Even if you’re not a quilter or quilt collector, you’ll easily get wrapped up in Paducah, Kentucky. Located on the Kentucky-Illinois border where the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers converge, it’s nicknamed Quilt City. That’s because it’s home to the National Quilt Museum, the largest quilt and fiber museum in the world.
Paducah has also been selected the world’s seventh City of Crafts and Folk Art by UNESCO. Every spring the town’s 25,000 residents welcome 30,000+ visitors from around the world to Quilt Week. This year the 30th annual Quilt Week will take place April 23-26. Free trolleys are available that week so it’s easy to get around.
The National Quilt Museum, as it is now known, was founded in 1991 by Bill and Meredith Schroeder. They owned Schroeder Publishing Company which publishes dozens of collector price guides. This 30,000-square-foot building with moveable walls is specifically designed for showing quilts. Rotating exhibits display about 150 modern quilts fully open with a special hanging system to evenly distribute the weight of each quilt. During Quilt Week visitors will see the quilted works of prestigious American Quilter’s Society contest winners and check the latest in craft supplies, sewing machines and more from 400+ vendors.
Some antique quilting displays and events occur throughout the community during Quilt Week. This year the 26th annual Rotary Club of Paducah/McCracken County Antique Quilt Show takes place at the Robert Cherry Civic Center. The 2014 display is titled Quilts From 200 Years of American History. There is also a merchant mall area where even more crafting items are available.
An exhibit of African American Underground Railroad Quilts will be displayed at Hotel Metropolitan during Quilt Week. In addition, two lectures are scheduled at the hotel. Artist, historian and author Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi will present A Legacy Revealed: African American Quilts. She will examine the historical and cultural significance of quilts made in the African American community. Another guest speaker is Dr. Alicestyne Turley, Director of African American Studies at Berea College. She will explore the Underground Railroad with discussion of quilts depicting slavery and life before the Civil War.
Leave time to explore other attractions. In the historic downtown many renovated century old buildings are now owner operated craft stores, art galleries and antique shops interspersed with some excellent restaurants. This historic downtown is home to Sherry and Friends Antique Mall, The Victorian Parlor, Jeremiah’s Antique Mall & Annex Shop, Fleur de Lis Antiques & Collectibles, Courtyard Antiques, Courtyard East Antiques & Books, Anthony Barnes Antiques, Antique Galleria and Comfort Zone.
Head to the Lower Town neighborhood, the center of Paducah’s vibrant arts district. This 26 block area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to performing and visual arts venues, it’s home to American Harvest Antiques. They specialize in early American country antiques from the 18th and early 19th centuries.
And don’t leave town without seeing the amazing art on the river front. Paducah’s flood wall is lined with about 50 life size panoramic murals depicting the city’s history. All are by artist Robert Dafford and the Dafford muralists.
The National Quilt Museum is located at 215 Jefferson St., Paducah. KY 42001. Web: quiltmuseum.org; phone: 270-442-8856. Also, the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau can be reached at paducah.travel or 1-800-PADUCAH.
Antiques writer Susan Eberman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.