This holiday weekend only, July 1-5, Oregon Historical Society will be exhibiting for the Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt. Each square of the Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt, crafted from 1974 to 1976 by 15 Black women from Portland in honor of the American Bicentennial, highlights a Black individual or moment in history. It was last on view at OHS in October 2020, when vandals shattered windows in OHS’s pavilion and stole the quilt from its display.
When police found and returned the quilt the next morning, OHS collections staff immediately laid out the drenched quilt to stabilize this fragile textile. While the quilt fortunately had not suffered major structural damage, there was significant, red-colored staining. Once the quilt was dry and stabilized, collections staff sent it to Textile Conservation Workshop to begin restoration work on the quilt, a process which was recently documented on Dear Oregon. This weekend will be the first time it is on view to the public since returning from conservation.
Also read The Skanner's story: Quilt Tells Story of Forgotten Black Americans