National Museum of the American Coverlet – Bedford, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

National Museum of the American Coverlet

Overshadowed by quilts, the artistry of these patterned textiles went underappreciated for too long. 


Melinda and Laszlo Zongor, who met while they were antiquing, have spent the last several decades spreading awareness about and appreciation of an underrepresented art form, the American coverlet.

The couple spent years in the antique trade world, and discovered that the cozy coverlet that has kept Americans warm over the centuries was not getting its due in terms of display and research. After a number of lectures and demonstrations on the subject, in 2006, they set up the National Museum of the American Coverlet dedicated exclusively to the colorful textiles. 

Beginning with the basics like the difference between coverlets and quilts—coverlets are woven from scratch with the patterns, and quilts are usually assembled with cloth from different pattern pieces—the museum walks visitors through the process of creating one of these complex pieces.

Around 50 to 60 coverlets are lovingly showcased on the walls at any given time, fully open so each stitch and motif can be clearly seen. Looms, including the Jacquard loom which revolutionized the industry, are also a part of the collection. Some of the older coverlets date back to the 18th century, and a few have inscriptions with the weaver’s name and other details deftly added in, creating a permanent record of artistry and style. The collection is still growing thanks to donations from people who want to see their family’s woven heirlooms properly appreciated. 

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Parking is available on site, and there is a beautiful and historic bed and breakfast across the street.

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