October 9, 2021 – January 30, 2022
Quilts are of course not the first thing that comes to mind when you are talking about Ken Burns. The acclaimed filmmaker is known for making dozens of documentary series, including “The Civil War,” “Baseball” and, most recently his 10-part “The Vietnam War.” His style is a blend of American history and personal anecdote, threaded with iconic imagery and music, coming together in patterns you might call quiltlike.
Burns began collecting American quilts in the mid-1970s, today his collection of 75 quilts is displayed among his home, office, barn and lake house in New Hampshire. The quilts, dating from the 1850s to the 1940s, reflect Burns’ consummate taste, his thoughtfulness, and his palpable love and respect of the American quilt as both an art object and as a storyteller.
Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection exhibition will feature 26 historic quilts, research and quotes from Mr. Burns’ private collection.
In partnership with the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Mr. Burns personally approved the Upcountry History Museum’s request to host this prolific exhibition. In true Ken Burns storytelling style, the exhibition uses stories to connect visitors to the history, beauty and science behind the art of quilting.
Displayed alongside eloquent, anecdotal thoughts about quilts, collecting, art and authenticity, Burns’ quilts function as his films do: they spark dialogue and remind us – he hopes – of our shared humanity.