Bull's eye quilt © The American Museum of Folk Art
Golden wedding ring quilt © The American Museum of Folk Art
Mariner's compass quilt © The American Museum of Folk Art
Seven sisters quilt © The American Museum of Folk Art
Star of France quilt © The American Museum of Folk Art
Quilts based around the theme of stars at the American Museum of Folk Art. They were beautifully made and displayed - but I just expected there to be more. More quilts, more information, more stories, more rooms with a permanent collection in. Still, the exhibition was free and judging by the books that they publish, they have some really incredible things in their collection. It's definitely worth going and having a look, but also check out their online archive. Look at some of the delights I dug up in just a few minutes:

Anniversary tin top-hat and eye glasses, 1890-1900 © The American Museum of Folk Art

Tattoo pattern book, 1873-1910 © The American Museum of Folk Art
E. Fitts Jr. store and coffeehouse trade sign, 1832 © The American Museum of Folk Art

 Tin top-hat and eyeglasses [as quoted from AMFA]:
'The custom of giving anniversary gifts of increasing value through the years of marriage originated in medieval Germany but was interpreted in a whimsical manner in Victorian America. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the tenth—or tin—anniversary became an occasion of riotous celebration, and whimsical gifts made of tin were presented to the married couple. Often they were oversized replicas of everyday items or humorous pieces with personal meaning. In 1881, John H. Young wrote that the custom of “celebrating wedding anniversaries has of late been largely practiced.” Ten years later, Richard A. Wells, in Culture and Dress of the Best Society, suggested that “a general frolic is in order at the tin wedding. It is an occasion for getting together old friends after ten years of married life. . . . The invitations for this anniversary may be made upon cards covered with tin foil or upon the ordinary wedding note paper with a tin card enclosed. Those guests who desire to accompany their congratulations with appropriate presents have the whole list of articles manufactured by the tinner from which to select.”'

Tattoo pattern book [as quoted from AMFA]:
'There are a few surviving [tattoo pattern] books like this one. A sailor most certainly drew the images, for tattoo artists were often sailors, and the portability of the sample book lent itself to the itinerant nature of a seaman’s life. Designs on several pages have nautical themes, and others were inspired by religion, patriotism, and popular culture. One page has several anchor designs with dates ranging from 1873 to 1899, probably the artist’s years of service. There is also a faint inscription dated 1910. One drawing, entitled “Sailor’s Dream,” depicts a sailor asleep in a hammock dreaming of embracing the beautiful girl pictured in the sail of his ship.'

 Store and coffeehouse trade sign [as quoted from AMFA]:
'Taverns were the physical and emotional centers of American community life through at least the middle of the nineteenth century. In addition to their function as much-needed rest stops during a period when travel was arduous, they served as meeting places for social, political, military, religious, and secular activities. Coffeehouses, an alternative to taverns that served distilled liquor, developed as gathering places in England  after coffee, tea, and chocolate had been introduced in the late-seventeenth century. Imitated in America by the late eighteenth century, they frequently offered current newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets in addition to beverages. Coffeehouses became especially popular with the advent of the temperance movement during the late 1820s, when many taverns stopped serving distilled liquor and relied on room and board for their income.'