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“Embellishment and Excess: Victorian Era Crazy Quilts,” is on display in the Youngstown Foundation Community History Gallery at Tyler History Center from February 1 through May 3, 2020.

These colorful, patchwork pieces of art represent the skill and style of the quilters who made them. Known as “parlor quilts,” these coverings were meant to be displayed, rather than for providing warmth in bed. The random piecing supposedly imitates the designs of Japanese ceramics, which were popular during the Victorian period.

The exhibit is co-curated by Dr. Virginia Draa, Ed. D. and Jessica Trickett, MVHS Collections Manager. Dr. Virginia Bendel Draa is Professor Emeritus at Youngstown State University where, among other courses, she taught History of Fashion, History of Interiors and Textile Science. She has consulted with museums throughout the U.S. on items in their textile collections and volunteers with the textile collections at Arms Family Museum. Dr. Draa is also a textile artist, mother of two, and grandmother of three.

One way the exhibit encourages visitors to appreciate the details of these works of art is by providing a scavenger hunt list of various design motifs within the quilts.