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National parks quilt exhibition opens June 17

Photo for: National parks quilt exhibition opens June 17

Quilt by Jason Wolfson

If you’ve been batting around the idea of visiting the Forest Preserve District's upcoming “Inspired by the National Parks” quilt exhibition, you may need to stitch together a plan.

The exhibition features 177 quilts divided between four Forest Preserve visitor centers, so it’s important to map your quilt quest in advance. The quilts highlight 59 national parks, with three quilts representing each park’s flora, fauna and landscape.

The free exhibition opens Sunday, June 17, and closes Tuesday, July 3. Viewing hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and noon-4 p.m. Sundays. The quilts will be on view simultaneously at: Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon (closed Saturdays), Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township, and Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet.


Quilters Unlimited member and nature lover Donna DeSoto of Fairfax, Va., spearheaded the exhibition in honor of the National Park Service’s 2016 centennial celebration. Novice and expert quilters from across the country contributed to this labor of love, incorporating materials and objects from the parks into their artwork.

The Forest Preserve is the first to host all 177 quilts in Illinois since the collection began touring in 2016. The exhibition will be dismantled in 2019, so this event may be your only chance to see all of the quilts in Illinois. Here are a few more exhibition dates and details to keep in mind:

Sneak Preview: You can get a sneak preview of a portion of the quilts during the “Arts & Nature on the River” event from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Four Rivers. (Since Four Rivers is closed on the two exhibition Saturdays, this will be the only Saturday viewing at this location.)

Park Ranger Presentation: A presentation titled “100 Years of Your National Parks” by Kip Walton, a park ranger at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, June 29, at Sugar Creek Administration Center. Registration is not required.

Quilt Quest Punch Card: Pick up a Quilt Quest punch card at one of the visitor centers. Get all four visitors center stamps and you can choose one of three rewards.

Viewing Tips: Touching the quilts is not allowed, however visitors are welcome to take photos and video. Docents and Forest Preserve staff will be available during exhibition hours to share quilt details and answer questions.


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