New Stop on Quilt Trail Celebrates Tennessee Heritage

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 | 2:57pm

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Agricultural Museum at Ellington Agricultural Center has joined Tennessee’s Quilt Trails.

More than 7,000 quilt squares are featured on barns and buildings in more than 40 states. The squares celebrate the traditional craft of quilting and what the craft represents—recognition of rural life, family history and tradition. 

“Quilt Trails connect us back to our local farms and they support the state’s diverse communities,” Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “As people follow these trails along our state’s rural routes, they rediscover pieces of our heritage in a colorful and historical way.”NASHVILLE—
“Quilt Trails connect us back to our local farms and they support the state’s diverse communities,” Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “As people follow these trails along our state’s rural routes, they rediscover pieces of our heritage in a colorful and historical way.”

The Tennessee Agricultural Museum educates visitors through its collection, programming and events focused on Tennessee’s agricultural and rural heritage.  Adding a quilt square to the show and horse barns next to the museum is a natural tie to the museum’s purpose and recognizes the history of the Ellington Agricultural Center, which was named for former Agriculture Commissioner and Governor Buford Ellington. Commonly called a Dresden Plate, the original quilt square used for the design was sewn by Catherine Cheek Ellington, First Lady of Tennessee (1959-1963 and 1967-1971), and her mother Fannie Belle Cheek, at the family’s home in Verona, Tenn.

The museum and the Oscar L. Farris Agricultural Museum Association thank the Five Rivers Resource, Conservation & Development Council for partnership on this project and for providing a grant toward the production of the quilt squares.

OLFAMA board member Carol Edwards explained that the popularity of a barn quilt square often originates with its association to the history of a property. “Mrs. Ellington’s square design certainly is a worthy link to a piece of Tennessee’s agricultural past and a celebration of the continuing work being done by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture,” Edwards said.

Ann Ellington-Wagner, daughter of Governor and Mrs. Ellington, agreed. “The success of our state’s farmers and agricultural industry was at the very heart of my parents’ lives. That the work began in the late 1950s on the grounds of this center, and that the museum continues with such dedication and determination, would make them both very proud.”

Ellington-Wagner continued that the very image of a quilt brings to mind, “a more pastoral way of life, of warmth and comfort, of family lineage and community, and of the care and time purposefully taken to create a treasured heirloom by hand.”

Contact Five Rivers RC&D Council to learn more about the quilt squares in their area fiveriversrcd.wordpress.com/.

To see the Tennessee Agricultural Museum barn quilt square, visit Ellington Agricultural Center located at 440 Hogan Road in Nashville. 

Additional information about the Tennessee Agricultural Museum can be found at www.tnagmuseum.org.