Throwback Thursday – Southern Kentucky Quilting Heritage

Did you know Kentucky has a rich quilting heritage? From the painted barn quilts on our road trip trails, to Paducah being the Quilting Capital of the World, to even the “Crazy Quilt Mania” exhibit at the Kentucky Museum, there’s an educational and artistic element to the quilting craft that’s been preserved thru storytelling.

The Hart County Barn Quilt Trail has 40 stops along rural highways. Anyone driving the highways can see the beautifully painted barn quilt squares, each named and telling its own story. Not only do many of the barn quilts honor the agricultural heritage of our area, but they also tell stories of the seasons, the stars, and local family heritage. The full Hart County Quilt Trail Guide can be downloaded on the Hart County Tourism website.

The Bowling Green area also has a Barn Quilt Trail, with 15 stops along the highways of Warren County. The Warren County Quilt Trail map can be downloaded from the Bowling Green Visitors’ Bureau website at

The “Crazy Quilt Mania” exhibit at the Kentucky Museum launched in April, and is available thru June of 2023. These wildly colorful and often abstract quilts became popular in the United States in the late 1800s. While quilting had already been a way to beautifully sew stories into fabric, this new crazy quilt fad was inspired by London’s Royal School of Art needlework and the Japanese arts section of the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876. 

These crazy quilts included colors of all types, fabrics of all kinds, and shapes or appliques of all kinds created the “mania” associated with this fad. The fad had grown so quickly, that by 1884, newspapers and magazines across the country used terms like “maddening,” “maniacal,” and “insane” when referencing any of these quilts. The crazy quilt exhibit showcases 23 of these rad quilts at the Kentucky Museum. Visitors will notice textile and non-textile work, plus illustrations and advertisements from that brief 1880s-1890s crazy quilt era.

Throwback Thursday is brought to you by Hart County Tourism.