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New Indiana Coverlets (1830-1870) Exhibition at Midwest Museum of American Art

Begins Memorial Day in Elkhart County

Elkhart County, IN – June 9, 2011 - The Midwest Museum of American Art. 429 S. Main Street, Elkhart, IN presents an exhibition of rare Indiana coverlets produced during the 19th Century from June 10 through August 21, 2011. The exhibit includes selections from the John and Janet Simmermaker Collection. The Simmermakers have over the years, shared their collection with the public through the Connor Prairie Museum (1978, 1979, 1982, 1993) and the Ball State University Art Museum (1985), but never in the Northern part of the state. This special exhibit highlights woven fiber coverlets (or “coverlids” as they were sometimes referred to) made entirely in Indiana from around 1830 to 1870 when the three most essential pieces of equipment for the new Indiana home were the rifle, axe, and loom.

The nearly 40 coverlets on display at the Midwest Museum of American Art represent the various unique examples of the Indiana weaver’s art as well as coverlets by weavers from surrounding states as highlights from the Simmermaker’s forty-year journey of collecting vintage fiber.

When asked if their was anything left to collect John Simmermaker gave a succinct account of their collection’s current status by saying, “ We have examples of every known Indiana weaver (and a few previously unknown) with the exception of John Garis. Garis wove (coverlets) in Porter County. To my knowledge only three are known to exist; one in the Indiana State Museum (Indianapolis), one in a local museum in Chesterton, and one that was stolen from a local museum in Crown Point, Indiana. Garis used two corner blocks: one says, This is a part of a work of Art, the other says, Industry leads to Virtue.” He concluded by saying that he would greatly appreciate any leads in finding a coverlet by John Garis; obviously not satisfied with a collection that was “one short”.

The Midwest Museum of American Art is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Admission is $4. Adult; $3. Senior Citizens; $2. College Student; $1. Public School Student; $7. Family (three or more individuals). www.MidwestMuseum.US.

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Contact: Diana Lawson, FCDME, Executive Director, Elkhart County CVB, (800) 262-8161, diana@amishcountry.org

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