TOURS        GIVE  


PRESS RELEASE - Exhibit opening February 3rd 2023 - On display through August 2023

ITHACA NY –The History Center in Tompkins County announces their next major exhibit ‘Knot Sew Fast: Patchwork of Tompkins County’, to open on February 3rd 2023 at their Exhibit Hall on the Ithaca Commons. Knot Sew Fast pulls from the extensive textile and fabric arts collections held by The History Center to lay out the stories these functional artworks tell about Tompkins County history.

Piecing together the story of quilts encourages us to consider shifts in technology, industry, transportation, and materials over generations of local life. As we unravel (figuratively) each quilt we consider the hands that did the work, and the stories they captured in every knot and stitch. In addition to historic quilts displayed from four of the nine townships of Tompkins, there will be interactive patternmaking stations in the Exhibit Hall; an invitation for our modern audience to try their hand at replicating patterns from ancestral woven Haudenosaunee belts to modern-day art quilts.

Quilts are a unique measure to explore history as the practice of quilting was a skill developed and practiced equally by historic Ithacan city-dwellers, as well as our rural township communities of Trumansburg, Groton, Dryden, Lansing, Caroline, Newfield, and Danby. The merging of this functional skill, and the hundreds of hours and handwork displayed in each quilt shares narratives about community, history, home, and skilled labor.

Knot Sew Fast will encourage a slower recognition of the diversity of textiles and patterns, as well as the hands and minds that created them. The exhibit will be on display from February 3rd 2023 through mid-August 2023. Follow @TompkinsHistory and http:// for updates.


Beyond the Exhibit Hall in Tompkins County Quilts

In addition to the displays at our museum on the Ithaca Commons, a digital exhibit 'Patterns: Quilting in Tompkins County' will be available in February 2023.

Researchers are encouraged to schedule appointments in our Research Library & Archives to review the following archival materials from our textile related collections:

Tompkins County Quilt Books

Carrie Mannings Diary 1869

Twice Told Tales: History, Literature, and Family Lore Retold in Narrative Quilts

50 Years of Ellis Hollow Quilting: 1966-2016

Follow Along at #TompkinsHistory on


Follow @TompkinsHistory on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and SoundCloud as we highlight stories of #TompkinsHistory over the centuries.

Post your own stories and use the hashtag #TompkinsHistory and #TompkinsQuilts to join the conversation.

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory


Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


Find us on social media @tompkinshistory


© Copyright 2020-2022 The History Center in Tompkins County

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software
Visit Us