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Sewn in America: Making - Meaning - Memory



New exhibition at the DAR Museum

Now - Dec 31, 2024. From: 09:00 AM to 04:00 PM

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Museum is proud to present its new exhibition, Sewn in America: Making – Meaning – Memory, which explores the history of sewing in America from the 1700s to the present. The exhibit will be on view from now to December 31, 2024.


Sewn in America will feature a variety of textiles made by American women, including pictorial embroideries, quilts, and garments. These textiles reflect the lives, identities, and opinions of the women who made them. The exhibit will also include pieces by contemporary craftivists, showing how sewing continues to be a vital form of creative expression. This groundbreaking exhibit combines sewn items from all textile sections of the DAR Museum’s collections: clothing, household textiles, quilts, and needlework. It examines the role sewing played both practically in American women’s lives, and in shaping gender roles, whether domestically or in professions from dressmaking and tailoring to factory work. Garments, quilts, and embroideries from the 18th century to today are juxtaposed to show how women of diverse backgrounds have used their needles to express emotions and identity and as a force for benevolence and justice.


“Sewn in America tells the story of American women through the needle and thread,” said Alden O’Brien, DAR Museum Curator of Costumes and Textiles and exhibition creator. “This exhibition will explore the many ways that sewing has been used to create functional items, express personal identity, and make art.”


The exhibit is divided into sections:



  • Mastering the Skills: This section will explore how sewing skills were passed down from generation to generation. In the 18th and 19th centuries, sewing was an essential part of women’s education. Girls learned to sew by making things like doll clothes and samplers.

  • Making: This section will explore the history of sewing techniques and technologies. The exhibit will show how sewing has changed over time, from the days when women sewed nearly all of their families’ clothing by hand to the present day, when sewing machines and commercially produced patterns are widely available.

  • Meanings: This section will explore the symbolism and meaning behind sewing. For example, a quilt made by a Hawaiian woman might feature traditional Hawaiian motifs that reflect her cultural heritage.


Sewn in America is a must-see for anyone interested in American history, fashion, or textiles. The exhibit will be accompanied by a variety of educational programs, including lectures, demonstrations, and workshops.


 

CONTACT

1776 D St. NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States

(202) 879-3241
Free

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