Exhibit uses textiles to explore Civil War stories

· 2 min read

Exhibit uses textiles to explore Civil War stories

An exhibit featuring Civil War-era quilts and textile artifacts is on display at UNL’s Great Plains Art Museum.

“Homefront and Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War,” organized by the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, uses textiles to tell deeply personal and powerful stories from the most divisive period in American history. The exhibit, brought to UNL by the Nebraska State Historical Society, includes the noose reportedly used to hang abolitionist John Brown, Confederate and Union uniforms, and a quilt made by a wounded solider from hospital blankets.

Guest curators Madelyn Shaw and Lynne Zacek Bassett use quilts, clothing, personal and household articles, flags, needlework and military equipment to “explore why political tensions over import tariffs, the expansion of slave labor, and the control of shipping and commerce finally erupted into secession and war.”

The exhibit also showcases how the production and consumption of textiles reflected daily realities of wartime scarcities and hardships, both for soldiers on the front and workers behind the lines. Other topics include how textiles were used to memorialize people and events in the war.

“Homefront and Battlefield” is open at the Great Plains Art Museum through June 27. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public.

A First Friday reception is 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at the museum. Other public events include a lecture by UNL’s Ken Winkle, professor of history, on April 15, the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

For more information on the museum, exhibit or related events, click here.

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