The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, will be exhibiting a number of American and European needlework samplers as their summer exhibit, June 7, 2019- September 1, 2019.
Entitled Summer Exhibit, the exhibit will feature approximately seventy samplers. The title is taken from the earliest sampler on display which was made by Sarah Relph in her tenth year, October 1745. Drawn from several private collections as well as the public collections of the Lycoming County and Jersey Shore Historical Societies, the exhibit features the work of an overlooked segment of the population in history books: that of young women. Virtually every young woman during the 17th through the 19th centuries was instructed in the craft of needlework in preparation for her future roles as mother, wife, and housekeeper. On a plain piece of linen, wool, or possibly cotton, she would learn the basic sewing and darning stitches. The sampler could then be used as a reference when sewing a garment or darning a hole in socks was needed.
The very basics were often taught under the supervision of a female relative. If a young woman’s family felt the need to further her education and could afford it, the young woman might then be sent to an academy or finishing school. Many of the samplers on display were taught under the supervision of a teacher well-versed in the vocabulary of stitches. In homage to her teacher, the young lady often stitched the teacher’s name on the sampler. Lighting in the Community Room where the samplers will be on display will be reduced and no photography is permitted. Groups of ten or more desirous of a personalized tour are required to book in advance. The tour will be conducted by the Director of the Museum Gary Parks who inherited a family sampler, the basis of his interest in these stitched decorative arts. Regular admission to the museum will be charged to view the exhibit.
The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30am until 4:00pm, Saturdays, 11:00am until 4:00pm, and Sundays, 1:00pm until 4:00pm. For further information, please call the museum at 570.326.3326.