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Quilt Crawl draws visitors to museum

Quilt Crawl draws visitors to museum

By Nichole Johnson ’13

This past January and February, museums across Central Texas opened their doors for the Great Bell County Quilt Crawl. The event was a countywide exhibit of historical quilts held at seven different locations, including the UMHB Musick Alumni Center and Museum at the Parker House.

The UMHB museum featured more than 40 quilts, bedspreads, rugs, handkerchiefs, pillows, and crocheted collars. Each display told a story connected to the university. Two quilts were emphasized as the museum’s centerpieces. One is a keepsake collage of shirts entitled “UMHB T-shirt Quilt” while the other is a family heirloom entitled “9-Patch Touching Stars.” Both are a representation of UMHB’s past and present and are owned by grandmother/granddaughter duo, Nelda East Sanders ’54 and Kristal Varnell ’07.

The first was made in 2011 by Varnell. It is a patchwork of T-shirts she acquired during her years in college. The second quilt, “9-Patch Touching Stars,” was made in 1845 by Mary Sloan. It was a wedding gift for her son, then handed through the generations while being preserved with love and care. More than 150 years later, it was given to Varnell’s grandmother Nelda Sanders. Sanders explained the quilt is connected to UMHB because the university was officially chartered the same year the quilt was made.

Museum Curator Betty Sue Beebe said the exhibit has drawn people from across the state to UMHB. “We’ve had groups drive in from Marble Falls, and two ladies from Evant came for the third time last Saturday. These are all people who would not normally visit the museum, but they are interested in this exhibit. The level of interest has really surprised me. It has been a great tool for sharing the history of UMHB with the public,” Beebe said.