Threads of History: Martha Washington & the Lives of Eighteenth-Century Women

A Material Memory Program

Tuesday, May 7

Join Associate Director of Collections Lori Erickson Fidler and award-winning professors and authors Dr. Zara Anishanslin and Dr. Kimberly Alexander as they present a treasured item from the Revolutionary Spaces collection: a quilt believed to be made of fabrics from Martha Washington's dresses that was once owned by her great grandniece.

Starting with the fabrics found in the quilt, the program will examine the roles of eighteenth-century American women, exploring how women’s socioeconomic status was reflected in their clothing and the types of textiles they used and wore. The panel will be moderated by Revolutionary Spaces Board Chair Martha McNamara, Director of the New England Arts and Architecture Program and Co-Director of Architecture in the Department of Art at Wellesley College. The program will conclude with an engaging audience Q&A.

Step back in time and discover the stories woven into every stitch of this cherished quilt, unraveling the intricacies of history with us. Doors will open at 6:00 pm and the program will begin at 6:30 pm. Food and refreshments will be provided in the museum store located on the lower level of the Old South Meeting House prior to the start of the program. Due to the delicate nature of the quilt, food and beverage of any kind will be strictly prohibited in the Main Hall. Threads of History: Martha Washington and the Lives of Eighteenth-Century Women is free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of The Lowell Institute. Mark your calendars and pre-register today for an unforgettable evening at Old South Meeting House.


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Doors Open: 6:00 PM
Program Begins: 6:30 PM
Location: Old South Meeting House
Admission: Free

By registering to attend this event, you will be added to Revolutionary Spaces’ email list. You are able to opt out at any time.

Old South Meeting House - Exterior

About the Speakers

Dr. Kimberly Alexander is on the faculty of the History Department at the University of New Hampshire, where she is Director of Museum Studies and Senior Lecturer. Alexander is a James Hayes Research Fellow for 2023-2024, awarded by the UNH Center for the Humanities. She has held curatorial positions at several New England museums, including the MIT Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and Strawbery Banke. Her most recent books are Treasures Afoot: Shoe Stories from the Georgian Era (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), which won an Honor Award from Historic New England in 2019, and Fashioning the New England Family (Massachusetts Historical Society, 2021).

Zara Anishanslin is a scholar and public historian who specializes in looking at history through material culture.  An Associate Professor of History and Art History and the Director of the American Civilization Program at the University of Delaware, she focuses on Early American and Atlantic World History.  Her first book, Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World (Yale University Press, 2016) showed how making, buying, and using goods in the 18th century British Atlantic world tied its inhabitants together while allowing for different views of the Empire.  When not in the classroom or archives, Anishanslin talks history on a wide variety of podcasts and TV shows and consults on exhibitions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s early American galleries and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: The Exhibition. Anishanslin is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society.  Her next project, Under the King’s Nose: Ex-Pat Patriots during the American Revolution (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), will be published in 2025.

Lori Erickson Fidler is Associate Director of Collections for Revolutionary Spaces. She manages the object collections and archives, overseeing collections care, planning, and documentation. Before joining Revolutionary Spaces, Fidler held positions as Curator and Collections Manager, in addition to working as a museum collections and exhibitions consultant. She holds both a bachelor of arts and a master of science in anthropology with a focus on archaeology and museum studies.

Martha McNamara is an art and architectural historian who specializes in the visual and material culture of New England.  McNamara is Director of the New England Arts and Architecture Program and Co-Director of Architecture in the Department of Art at Wellesley College where she teaches courses in American art and architectural history, historic preservation, the history of cities, and material culture studies. She currently serves as Board Chair of Revolutionary Spaces.

Free Registration