This lesson uses the 2014 exhibit, Quilts in Color, in order to explore the historical context of the objects presented.
Description: Historically, textiles have been highly valued as both pracitical and artistic, adorned to capture the motifs and symbols associated with a particular culture. Textiles had an array of uses - they could be used as symbols of luxury and in some cultures as a form of currency. Each culture has its own textile history, which surrounds the materials, processing methods, and uses. Today, textiles, particularly in the form of quilts, can be seen hanging in museums, representing a range of time periods and cultures. Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection, which features quilts from around the United States made in the late 1800s and early 1900s, speaks to the historical impact and influences of quilt making, in addition to the progression of quilt making as an art form. This gallery looks at the history of quilts and their function by examining quilt making in a variety of contexts, including practical uses, impact during the Industrial Revolution, cultural influences, and gender.
Learning Goals: In exploring this lesson, students will...
- Study this exhibit in order to understand how textiles can function as visual art, shedding light on how goods and materials changed during the Industrial Revolution.
- Examine the interplay of culture, function, and art in the objects presented.
Using this Resource: This resource is appropriate for grades 6-8 and 9-12 in art historical contexts, such as studio art or art history classes. It can be used in history or social studies courses focusing on industry or the Industrial Revolution, sociology, or with an anthropological twist. It is equally useful for adult learning and general art education courses. Supplementary materias can be downloaded as PDFs under Related Resources at the bottom of this page.
The Arts: Looks at textiles and patterns, materials and the process of textile making, consumerism as represented through art, quilts as an artform, and the influence of industry and quilt arts on contemporary art.
History: Focuses on the history of quilt making during the Industrial Revolution, how this medium evolved during this time, and how quilts both impacted and were impacted by this historical event.
Social Studies: Examines quilt making in the context of gender and the cultural differences in textiles (including production and usage).
Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from April 6, 2014 through July 27, 2014. The collection includes 60 quilts from the personal collection of artists Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy, with pieces ranging from the 19th to early 20th century. This resource, among other, can be used to supplement a tour of the collection or independently to demonstrate various historical and artistic themes. The objects in this lesson are just a beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum's online collection through this web source - or even better, to visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries - to look for other objects taht will provide further insights into this exhibition.