The Lightner Museum will exhibit “Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts” from October 7 to January 20.

An American hobby, quilting was a hobby promoted by museum founder Otto Lightner in his magazine Hobbies. Writing in the 1940s about his plans for his St. Augustine Museum, Lightner envisioned the building “decorated with museum materials such as historic quilts, fine needlework, and rich fabrics.”

Like many everyday objects, quilts have the ability to communicate stories about the context in which they were made and used. They represent maps of quilters’ lives – living records of cultural traditions, rites of passage, relationships, political and spiritual beliefs, milestones and future aspirations. As a map is a pocket abstraction of the world beyond what can be seen, a quiltmaker’s choice of fabric and design reveals insight into the topography of their world and the place it occupies. .

“Hand-Stitched Worlds: Mapping the Quilts” invites viewers to read the quilts like maps, tracing the paths of individual stories and experiences that illuminate larger historical events and cultural trends.

Covering the 19th, 20th and first decades of the 21st century, the exhibition brings together 18 quilts from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York, representing a range of materials, patterns and techniques – from traditional American quilts to a more contemporary sculptural assembly.


Handstitched Worlds quilts reveal how this often overlooked medium balances creativity with tradition, individuality with zeitgeist.

The exhibit will kick off with a free community open house at the Lightner Museum from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on October 7.

“Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts” is presented to the Lightner by the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. Additional support comes from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, Florida Council of Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The exhibition was organized by the American Folk Art Museum, New York, and is touring by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC

Founded in 1948 by Chicago publisher, collector, and professional hobbyist Otto C. Lightner, the museum offers an immersive experience of art, architecture, history, and design. At the heart of the museum’s offerings are its fascinating collections, including Tiffany lamps, geological samples from around the world, porcelain produced in Sèvres, and Victorian mechanical musical instruments.

The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 75 King St., St. Augustine. For more information, visit lightermuseum.org or call 904-824-2874.

For more information about the American Folk Art Museum, visit folkartmuseum.org. For more information on international arts and artists, visit artsandartists.org.

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