TMS to Begin the Sesquicentennial Quilt at the P. J. Ahern Home

Texarkana, Arkansas– This year is Texarkana’s 150th Anniversary and the Texarkana Museums System is offering a year of activities to celebrate. Join TMS on January 28, 2:00-4:00 p.m., at the P. J. Ahern Home and add your piece of history to the Sesquicentennial Quilt. Quilt Artist Joey Pack will be on hand to guide the creation of this community friendship quilt. Guests should bring a 6-inch x 12-inch piece of fabric and TMS will provide the rest. No sewing experience necessary! This is a free event, but registration is recommended. For more information or to sign up, please visit TexarkanaMuseums.org/Events or call 903-793-4831.

Texarkana is celebrating its 150th year and the Texarkana Museums System is honoring our two-city community by creating a friendship quilt using materials contributed by the public.  

“Friendship quilts were, as the name suggests, a gesture of friendship,” explains TMS Curator, Jamie Simmons, “Each piece would be embroidered with a name before being added to the quilt. The quilts were always group projects intended for a specific person. In our case, the completed quilt will be presented to Texarkana.” 

Completed quilts were generally given to celebrate a life event, such as a marriage, or as a gesture of friendship to someone who was moving away. Referred to as “album quilts” or “signature quilts,” this genre of quilting originated in the 1830s and remained popular throughout the rest of the 19th Century. The signatures often included snippets of poems or other sentiments along with the date and the contributor’s name. The specific pattern varies, but “Dresden Plate,” the pattern chosen for Texarkana’sSesquicentennial Quilt, was the most popular. TMS will have several examples of friendship quilts on display during the year. 

The Texarkana Sesquicentennial Quilt project will begin on January 28, 2 p.m., at the P. J. Ahern Home, 403 Laurel Street in historic downtown Texarkana. This quilt will be made up of fabric scraps contributed by Texarkana residents. Each participant in the event should bring a 6-inch by 12-inch piece of fabric. 

“We are encouraging guests to bring a scrap of fabric that has meaning to them,” says TMS Board President, Velvet Cool, “TMS Staff will be on hand to record those stories while the piece of fabric is added to the quilt.”  

The public can also participate in the creation of the quilt by sewing pieces together or assisting in finishing the quilt. Guests can also assist in embroidering names on the quilt on behalf of someone else. Work on the Sesquicentennial Quilt will continue throughout the year and the completed piece will be presented during the Sesquicentennial celebration in December.