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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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American Quilter's Society

Founded in 1984, the American Quilter's Society (AQS) was founded as a division of Bill and Meredith Schroeder's Paducah-based Schroeder Publishing Company, devoted to producing about 50 titles a year in the fields of antiques and collectibles. From the beginning, the Schroeders sought to increase the respect the public had for quilts and quiltmakers. Beginning with their magazine, American Quilter, they have gone on to develop a membership program, publish additional books on quilting, sponsor an annual quilt show, and develop a quilt appraisal certification program.

Through their contact with top quilters throughout the country, the Schroeders have also become quilt collectors. Out of the desire to share that collection came the concept of a museum dedicated to quilts, quiltmakers, and quilting. With 1500 members the first year, the AQS has grown to include over 60,000 professional and amateur quilters, collectors, and quilt enthusiasts from all 50 states and 80 other countries.

The AQS Quilt Show & Contest, first held in April 1985, today has cash prizes totaling $102,000, the largest such purse in the county; over 35,000 visitors attending the four-day show in 1999. Awards are given in 13 categories, in addition to "Best of Show," "Best Hand Workmanship," and "Best Machine Workmanship" prizes. The four top awards are purchase awards, with the quilts donated to the Quilt Museum. An additional contest is held for quilted wearables. Quilters learn new and traditional quiltmaking techniques in 140 workshops and lectures offered at the show.

In the summer of 1990, ground was broken for the construction of a quilt museum. When it opened in 1991, the museum had 92 quilts; the collection now numbers 175 quilts. The first catalog of the collection was published in 1991; the second volume in 1995. The museum has developed a variety of programs and actively works with other groups in the community to make it a living museum, and the museum Book Shop offers over 400 titles on quilting and textiles. With its annual quilt show and museum, the AQS has provided significant economic, educational, and cultural benefits to the city of Paducah.

Project documentation includes a five-page essay, an issue of American Quilter magazine, an AQS Fall 1999 Book Catalog, copies of rules for AQS quilt contests and show, a brochure for the Museum of the American Quilter's Society, and a video history of the AQS show.

Originally submitted by: Ed Whitfield, Representative (1st District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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