with Patrick Sheary (2007); and Home and Country: Quilts and Samplers in the DAR Museum co-curated with Olive Graffam (2004).
If you’re interested in the DAR Museum’s quilt collection, search the DAR’s online collection database at https://collections.dar.org/RediscoveryProficioPublicSearch/WordSearch.aspx?CR . The best approach is to do Advanced Search and choose object name Quilt. (Note however that single or double-layer, non-quilted items are called counterpanes.) You can narrow it down by putting in date ranges, or entering a state in Place Made. Album Quilts and Crazy Quilts will show up under a search for Quilt. Not all the quilts are uploaded yet–it’s an ongoing process.
The whole collection except for the most recent acquisitions (we try to update every year or two) are searchable online at http://quiltindex.org/2018/welcome.php — choose DAR Museum under Contributing Institution.