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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

National association honors URI textiles program for leading role
in R.I. Quilt Documentation Project

KINGSTON, R.I. -- July 19, 2001 -- A national historical association has honored the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design with an Award of Merit for its lead role in the Rhode Island Quilt Documentation Project.

The American Association for State and Local History has also announced that Awards of Merit will also be presented to The Rhode Island Historical Society and the Slater Mill Historic Site for their supporting roles in the project.

All three have been recognized for excellence in the collection, preservation and interpretation of state and local history throughout America.

The 10-year Rhode Island Quilt Documentation Project, which began in 1991, was organized by URI Professor Linda Welters of Peace Dale, chair of the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design, and her colleague, Margaret Ordoñez of Cumberland, URI associate professor of textiles. Alda Kaye, retired curator of the department’s historic costume collection, was also a member of the team.

The Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities was the major funding source for the documentation, exhibitions and book. The URI Foundation and Cranston Print Works also supported the project.

The project culminated last year in a 328-page book edited by Welters and Ordoñez, which highlights research done on nearly 900 quilts by URI textiles professors, students and volunteers at communities throughout Rhode Island, from Woonsocket to Westerly and Coventry to Newport. The research resulted in seven public displays, the most important of which were: "Stitches in Time: Rhode Island Quilts," at the Rhode Island Historical Society; "Pieced and Patched: Rhode Island Quilts and the Textile Industry" at the Slater Mill Historic Site, and "Home from the Mill," an exhibition that originated in Montreal and traveled to rural Quebec and ended at Slater Mill.

Through detailed historical essays, 30 vignettes, 63 color plates and 94 black and white photos, Down by the Old Mill Stream: Quilts in Rhode Island makes Rhode Island history come alive through the families who came to the state to power the mills.

In a letter to Welters, Terry L. Davis, executive director and chief executive officer of the association, said the organization’s award program is the nation’s most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in local state and regional history.

Now in its 56th year, the awards program this year recognized 91 organizations and individuals around the country. The program not only honors significant achievement in the field of local history, but also brings public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions and programs to make contributions in this area.

The 2001 awards will be presented at a banquet Thursday, September 13, as part of the group’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.

"On behalf of the officers, council, staff and members of AASLH, I offer my heartiest congratulations on this recognition of your achievement and your excellent work," Davis said in the letter to Welters.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organizational based in Nashville, Tenn. of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history.

For Information: Linda Welters 401-874-4525, Margaret Ordonez 401-874-5481

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