About This Exhibition

What was life like in Kansas in the early years of the state? The Naftzger Gallery presents Charles Russell paintings, drawings, and sculptures—artworks that capture the wilds encountered by cowboys who ventured West. What about the women who bravely pioneered the West? A key part of their story is now on view across the hall in the DeVore Gallery with a presentation of quilts from the permanent collection.

Quilts produced in America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were more than simple bedcoverings. The social and political environment of the times frequently influenced decisions regarding the selection of materials, colors, and patterns used in the construction of a quilt. Fabric compositions that look dazzling to the eye today often commemorated important historical events.

From February 16 to June 2, 2013, the first display of the two-part exhibition presents piecework quilts made during and just after the Civil War and explores how their patterns were used to commemorate significant battles and communicate messages for the Underground Railroad. From June 8 to September 22, 2013, the second display will present appliqué quilts and examine how quilt patterns developed and evolved to reflect differing geographical and religious concerns.

Image of a geometric red and white pattern

Unknown, Quilt in the “Drunkard’s Path” pattern, 1928. Pieced and quilted cotton. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Ray W. Rouser