Shelburne Museum was the first museum to exhibit quilts as works of art. The Museum’s historic textile collections have grown to include woven coverlets, needlework, hooked rugs, and printed fabrics from the eighteenth century to the present.
The Museum’s American quilts comprise one of the largest and finest museum collection in the country. They are known internationally for their exceptional variety and quality. The collection features masterpieces from New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, and the South and include album, Amish, appliqué, chintz, crazy, pieced, whitework, and whole cloth quilts.
Museum visitors can enjoy rotating exhibitions of quilts, hooked rugs, woven coverlets, and samplers in the Hat and Fragrance Gallery. Most of the pieces in these collections were produced in nineteenth-century New England; however, important twentieth-century examples include a remarkable group of fifty statehood rugs by Molly Nye Tobey (1893-1984) and a collection of contemporary hooked rugs by Patty Yoder (1943-2005).