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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Quilts and Quiltmaking in America

[Detail] 1994 Judges' Choice Winner; Susan's Fan.

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America 1978-1996 provides the opportunity for students to learn historical thinking skills through unique activities adaptable to multiple age groups. The many changes documented in this collection foster chronological thinking, while the depth of its materials on quilting support a fun activity in which students can gain and demonstrate an understanding of this topic by planning a museum or exhibit. Other activities foster research, analysis, and interpretation skills.

Chronological Thinking

Because of its two components, this collection is an excellent resource for understanding change through time. Younger students can be guided through the collection to understand how quilting changed from the time of the Blue Ridge quilters to that of the Lands' End quilters. They can test their understanding by matching images of quilts with the two groups of quilters and their respective time periods.

Older students can discuss some of the larger changes, such as changes in the economy, in culture, in the arts, and in perceptions of women that might have affected changes in quilting. They can also use the following questions to form a more sophisticated understanding of change through analysis.

  • What are the best indications of whether a quilt was made by the Blue Ridge quilters or the Lands' End quilters?
  • What does this tell you about the kinds of changes that took place in quilting and their causes?
  • Many of the quilts are hard to match with a time period. Why is this? What does this contribute to your understanding of change and of quilting?
  • Do you think that there will be many changes in quilting in the future? Why or why not? If so, what might those changes be?
  • What has not changed in quilting? Why do you think that is?