Woven Into History: An Interactive Education Program

We are proud to announce the kick-off of a new education program held here at McCarl Coverlet Gallery this summer. The program, cleverly titled Woven into History, presents a history-based program for visiting classes of school children in grades 1-6 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

The program fits seamlessly into our mission statement which seeks to, “foster a knowledge and appreciation of that [folk-weaving] history among the members of the Saint Vincent Community and the general public.” In the past, the McCarl Coverlet Gallery has served Saint Vincent College and the community through weaving demonstrations, quilt documentation events, research development, and service projects while also acting as an interactive classroom for various  history, art and communication students here at Saint Vincent College.

“It’s our genuine hope to enrich the lives of young community members by extending our mission into both the public and private school sector through this program,” quoted one of the Gallery Assistants who witnessed development of the program from ground up.


At its core, Woven into History is an interactive program that allows children to explore mid-19th American century life first-hand. During the program, children will discover how the colorful, patterned coverlets were made and how textiles relate to their lives today. The program features pre-visit material, a classroom touchkit, an on-site visit to the McCarl Gallery, and follow up classroom activities. The program is designed to be adapted to fit k-6 standards and will be customized by grade level.

As mentioned above, there are three stages to the program. Each stage is highlighted below:

Pre-visit– Students will examine a ‘Touch Kit’, which includes Victorian era toys, games, puzzles, a sample of the coverlet, and other items for the children to investigate in the class.

Gallery Visit– Students will see how a loom weaves fabric; be engaged in gallery activities like a scavenger hunt; play the type of Parlor Games that were popular; design their own coverlet to take-home.

Post Visit– Students will be engaged in writing and art activities that allow them to reflect on their visit to the McCarl Coverlet Gallery



The program utilizes a comprehensive curriculum designed to spark interest in mid-19th century America history, culture, design, and hand-craft using Pennsylvania Department of Education Standards Aligned System (SAS) which include:

Reading– the key details of text, understanding, and interpreting the context of topics or issues.

Writing– narratives that allow for imaginative reflection related to a child of the Victorian Era’s point of view while using new vocabulary and terminology

Speaking and Listening– to comprehend information discussed during the activities; to explain or summarize topics through questions and answers.

Historical Analysis and Skill Development– to enhance through an understanding of the chronology of technological and historical sequence; awareness of the significance of how industry, commerce, labor and ethnicity had an impact on social aesthetic and economic factors in mid-19th century America.

Design, Spatial, Reasoning and Mathematical– to develop through incorporating geometric figures in combination with naturalistic shapes to plan and draft a coverlet.


This program is funded by Museums for America, the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ largest grant program for museums, supporting projects and ongoing activities that build museums’ capacity to serve their communities. We are grateful for their support and cannot wait to see what the future brings!

We are now accepting school-groups free of charge for our focus group.  If your school-group is interested in participating in this free experience, please contact us at info@mccarlgalley.org or 724-805-2188.

We would love to hear your feedback in the comment section. What do you think about our new program?

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