needlework exhibit at the Saco Museum. If you are a sampler lover and anywhere within reasonable driving distance, I urge you to go see this exhibit if you can. I went in expecting maybe a dozen samplers and was totally floored by the volume and variety of pieces hanging at this tiny (but mighty) museum.
There were easily 30 or more pieces of embroidery with accompanying histories on display and so well curated. I am somewhat familiar with the sampler making schools in Massachusetts and Rhode Island but not with Maine's. Who knew? There were samplers and needlework pieces on display from "schools" in the Maine/New Hampshire border areas, Saco, Portland, Augusta, Bath, Downeast (Machais!!) and even in the southwestern part of the state. I definitely got much more than I expected.
There is such a lovely variety including many examples of genealogy samplers/family histories and some memorial pieces as well but many, many wonderful examples of schoolgirl samplers. I spent well over 2 hours reading the placards and viewing the display. There were not many people viewing so I didn't feel pressured to move along or feel crowded which was great.
It was unbelievably impressive to stand in the middle of the room and just gaze at the many pieces created in the late 1700s and early 1800s of what was even then a very sparsely populated state. I imagine the sea trade made it possible for teachers and students to travel up and down the coast from Boston and other areas.
There is a great gallery talk scheduled for Friday at 6:30 where the curator of the exhibit will speak. I'm going to try to get there. There are additional talks on Friday, February 15 and on Thursday, February 21st at 11:00am there is a "stitching for beginners and beyond" event (February school vacation here).
Go, Go, GO I say! You will appreciate the trip and the bounty of works on display.