Thanks to Joanna Semel Rose and her very generous husband Daniel, The American Folk Art Museum was able to exhibit 650 red and white quilts from her collection at The Park Avenue Armory Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Admission is free so I’d encourage you to visit. The amazing exhibit so incredibly created by Thinc Design is on view until March 30, 2011. When Mrs. Rose was asked by her husband what she wanted for her 80th birthday she said “Something I haven’t seen before and something that would be a gift for New York City. Seeing all these quilts together at the same time would be the ideal gift.”
Another thing I learned from The Folk Museum’s brochure was that one of the reasons why red and white quilting has been a classic since the early 19th century was due to the color fastness of Turkey Red dye. In a time when most colored fabrics tended to fade or run when exposed to the light Turkey red cotton held up much better.
By the end of the 19th century red and white became the preferred color combination for quilts made for fundraising. Donors would pay 10 cents to have their names included on a quilt that might be sold or raffled.
A digital guide to the exhibition including images of all 650 quilts is available as a free app for your i products, or Android phone is available at folkartmuseum.org/infinitevariety