In The House

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British and northern European settlers are well-represented in the furniture and household accessories collections. Regional wainscot furniture from the early 1700s reflects the English influence and line-and-berry inlay on drawers and document boxes reveal designs brought by the Welsh. There are also numerous examples of signed furniture by later Chester County cabinetmakers and clockmakers through the 1800s.

Women of Chester County are evident through the quilts that they created, many from the 1800s, and in samplers [pdf] and other needlework dating from as early as the late 1700s.

Over 200 quilts dating from the late 1700s to the early 1900s represent a range of piecing and appliqué designs used in Chester County. Of particular interest are the pieced or appliquéd friendship quilts dating from the mid-1800s that include names of local residents.

Grants from Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) have provided funds for the Chester County Quilt Documentation Project and the exhibit and publication in  February 2009.

Silver (flatware [pdf] and hollowware [pdf]) and pewter graced the tables of many local homes. More information will be forthcoming about Chester County silversmiths and pesterers.

Ceramics of both utilitarian and decorative function include one of the largest collections of nineteenth century redware made by Chester County potters. Ceramics also include Tucker porcelain made in Philadelphia from kaolin quarried in southern Chester County and Phoenixville majolica manufactured in the late 1800s.

Many nineteenth century children's toys, games and dolls provide a view of childhood before video games. Of special interest is the extensive collection of paper toys and dolls [pdf] from Europe and the United States, one of the largest such collections in the country