This week’s #MyLocalMuseum theme of ‘Open Doors’. We are delighted to be welcoming visitors back from Tuesday 18 May.

The reopening marks 40 years since a chance remark, by an 11-year-old boy, led to the creation of one of the world’s largest international embroideries.

Made by over 4000 men, women and children from 15 countries. Telling 350 years of social history through 77 modern embroideries. Each shares stories of Quakers, including many Cumbrians, who made history with their deeds of discovery and daring.

World traveller and writer Alexander McCall Smith, says “the Quaker Tapestry is one of the ‘six best tapestries’ to see in the world

Jonathan Stocks then and now

The tapestry came into being as Jonathan Stocks chatted to his teacher Anne Wynn-Wilson back in 1981. Anne had the idea of creating a frieze to tell some of the stories of the early Quakers. Jonathan suggested making a collage or mosaic and soon he and Anne had progressed onto the idea of a tapestry

Read more about the beginnings of the Quaker Tapestry.

The 77 colourful panels were created using five ancient stiches and one new one, invented for the project. Forty of the panels are permanently on display in our family-friendly museum, alongside other exhibitions. Read more about each of the embroidered panels.

Some of the panel stories may resonate with those who are reflecting on the impact of the Pandemic as they cover social challenges during times of great upheaval and inequality.

Travelling Tapestries

The tapestry panels have travelled to more than 180 UK, European and American venues – with a welcome reception that’s included comedian Victoria Wood, actress Sheila Hancock, scientist Mary Archer, and antiques expert Henry Sandon. The Quaker Tapestry has inspired hundreds of other tapestries, including one in Kendal – about Storm Desmond in 2015 – and the latest is an embroidery panel produced in Kendal for an Australian Quaker Tapestry Project.

The Quaker Tapestry Museum, is a registered charity and an Accredited Arts Council museum, and a Visit England Hidden Gem.

“We’ve missed our visitors and can’t wait to open doors. Our new Covid-19 compliant measures will help people have confidence about coming in” says Bridget Guest, General Manager. “There will be less people in at any one time, online booking, a one-way system and hand sanitiser stations.”

Cumbria’s smallest museum is tucked away inside Friends Meeting House Kendal, between Stramongate and New Road.

Reopening on Tuesday 18 May, open weekly Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 5pm. Accompanying the panels are audio guides, interactive displays and films. There is also a gift shop and café onsite. View our Virtual Tour

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