Visitors to “The Inner Child” quilt exhibit and presentation will find elements of history stitched into each piece.

Quiltmaker and historian, Dr. Nancy J. Dawson, incorporates primary sources into her quilts to share the stories of African Americans throughout history. In some of her quilts she uses photo transfer techniques to include authentic pre-Civil War newspaper ads promoting the sale of slaves. Some of her work also incorporates photographs that present the viewer with an authentic portrayal of African American history and life.

Dawson’s quilt What Would Mammy Say? will be unveiled at the show. The piece tells the story of African American women who served as domestic workers in the 1940s and 50s. Dawson stitches authentic relics into the quilt, such as bits of an apron worn by a domestic worker during this period of African American history.  

“Quilting is a means of healing. People can look at my quilts in this collection and it will help them to have a greater understanding of the African American people,” Dawson says.

Quilts will be displayed Thursday, April 25 through Saturday, April 27, 10 AM-4 PM at the Hotel Metropolitan, 724 Oscar Cross Drive. Dawson will present a lecture at 6 PM on Thursday, April 25.

Dr. Alicestyne Turley, Director of the Carter G. Woodson Center and Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies at Berea College, will explore Quilts of the Underground Railroad in a lecture through quilts that depict slavery and African American life before the Civil War. The lecture will be at 10 AM & 2 PM on Friday, April 26 and 11 AM on Saturday, April 27.

A “Save America’s Treasures” project, the Hotel Metropolitan is a 1908 historic hotel that has been restored as an African-American heritage museum. For more information, visit