Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum
Donations for the museum can be sent to the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum, P.O. Box 1189, Carrollton, GA 30112.
Booker T. Washington once said something along the lines of “Nothing worth having ever comes without hard work.” This axiom could be the mantra for the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, Georgia.
For the past 15 years, a dedicated group of quilt lovers has been striving to bring to reality their dream of establishing a quilt museum in Georgia. Motivated by the fact that there was no quilt museum in the Southeast, coupled with the historic importance of the area to the textile industry in the United States, the group is determined to provide a showcase for quilts not only from Georgia, but from throughout all of the Southeastern states as well.
The Museum is also intended to provide a permanent home for items related to the textile industry, which was integral to the region’s development and the U.S. economy for 200 years.
The idea for such a museum began in 1998 with members of the Georgia Quilt Council. As the planning progressed, the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum became its own entity, and is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. It is governed by a Board of Directors and has one part-time paid staff member.
The Georgia Quilt Council enthusiastically supports the Museum, as do the numerous quilt guilds throughout the state, participating in fundraisers and providing assistance in a variety of ways. Clearly, the Museum is a dream shared by many who are eager to see it come true.
The city of Carrollton—located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains about 50 miles to the west of Atlanta near the Alabama border—was selected as the site, and the city seems especially well situated for the purpose.
Interstates 20 and 85 are nearby, and both provide convenient east-west access, while U.S. Highway 27, a major thoroughfare between Chicago and Miami (nicknamed “The Scenic Hometown Highway”) runs through the city.
Various driving tours pass through the area, including the Georgia Courthouse Tour (Carrollton is the county seat of Carroll County), the West Georgia Heritage Textile Trail (Carrollton was a major textile manufacturing center up through the first half of the 20th century), and the Southern Quilt Barn Trail.
Through an arrangement with the county government, the Museum is housed in the former Cotton Producers Association/Gold Kist Cotton Warehouse, an especially appropriate setting given the importance of cotton both to the region and to quilting. Carrollton is home to the University of West Georgia and has many local amenities that would attract and serve visitors to the area.
Beverly Hammack lives in Carrollton and served as the Chair of the Friends of the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum and Secretary of the museum’s Board of Directors.
“The museum is still very much a work-in-progress,” she says. “But the County Commissioners agreed to give us temporary quarters that provide us with an office and a display area in the old warehouse, which is an enormous building. As funding allows, our plan is to renovate a large portion of the remainder of the building to include administrative offices, storage space, additional display areas, a gift shop, and classrooms. It will be a center for research and education. Plus, we feel very strongly that the museum will become a major attraction for tourism and that it will be a great benefit to the local and state economy.”
Marilyn Osterkamp, the Museum Board Chair, concurs, saying, “What we have now is basically the mini version of the museum that we hope to have in the future. It is not unreasonable to expect 40-50,000 visitors a year. The Museum will be a destination that will draw people in and while they are here they will eat, and shop, and stay in hotels in the area. Those visitors translate into tourist dollars.”
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