They say “Home is where the heart is,” and for Caitlin Morgan, her second home is the Virginia Quilt Museum.
Located in the Warren Sipe house in downtown Harrisonburg, the Virginia Quilt Museum honors its mission to “cultivate and preserve the quilting arts in Virginia” by offering a wide array of curated galleries throughout the museum’s three floors. Galleries include quilts from various time periods, themes, and quilters, so there is always something for everyone.
Caitlin, who volunteers as a docent and shopkeeper for the quilt museum, has found more than quilts at the museum:
“I started volunteering at the Virginia Quilt Museum because I love history and architecture. The Warren-Sipe house is a treasure in itself, having been built in 1856. Throughout the house’s years, it has served as families’ homes, a Civil War hospital, a boarding house, a youth center, and even a temporary courthouse. (The temporary jail cell is definitely a unique feature!) The way the museum has preserved the house gives an incredible snapshot of just how downtown Harrisonburg was founded and developed.”
She also talks about what impact volunteering has made on her:
“As I spent more time in the galleries, I tried to take up quilting so I could talk a little more about our quilts and how they might have been made. After making my first baby quilt, I was hooked. I gained an even greater appreciation for quilters and the quilts in the museum because they are truly pieces of art. It’s also amazing how well the Virginia Quilt Museum has preserved the quilts in its collection, too. My favorite quilt was made in 1823 by Abigail Lincoln Coffman, Abraham Lincoln’s first cousin, right here in Rockingham County. Little facts like that are what blow me away, that we have a piece of history right under our noses. Without the VQM’s incredible preservation and research, I’m sure that Abigail’s quilt, and many many others, would have withered away.”
Not only does the Virginia Quilt Museum display quilts, but it also hosts events for quilters of all levels and participates in downtown Harrisonburg’s First Fridays. Their passion for staying involved in the community has attracted visitors from all over the world, many of whom Caitlin has had the honor of meeting.
“It’s amazing just how far people will come from to see the museum’s collection. Some come to see the house, some come to see a specific gallery or quilt, and some come because they just want to learn more about quilting and revel in the mastery that these quilts hold. I’ve seen visitors that come in separately bond over a discussion of a quilt, and that’s what makes the museum special. You could be at any level or appreciation of quilting and still walk away with a full mind and heart. It’s truly a downtown treasure.”
The Virginia Quilt Museum is open 10 AM – 4 PM Tuesday-Saturday, and make sure you stop by on November 27th for Small Business Saturday! The VQM will be hosting a Mini Stash Blast, plus 10% off in the gift shop. While you’re downtown, make sure you check out the many other small businesses that Harrisonburg has to offer!