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EXHIBIT ORIGINS

In order to meet their first goal of documenting the historical, geographical and social connections between quilts and their contexts in Alaska, the quilt committee brainstormed ways to find quilts, date them, photograph them, and collect as much information as they could about each item. The final product was to be a massive survey of all the quilts in the state. The Alaska Quilt Survey took seven years to complete.

Discovery Days was the name for the community meetings where people brought their quilts to be dated and added to the Alaska survey. The first one was held in a Juneau shopping mall in 1992. So many quilts (76) were brought in to be dated that the committee had to hold another Discovery Day in order to examine and discuss each quilt.

The next Discovery Day site was Sitka in 1994.  Fifteen other communities then hosted Discovery Days. From 1994 to 1998, members of the quilt committee traveled to Alaska's towns and cities where residents were interested in bringing out their family treasures. They traveled on ferries, in small planes, and jets as well as by car through the kinds of weather that only Alaska can claim. The communities included: Sitka, Haines, Skagway, Petersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Valdez, Cordova, Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, Seward, Kodiak, Palmer, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. Committee members were also invited to Nome but couldn’t get there; instead they coached a local woman through the process of dating and registering quilts.

In the end, the committee processed 1,530 quilts.


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