The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery, located in the bottom floor of the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, is a nonprofit cultural organization that collects, preserves, interprets and disseminates the history of weaving and folk traditions in the Northeastern region of the United States.

The McCarl Coverlet Gallery also fosters and carries out research, exhibits, publications, educational events and interpretive projects.

The prized collection of antique American coverlets owned by Foster and Muriel McCarl was part of a $1 million gift to Saint Vincent College. The Beaver Falls couple conveyed its collection of more than 300 coverlets to the College along with funds for the care and preservation of one of the premier coverlet collections in the country.

Aboutabout
The Gallery

The McCarl Coverlet Gallery is a nonprofit cultural organization that collects, preserves, interprets, and disseminates the history of weaving and folk traditions in the Northeastern region of the United States.

The McCarl Coverlet Gallery will also foster a knowledge and appreciation of that history among the members of the Saint Vincent Community and the general public.

The McCarl Coverlet Gallery will foster and carry out research, exhibits, publications, education, and interpretive projects to carry out its purpose.

The McCarl Coverlet Gallery will also engage the academic faculty and student community to the fullest extent and make the exhibit space and collections into a tool for learning and practice of many different disciplines.

The Gallery may, from time to time, acquire artifacts and other objects consistent with its purpose, according to generally accepted museum practice and in keeping with proper operation of The McCarl Coverlet Gallery.

Collections Policy

The McCarl Coverlet Gallery collects coverlets and other weaving examples that exemplify weaving traditions in the colonial to post-antebellum Northeastern United States. If an artifact is particularly unique, the gallery will consider accepting weavings that fall outside of the noted geographic range. In addition, The McCarl Coverlet Gallery collects items dealing with the history, genealogy, and trade practices of weavers associated with the collections. Weaving equipment and other material dealing with folk life from the 1830s to the 1860s Northeastern United States may also be accepted at the discretion of the curator. The McCarl Coverlet Gallery will accept these items through the gift, donation, or bequest from the donor.

Hours and Tourshours-and-tours
Plan Your VisitHours:
  • Saturdays and Sundays: By appointment depending on staff availability
  • Closed Monday
  • Tuesday to Friday: Noon to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday Evening 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Summer Hours: (Memorial Day to Labor Day): Tuesday to Saturday Noon to 3 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The McCarl Gallery is free and open to the public

The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery
Saint Vincent College
300 Fraser Purchase Road
Latrobe, PA 15650
info@mccarlgallery.org

Group Tours

The McCarl Gallery can accommodate groups of up to 50 visitors at a time. In order to schedule a personalized tour or program for your group, please contact Lauren M. Churilla at 724-805-2188.


Historyhistory

McCarl HistoryThe prized collection of antique American coverlets owned by Foster and Muriel McCarl was part of a $1 million gift to Saint Vincent College. The Beaver Falls couple conveyed its collection of over 300 coverlets to the College along with funds for the care and preservation of one of the premier coverlet collections in the country.

Selections from the collection are permanently displayed at the Fred M. Rogers Center on the Latrobe campus. The exhibits take place on a rotating basis with information about their history and significance.

“We appreciate the generosity of the McCarl family in sharing these treasures of American history,” said Saint Vincent Archabbot and Chancellor Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B. regarding the donation. “For many years, the McCarl family has carefully acquired and preserved this valuable collection which many people will now be able to enjoy as a splendid example of America’s tradition of craftsmanship.”

McCarl HistoryBrian McCarl, one of four sons of the McCarls, had managed the collection for his parents, and spoke for the family at the announcement. In making the presentation to Saint Vincent, Brian McCarl said, “After careful consideration, we decided that Saint Vincent would be the best home for what we believe is a very special collection which we have enjoyed for many, many years. We are confident that Saint Vincent, with its demonstrated respect for history, will be a good steward in preserving, protecting and educating the public about this collection.”

A love of American history led the McCarls to purchase their first historic coverlet in 1959. That began what has become one of the finest collections of American coverlets in the Country. Foster McCarl has recalled the joy that he and his wife experienced over the years in assembling the collection, learning from reference books about the prized acquisitions, and developing friendships with dealers and other collectors who shared their interest.

McCarl History“Muriel and I both love American history which led us to antiques,” Foster McCarl has said. “Not just coverlets, but quilts, furniture, iron, brass, china, pottery, wooden ware, etc. The first antique we bought was an Elkington silver-plated tea and coffee service in July of 1955. We each were attracted to different items, and I think that that made our collecting more interesting.”

The couple bought their first two coverlets in August 1959 in Ephrata, Pennsylvania; three months later they bought five more coverlets, and the collection was begun. Mr. McCarl has written about his special interest in these historic items. “Someone asked me, ‘why coverlets?’ My response was ‘Where else can you find an item that has the name of the weaver who created it by hand, the name of the person it was woven for, the date and the community where the work was completed? When you have a coverlet with all this information, you have found an indisputable piece of American history.’”

These 19th century bed coverlets, which are woven with intricate patterns in vibrant colors of red, blue, white and green, were woven almost exclusively by professional male weavers, usually in the Middle Atlantic states and the Midwest, and were affordable enough for middle-class, rural Americans. Described as “figured and fancy,” these coverlets were most popular between 1824 and the Civil War, and reflected the Victorian sensibilities of the time offering intricate designs with a wealth of flowers, trees and popular patriotic emblems. Usually woven from a blend of cotton and wool, the coverlets were often commissioned for particular occasions such as a marriage or birth. The names of the weaver and recipient, as well as the location and date, were often woven into the corner blocks.

McCarl HistoryWith that information, coverlets help tell the stories of the people who made and used them, and serve as a springboard to studying craftsmanship and history. In double-weave coverlets, weavers used two sets of warp threads (vertical threads mounted on the loom) and two sets of weft threads (horizontal back and front) to create two layers of fabric which intertwined to create the design. This technique resulted in very crisp patterns and made a completely reversible coverlet. An alternate technique used colorful wool as additional weft threads to create the design, but without creating a double cloth. Coverlets represent the historic transition from commercial handloom weaving to mechanized factory production in America. By the end of the Civil War, most weaving was done in factories.

In a book entitled, “American Coverlets and Their Weavers: Coverlets from the Collection of Foster and Muriel McCarl,” author Clarita S. Anderson offers in-depth descriptions of 50 of the coverlets and information about 700 weavers. She points out that in the design of these textiles, “People proclaimed their patriotism, piety, interest in current events, and design preferences through complex patterned coverlets enlivened with flowers, stars, ships, buildings, animals, birds, spread eagles and occasional moralistic or patriotic sayings.”

McCarl HistoryIn the foreword to the book, it is noted that “no one has done more to advance the appreciation and study of American coverlets than Foster and Muriel McCarl.” Museum curators now recognize coverlets as works of decorative art, hanging them on walls where visitors can admire them for their fascinating patterns while learning about their intriguing history. The McCarl coverlets have been featured in an exhibition at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In the fall of 2004, Saint Vincent College hosted an exhibition in its Saint Vincent Gallery, “Woven Into History: American Coverlets from the Collection of Foster and Muriel McCarl,” featuring ten coverlets from the collection. Foster McCarl in 1946 founded McCarl’s Plumbing & Heating Company, which became a leader in the mechanical contracting industry and 30 years later was renamed McCarl’s, Inc. In 1999, McCarl’s became a wholly owned subsidiary of PPL Corporation.


Eventsevents
History Dinner Theater 2017-2018 Series

Come and join us for our third season of theater and fun with our own historic take on dinner theater. Join us without the worry of traffic jams, expensive parking or rushing through dinner to make it from the restaurant to the theater on time. Dine on a gourmet dinner of your choosing while you are regaled by the historic tales, music, poetry and personal accounts of some of the most fascinating historic figures in the United States. The series will run from September 2017 to May 2018 and will allow you to experience the past in a way that is tons of fun for everyone!


Dec. 7, 2017
Thomas Jefferson Portrayed by Steve Edenbo
6-9 p.m.
All Ages Welcome
The Fred M. Rogers Center

Steve Edenbo as Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is an American titan who led by charisma and conversation, rather than by coercion. As president, his dinners were personal and intimate, with cuisine created by an internationally-known French chef, after which wine was served and the discussion was then turned to the political. The first United States Secretary of State, the second Vice President, the third President, Jefferson considered these roles as  burdens placed upon him. Jefferson was most proud of penning the Declaration of Independence, fathering the University of Virginia, and shepherding the Statute of Religious Freedom: Jefferson considered these achievements his gifts to America.

Steve Edenbo offers his audience Thomas Jefferson’s gifts with eloquence. Mr. Edenbo shares Jefferson’s love of reading, writing, and good wine, as well as a love of the outdoors and the need to balance intimate friendships with solitude.

Ticket price includes a menu choice of one of the following selections:

  • Herb Crusted Flank Steak: Savor a perfectly tender herb crusted flank steak served with roasted tomato jus.
  • Chicken Fontina: Seared chicken breast with fontina cheese, wild mushrooms and sweet onion sage jus.

All meals are served with a salad, sides, and a delectable desert.

Buy Tickets


March 16, 2018
A Visit with Harriet Tubman
6-9 p.m.
All Ages Welcome
The Fred M. Rogers Center

Karol Brown and James BrownKarol Brown is the unforgettable Aunt Harriet Tubman. The audience laughs, cries and sings with Aunt Harriet as they visit with her in the parlor of the convalescent home she founded in Auburn, New York, where she lived until she died March 10, 1913, at age 93.

Karol tells stories that capture the emotions, imagination and the humanity of the woman called Moses. James Brown is a natural storyteller with a smooth tenor voice. As Brother Ely, he asks to “borrow the minds” of the
audiences, young and old to take them on a vicarious
journey to travel back in time to 1912, to visit with Harriet Tubman. Throughout the storytelling, James brings the sounds of the Negro spirituals into the room and the
audience experiences musically enchanting moments.

Ticket price includes a menu choice of one of the following selections:

  • Maryland-Style Crab Cakes: Two Maryland-style crab cakes pan seared and served with lemon tarragon cream.
  • Grilled Pork Chop: Grilled thick-cut pork chop with sweet and savory maple-braised onions.

All meals are served with a salad, sides, and a delectable desert.

Buy Tickets 

May 4, 2018
Sally Ride -- Who Wants to be an Astronaut?
6-9 p.m.
All Ages Welcome
The Fred M. Rogers Center

Mary Ann Jung as Sally RideAward winning actress Mary Ann Jung returns with an exciting portrayal of American icon Sally Ride. In 1983 aboard the space shuttle Challenger, Sally Ride became America’s first female astronaut and its youngest. What was it like to be our first woman in space? How did they have to modify the space shuttle? How do you eat, sleep and work in zero gravity?

Dr Sally Ride will delight and surprise you with her unique and challenging adventures. Everyone loves trivia and game shows so get ready to blast off in an exciting competition, “Who Wants to be an Astronaut?”

Ticket price includes a menu choice of one of the following selections:

  • Mustard Crusted Pork Tenderloin: Savor a mustard and rosemary rubbed pork tenderloin, slow roasted and sliced, served with Dijon sauce.
  • Chicken Bruschetta: Grilled chicken breast with red grape tomato and basil relish.

All meals are served with a salad, sides, and a delectable desert.

Buy Tickets 

All proceeds benefit the educational programming, collections care, and exhibitions at the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery.


School Programs

The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery would like to invite you to attend Woven into History, a history-based program for visiting classes of school children in grades K-6. Saint Vincent College is located in Westmorland County, PA in the Laurel Highlands and is located an hour outside of Pittsburgh.

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. At this time your school can attend the program at no cost.

Woven into History uses the Gallery’s Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Collection as a source of original artifacts for young students to learn from. As part of the program, students will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on creative processes to explore mid-19th century American life. Through these activities, they will discover the history of the coverlets and other American textiles and how they relate to their lives. It is our hope that students will begin to appreciate the many examples of folk art incorporated into the coverlet designs.

The 386 jacquard-loomed collection is one of the world’s largest of American “figured and fancy” hand woven coverlets. It represents the historic 19th century transition from commercial handloom weaving to mechanized factory production in America.

In school options are available as well as museum visits.To reserve a field trip or request more information, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Woven Into History

Woven Into History Page 2


Scout Programs

Brownies

Stitch it Together*
Scouts will participate in sewing activities such as an animal sewing card, embroidery, making quilt patches and discussing what it was like to be a young colonial girl in America.

Listening to the Past
As the scouts tour the gallery, they will hear stories and play games from long ago.

Juniors

Yarn and Fabric Arts*
The Girl Scouts will learn about the history of coverlets and experiment with weaving, stitching and dyeing techniques.

Folk Arts
In this program, scouts will have the opportunity to participate in multiple activities including drawing portraits and writing a short story from an old photograph, acting out a fairy tale, myth or legend. The scouts can also learn to make a quill pen and practice penmanship, participate in a stenciled note card activity and learn about the history of the McCarl Coverlet Gallery.

Making Hobbies
Scouts will use materials such as nature, recycled materials, paint and paper to do various arts and crafts such as gift wrap and prints.

One adult is free for every four scouts.

Programs are $6 per scout, except for patches that require additional material. These programs are noted by an asterisks and cost $8 per scout.
Programs are subject to an eight scout minimum charge.
A deposit is required at the time of registration.

Linkslinks

Artisans of Saint Vincent Archabbey
http://www.stvincentartisans.com/

Colonial Coverlet Guild of America
http://coverletguildofamerica.org/

Fred Rogers Center
http://www.fredrogerscenter.org/

Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection 
http://textilecollection.wisc.edu

KeyAdvisors Financial Services, LLC
http://www.keyadvisorsgroupllc.com/team

Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau
http://www.laurelhighlands.org/

Links to Other Saint Vincent Websites
http://benedictine.stvincent.edu/

Saint Vincent College
http://www.stvincent.edu

Saint Vincent College Art Gallery
http://www.stvincent.edu/gallery

Saint Vincent Gristmill
http://www.saintvincentgristmill.com/

Textile Society of America
https://textilesocietyofamerica.org/

Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve
http://www.wpnr.org/