Quilt a show — History center fabricates an exhibit

By Mike Dougherty

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Quilts and surveying.

At first it might seem to be a puzzler how the pair relate, but then spend a moment with Karl Wolff, curator at the History Center of Olmsted County.

"We found some quilts and we had some original surveying equipment, so we looked to extend the topic," Wolff said. "When you make a quilt, you survey a piece of fabric and lay it out different ways."


Thus was born the exhibit "Surveying the quilts of Olmsted County."

In Minnesota and Olmsted County history, quilting and surveying played key roles. Quilters subdivided fabric into fascinating designs, while surveyors subdivided the land, eventually leading to the patterned landscape we see today, promoters of the exhibit say.

The exhibit, which runs through April 30, features quilts from the history center’s collections. Among them are some crazy quilts and an 1899 red work signature quilt from Grace Universalist Church, whose stones went into the construction of Mayowood, Wolff said. Along with the quilts are pieces of surveying equipment of Col. George Healy and early pioneer furniture.

To learn more, go to

If you go

What: Surveying the Quilts of Olmsted County

Where: History Center of Olmsted County, 1195 W. Circle Drive S.W.

When: Exhibit closes April 30. Museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday - Saturday.


Admission: $5, adults; $2, children; free to Olmsted County Historical Society members.

Phone: 282-9447


History Center of Olmsted County

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