Interwoven: Women’s Lives Written in Thread
September 29, 2023 – February 25, 2024
Our current special exhibition, Interwoven: Women’s Lives Written in Thread, highlights needlework produced by young women in New England and specifically the extraordinary collection of samplers at the Concord Museum. Featuring 30 samplers sewn in the early 1700s to mid-1800s, Interwoven explores how young women created records of their own lives and experiences, written in thread.
The exhibition explores the history of needlework and embroidery, its importance as an art form, and its significance to women in the 18th and 19th centuries. Intended to showcase young women’s accomplishments, the samplers also communicate details of their lives and education, their communities, and their families. The exhibition provides a unique view into their private lives. For most of these young women, their samplers are the only objects that survive from their lives. Many of the samplers have never been displayed before.
Learn about the education of privileged young women in the early republic and understand how wealth and enslaved labor enabled them to pursue decorative arts. Explore the materials used in constructing samplers, such as linens, dyes and silk, and how and where these materials were produced. View samplers that demonstrate how women recorded family history and the loss of loved ones through needlework. Understand how they incorporated the importance of community and a strong sense of place in their samplers.
The gallery includes areas for hands-on and interactive activities. Exhibition programs connect the history of samplers to contemporary work through visiting artists, demonstrations, workshops, and more.
Image credit: Detail of Sampler by Phebe Bliss, 1749. Concord Museum Collection, Gift of Mrs. Richard D. Boyer; T18.
Thank you to the following Corporate Sponsors for their exhibition support: