The exhibit QuiltSpeak: Uncovering Women’s Voices Through Quilts provides a model for using material culture research to unearth the experiences of marginalized historical actors. Each of the forty quilts from the North Carolina Museum of History’s permanent collection displayed in QuiltSpeak—made by a racially and economically diverse selection of quilters from the past two hundred years—served as a portal into a woman’s life and a representation of her self-expression. Interactive elements empowered visitors to decode material culture themselves and connect their own experiences to the quiltmakers’. This article examines the exhibit’s conceptualization, development, and outcomes with the contention that heretofore unheard voices can often be discovered right under our proverbial noses.

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