Welcome to the Reverend Andrew C. (Campbell) Strachan April 1900 Signature Crazy Quilt WIKI

Full view ACS Quilt.JPG

This wiki is a multi-dimensional and experimental collaborative project that began when Donna Sciola of Narragansett, Rhode Island contacted me, Dr. Blaire Gagnon, Assistant Professor in the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) at University of Rhode Island (URI), because she had a quilt she was considering donating to our Historic Textile and Costume Collection. Actually meeting up took several months because of snow storms, condo renovations, a wedding, and accessioning committee schedules. But in August of 2014, we finally met at URI to see the quilt and consider it for accessioning into our collection. During that meeting, the accessioning committee determined the quilt would be a better fit in another collection because it appeared to have been created as a commemorative quilt for Andrew upon his graduation from the seminary in California. Donna believed the quilt to be from Canada because that is where her extended family is from, Andrew was married in Manitoba in 1902, and it is from Canada that the quilt made its way to Rhode Island. More on that to come. On the back of one of the images Donna brought during that first meeting were the words "Andrew Strachan at the seminary in San Anselmo, Cali, April 1900." A quick Google search during that initial meeting led me to the home pages for the San Anselmo Historical Museum where I learned of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which was established in San Anselmo, California in 1892. I offered to contact the historical museum to see if they were interested in the quilt for their collection, and Donna was open to the idea. So I made photocopies of the images and documents Donna had brought in, we packed the quilt up again, and I told Donna I would contact her if I heard from the historical museum. Little did we all know where that meeting would lead us. In just a few days, I received a phone call from Judy Coy, a volunteer at the historical museum and we were off on a journey of discovery.

In this wiki, we--Donna, Judy and I--hope to draw you into the journey of this quilt and the many lives who have become entangled through its production and preservation over the past 100+ years. You will learn about Andrew Strachan, his ancestors and descendants. You will learn about the town and congregation where he did his student work. We will introduce you to the quilt and the quilters who contributed the crazy quilt squares and embroidered their initials as tokens of remembrance. And we will introduce you to the granddaughter, Donna, who had never met her grandfather Andrew Strachan but who inherited his quilt. This project is an experiment in collaboration in the preservation and telling of history. It is also a work in progress. Neither the San Francisco Theological Seminary nor the San Anselmo Historical Museum felt they had the facilities to store the quilt or the space to exhibit it, though Judy generously noted the Museum would be happy to preserve it. This led us to contact a local museum, the South County Museum in Narragansett, to see if they would be interested in the quilt. South County Museum's Executive Director, Jim Crothers, offered to provide the quilt a home in their collections; the quilt was donated to the South County Museum on November 18, 2015. Our ultimate goal is for the quilt and its history to not only be preserved, but to be available and expandable through the development of this wiki. We hope that while the quilt might be located in Rhode Island, the extended Strachan/Sciola family, the San Anselmo Historical Museum, the South County Museum and others can access this site and incorporate it into telling their own stories. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, find an error, or have additional information that would contribute to this conversation, see contact information below.

It will be a work in progress as the story enfolds. We welcome you along for the journey.
Blaire, Donna, Judy, and Jim

Big News!!!

Over this past winter, the quilt was conserved and prepared for exhibition. South County Museum also submitted a grant to the American Quilt Study Group in February 2016 to fund a slant board to display this quilt and future quilts. In April 2016, SCM learned that they were awarded the inaugural American Quilt Study Group Endowment Grant to build a slant board. I, Blaire Gagnon, have also taken a position at SCM as the Associate Director, and I look forward to building our slant board, displaying Donna's family quilt, and telling its story this fall. The SCM's 31st Annual Quilt Show will be held September 16-18, 2016. Come see this quilt and many more!!!

Contact Information:

Blaire Gagnon, PhD gagnonblaire@gmail.com or blaire@southcountymuseum.org
If you would like to view a wiki of student object-based research I have developed in an Honors section of TMD 224: Culture, Dress and Appearance class that uses the Historic Textile and Costume Collection housed in the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design Department at URI, please click here or you can enter www.uritextilesandapparel.wikispaces.com into your browser.

Last update:
May 16, 2016 by Blaire Gagnon