Quilts galore at historical society

Published 8:12 pm Thursday, January 25, 2018

A time machine lives right down the road in downtown Suffolk, and behind the door is handmade art from decades ago.

The Nansemond-Suffolk Historical Society is hosting its newest exhibit, “Quilts Galore & More” from now until the end of April.

There are 31 quilts on display. Some of those are owned by the historical society, and some are on loan from people with ties to Suffolk.


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“The quilts we have on loan come from all over, and we decided we wanted to see the handiwork rather than the location, but the people that loaned them are from Suffolk, so they have their ties,” said Kimberly Blair-Greene, executive director.

Some of the quilts the historical society has in its possession have come from people leaving boxes on the doorstep years ago, and others were found in the attic of the Phillips-Dawson house, where the historical society is located.

“Most of the pieces belong to the society gathered through the years, and some are well over 100 years old. A lot we don’t have information on,” Blair-Greene said. “A lot of people just bring boxes and leave them on the doorstep. The rest is filled in by local people with their grandmother’s or great-grandmother’s quilts.”

One of the quilts shown in the exhibit belonged to Dr. Gerard Dawson, one of the home’s namesakes.

Among the quilts were a handful of crocheted blankets, which were all done by Suffolk residents, according to the historical society.

Entry to the exhibit is free for the public, and it is open during regular business hours. The exhibit was not marked with a reception this year, like events in the past.

“We’ve done a reception before, and we just don’t have that great of a turnout,” Blair-Greene said. “It’s sad, but it is what it is.”

The exhibit will receive most of its attention during other events the historical society holds at the home, because most guests don’t know it exists until they see it, according to Blair-Greene.

The Phillips-Dawson House is located at 137 Bank St., and the house is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The house is also open on Friday’s from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.