Many of you may not be aware of the little treasure we have in Leesburg - our county seat so to speak. In a little log house in town there is our county museum otherwise known as Loudoun Museum.
What is unique about our museum is at one point Betty Whiting Flemming was the curator. Betty was a passionate needleworker and sampler lover with a strong interest in Quaker Samplers. Betty was also one of the Founders of the Loudoun Sampler Guild which I am a member of and was fortunate enough to serve as their President a few years ago. As a result our little treasure in Leesburg was heavily influenced by Betty's love of needlework and is apparent in the museums collection. The size of the museum needlework collection is extensive approximately one-third of is comprised of textiles. Many of which are 18th, 19th and 20th century and were made in Loudoun County and Northern Virginia. In addition to samplers the collection houses quilts, coverlets, costumes, men and women’s clothing, needlework tools and accessories. Many of the items have been donated by family members of the early stitchers in the area.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of working with Pam Stewart who was the curator of the museum at the time and had the opportunity to view the collection up close and personal. I was in the process of studying for an appraisal class and when I contacted her for information she was kind enough to give me a personal behind the scenes access to the samplers as well as the historical information associated with them. All it took was a phone call and Pam was happy to share them with me. I will always remember what she told me that day when I thanked her - "they belong to all of us".
Well as budget cuts have hit our county one of the items our Board of Supervisors is looking to cut is the funding to Loudoun Museum which had already been reduced. The Board is meeting in September to discuss if you are so inclined I have included their email address below for those who may be interested in sending communication to the Board in regards to the significance of the collection to not only Loudoun County but to the needlework world. Help us to enlighten them on the significance of textiles and how they were and continue to be such a significant portion of our historical past. How these items created by women before us were how they provided clothing and linens for their families as well as decorating their homes. In addition to how they were taught and learned the skills they would need during their life.
To email the Board of Supervisors please use the following email address: BOS@loudoun.gov