Current and Upcoming Events



Stitched in Time

Colonial Williamsburg

Opens December 3, 2022
This exhibition will be on view in the Len and Cyndy Alaimo Gallery

Needlework—which includes canvas work, lace, tambour, crewel work, silk embroidery, quilting, and counted stitch—played an important role in the homes and lives of many early Americans. Embellishing textiles with decorative stitches was one method in which the Founding Mothers contributed to their family’s household furnishings and enriched their homes and clothing with pattern, color, and beauty.

Sewing and mending everyday functional textiles such as bed and table linens, as well as clothing, was another means in which women contributed economically to their family.  Stitching needlework projects was also an educational tool for young schoolgirls, and a creative outlet for many housewives.

American needlework reflects great diversity and regional variations. Many factors influenced distinct regional characteristics including the ethnic origins of the makers, trade and migration patterns, influential teachers and artists, current fashions, religious affiliations, geography, and even climate.  “Stitched in Time” explores regional variations in American needlework of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the forces that molded them.



Memorial to Terry Family by Elizabeth Terry,
Marietta, Pennsylvania, 1836.
Museum Purchase, 1962.604.1



Map of the Eastern Half of the United States by Ann E. Colson,
Pleasant Valley School, Dutchess County, New York, 1809.
Museum Purchase, The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund, 2019-70


Sampler by Mary Welsh,
Massachusetts, ca. 1770.
Museum Purchase, 1962-309

Link to event here



New York Historical Society video lecture available on Youtube - entitled “Truth” Revealed – Rosena Disery’s African Free School Sampler"

Presented by Margi Hofer, Museum Director and Vice President of the NYHS, it's a deep dive into Rosena Disery, a student at New York City’s African Free School, and her highly significant 1820 sampler. Hofer includes a great amount of information about the school and also its students along with fascinating information about the lives of Rosena, her husband and family - highly successful caterers in NYC. The New York Historical Society also holds the African Free School’s records and papers.

This sampler, and much information, is in the archives of our website. Put "rosena" in the search box upper right on any page of our site (of course you can use this for any other search). We are proud to have owned, researched, conserved and framed the sampler before NYHS acquired it, ten years ago.

Stitching Property: Architecture and Land on Schoolgirl Needlework

Announcing a virtual lecture by Winterthur Research Fellow and Boston University PH.D candidate Mariah Gruner on Thursday May 13, 5:00 ET entitled “Stitching Property, Picturing Feminine Authority: Depictions of Architecture and Land in Nineteenth Century Schoolgirl Needlework.” In her presentation Mariah will explore possible meanings of depicting houses and terrain on schoolgirl samplers when, under the laws of coverture, most women could not own property. She interprets 19th century architectural samplers as sites for developing feminine visions of control (and even ownership) over the space of the house, not simply the home. She will also discuss ways to think about these property-oriented practices in spaces of settlement and enslavement and what meanings can be unfurled from free Black women's use of the form. In this latter context she will be discussing samplers by Ann Plato and Sarah Ann Major Harris, as well as a needlework picture marked only with "E.J." and "Natchez, Mississippi."

New Light: Notes on a Vermont Schoolgirl Embroidery

Article in The Magazine Antiques (July 3, 2020) by Dr. Gene R. Garthwaite


A Sampler from the Bennington Museum Blog Post

visit Bennington's website for more information on this sampler from 1835.

Sewing and Embroidery Lessons at the College of San Ignacio de Loyola, Vizcaínas

Check out a recorded Zoom presentation (in Spanish, password is: 0p%eR140) about school girl embroidery in Mexico City from the College of San Ignacio De Loyola, Vizcaínas, founded in 1767

Girlhood (It's Complicated)

National Museum of American History (NMAH) in Washington, DC.

The exhibition is one in many ways in which the various Smithsonian museums have chosen to honor the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. 

The exhibition will be at the NMAH for two years, after which it will be a traveling exhibition and be on display at five to seven other museums in the country 2023-2025.…

"A Stitch in Time" - Blog Post
by Stacey Fraser

Lexington Historical Society, Massachusetts 

"Threads of History: Swetland family samplers" - Blog Post
by Aimee Newell

Luzerne County Historical Society, Pennsylvania