Civil War Quilters of Illinois exhibit worth a visit to Lockport, IL

This past week we had gorgeous weather in Chicago. I know, it surprised me too! To take advantage of it I met my buddy Shannan, a fellow ChicagoNow blogger of the always useful Tween Us for lunch. Shannan let me pick, trusting friend that she is.

20140716_145223I picked Lockport, Illinois for our lunch. It’s an old town along the I & M canal and the downtown looks like a movie set. That’s because it’s been used in many movies!

We had lunch on the patio of the Public Landing. Their patio is lovely and it was the start of a really wonderful day.20140716_133539

After lunch I suggested we take a walk to the branch of the Illinois State Museum in Lockport. I told Shannan that it was a small wonderfully curated museum and free!

What I didn’t tell her was that I had heard, but didn’t know for sure was that the exhibit was on quilts. But in my defense, I didn’t know for sure.

20140716_133320Once we walked in, the sign confirmed that not only was it about quilting but Civil War Quilters of Illinois.

Shannan was game and even excited, she is one smart cookie so the mixture of history, women and quilting piqued her interest.

If those three topics interest you, I think you would love this exhibit and it’s your last chance to see it. It’s been to the other locations, after this the quilts will be stored in Springfield. The exhibit will be in Lockport until October 17, 2014.

As we moved through the quilts we saw artifacts, read the signs and had the history of this time period come alive through the perspective of the women, especially the quilters, who lived during this time.

20140716_134014Shannan is not a quilter but she asked me to take a picture of this quilt. She couldn’t believe that a Civil War Veteran cut out all 14,320 pieces of this quilt. Yes, that is the correct number. 20140716_134052

Not every newly married couple would undertake this as a honeymoon activity.

It is named the Seven Stars Quilt and was made by Mary Elle and Georges James.

As you walked through the intimate exhibit, there were so many beautiful quilts, all with a fascinating story.

I gave a dollar donation to the museum and received the guide. What a wonderful stories and background information there was. I suggest you not only go, but get a guide yourself..

20140716_133907My favorite quilt was this beauty.

I adore blue and white quilts and then an Irish chain besides?

The quilter, Henrietta (Kiler) Rhoades made this quilt to provide solace as she waited for her husband to return from the war. Talk about Quilting as Therapy!

This whole exhibit full of wonderful examples of heartfelt quilts and history.

We even tweeted the next day about what a great time we had had.20140716_134138

Was my day over once we had toured the museum? Well, no because there is also a terrific quilt store in Lockport. I’ve written about it before, Thimbles, and I knew they would be disappointed if I didn’t stop in. Don’t ask how they would know, they just would.

And amazingly enough, I found some fabric to buy.

Lunch, quilts and fabric?

Sew Happy!

Want to see other things that make me happy? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page and join the conversation! If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. That’s all, you’re done. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

I love museums, whether they are small like this one or a special show at a huge museum at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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