Beth Donaldson, Coordinator of the Quilt Index,, made a presentation in Portland on Saturday, February 18. She explained the history of the Index, its connection to Michigan State University, in Lansing, and how to access the data in the Index. The on-line data base provides information on more than 80,000 individual quilts at no charge. The data can be searched and retrieved under numerous fields and is a valuable source of information for quilters, collectors, museums and historians.
We were unable to confirm plans for public documentation days in Roseburg, Medford and Klamath Falls. So this summer we will start planning for two, week-long trips to northeast and far Eastern Oregon and hopefully one to Southern Oregon and up the coast in 2018. We made preliminary contacts in communities such as La Grande and Baker City. If your local museum, tourism or quilt group can assist with our plans, please contact us at our email address.
In the meantime, we will be at the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem during “Quiltopia” in early October, where we will finish documenting the quilts in their collection. We will also be traveling to Eugene to assist with public quilt documentation in the vicinity. If you are interested in helping organize a documentation day in your community, please contact us at our email address. Watch our calendar for additional details.
Necktie quilt, Prineville
Quilt Index Training
Due to winter weather concerns the OQP did not schedule any public documentation days in January or February. Instead, we trained volunteers who wanted to learn how to add documented quilts into the Quilt Index. Five women, from Newport, Salem, Estacada and Gresham gathered in southeast Portland to work their way through the on-line QI training. OQP co-chair Renee Miller stood by to mentor, troubleshoot and answer questions.
The trainees returned to their communities with the knowledge and confidence to add quilts from their local documentation days directly onto the Index. We paid the one-time fee to become accepted as a state quilt documentation project but free access (through the Oregon Quilt Project) is available only until the end of the Project in April, 2019. We would like to encourage museums and groups who are documenting quilts in Oregon to learn to use the OQP “portal” to the Quilt Index in the next 18 months. As long as you begin before April, 2019, you can continue to have access to the Index beyond that date. For further information contact us at our email address.
With support from a Heritage Grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, donations from individuals and quilt guilds, we were able to pay two part-time, temporary employees to begin adding data on documented quilts onto the Quilt Index. A backlog of several hundred quilts was eliminated and we now have almost 1,000 Oregon quilts on the Index. Adding the photos is a separate step, but most of the historical and physical details we have collected is visible – check to see if YOUR quilt is on the Quilt Index!
Quilt Documentation Events
Project volunteers organized and held three documentation days in the spring. In mid-March twelve of us spent two long days in Lakeview (plus 2 driving days), documenting quilts in Lake County. Working into the evening we managed to record a record-breaking 47 quilts in one day; the next day we helped set up a public show of the quilts at the Gathering Place in downtown Lakeview, while recording more individual quilts and several from the Schminck Museum. We enjoyed our visit, helped celebrate Irish Days and were warmly welcomed by the community. Thanks to local dynamo Marie Lee; the board and members of the Lake County Historical Society and women of the Lakeview LDS church who provided lunch. A grant from the Lake County Cultural Coalition, funded by donations to the Oregon Cultural Trust, helped pay for some of our lodging and meal costs.
Lakeview documentation team, end of a long day
In early April, a public documentation day was held at the Lake Oswego Senior Center. In spite of a wind storm that disrupted power to 100,000 people in the metro area, the event continued as scheduled. The Center provides Meals on Wheels, so the staff activated the back-up generator and the documentation went forward with only a few cancellations.
Prineville volunteers conducting a DocDay
In early May we made a two-day trip to Prineville to document quilts held by the Bowman Museum. While examining and recording the quilts we provided training to several museum volunteers; if their enthusiasm for the work is indicative, we hope to see future documentation days scheduled in Crook County. It was an enjoyable visit, the event coordinated by museum director Gordon Gillespie and collections manager Sarah Baylinson.