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Antique Sampler & Embroidery Exhibit

February 15, 2023 March 31, 2023

Sturgis Library is partnering with Barnstable Historical Society, the Nye Museum in Sandwich, and several individual collectors to offer an exhibit of antique samplers and other needlework throughout the months of February and March, 2023.

This impressive exhibit features pieces owned by the Library, Historical Society, Museum, and from privately owned collections. The exhibit will feature samplers that date back to the early 1800s, embroidered furniture, tools of the trade, and more.

According to the Smithsonian, the earliest known American sampler was made by Loara Standish of the Plymouth Colony about 1645. By the 1700s, samplers depicting alphabets and numerals were worked by young women to learn the basic needlework skills needed to operate the family household. By the late 1700s and early 1800s, schools or academies for well-to-do young women flourished, and more elaborate pieces with decorative motifs such as verses, flowers, houses, religious, pastoral, and/or mourning scenes were being stitched. The parents of these young women proudly displayed their embroideries as showpieces of their work, talent, and status.