Friday, October 28, 2016

Alling Coverlet Museum

Alling Coverlet Museum

Address: 122 William St, Palmyra, NY 14522
Phone: (315) 597-6981

There is an admission fee- but what a bargain:
Adults.............................$3.00 individual museum  or  $7.00 for the TRAIL TICKET*
Children (11 to 17).........$2.00 individual museum  or  $5.00 for the TRAIL TICKET*
Seniors (70 and older)...$2.00 individual museum  or  $5.00 for the TRAIL TICKET*
*The TRAIL TICKET includes admission to all Museums for one low price!
Save over 35% on Adult admission to all Historic Palmyra Museums!
(I will be talking about the other museums included in future columns).

Hours: 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM, Tuesday to Saturday. Closed July 4

Located on a side street in the village of Palmyra, this museum looks like there isn’t much there from the outside, but once inside, you’ll realize that the first impression is totally wrong! This museum is housed in a 1901 newspaper printing office.  Coverlets were once a big industry in the Palmyra area and the museum has the largest collection of American hand woven coverlets in the entire United States.

“What exactly is a coverlet?” you may be asking. It is a type of woven bedspread that is usually paired with decorative pillows on the bed. All of the ones in this collection were woven between 1820 and 1880. This is the age before commercial manufacturing when all were made by hand on a large loom. Although we often think of women on pioneer farms weaving cloth, men actually usually made these in small cottage businesses.

The museum houses many items related to the weaving trade including looms, spinning wheels, and other tools of the trade. There are punch cards that were used with some of the later looms to form the patterns. If you’re old enough to remember the punch cards that were used to program early computers, these are the forerunners of those cards.

What makes it special: There are many, many coverlets on display at any given time. However, there are so many that it takes them 6 years to rotate through the entire collection!

The gift shop also has many great items to look through. There are books that tell more about the weaving industry and its history as well as recipe books and many of the usual historical type souvenirs available for purchase. Although this museum is not genealogical in nature, it has a lot of information on the background of an early industry that was done by many people. If you had an ancestor that was involved in the weaving trade, especially of coverlets, there is a wealth of information here to help you fill in details about what that ancestor’s life was like!

No comments: