Wednesday, June 25, 2008
That's quilt exhibition in Dutch. I've just returned from a week in the Netherlands, where I worked on a collaborative exhibition project for Mennonite Central Committee here in the US and the International Menno Simons Center in the Netherlands. The exhibit, Passing on the Comfort, tells the story of An Keuning-Tichelaar. During and after World War II, she and her husband Herman made their home a refuge for many people: Jews, Dutch children sent out from the cities during the Hunger Winter, and, after the war, Mennonite refugees fleeing the Ukraine. The quilts in the exhibit were made by Mennonite women in the US and Canada, and sent to the Netherlands as a part of the Mennonite Central Committee's relief efforts. An saved the quilts for many years until a chance encounter with Lynn Kaplanian Buller, an American living in Amsterdam, encouraged her to tell her story in a book, newly published in Dutch and also available in English.
An's story--and the story of those American and Canadian women who working together, made quilts to make a difference in the lives of people an ocean away- encourages all of us to consider how and why we can chose to make a difference.
The Dutch version of the exhibition opened in the small village of Witmarsum, in Friesland, on a beautiful sunny day. I was privileged to meet An and her family, and to work with a great group of volunteers in installing the exhibit. No surprise, hard-working volunteers are the same everywhere. In particular, Wiske Beuker, Afke Kuypers and Lynn Kaplanian Buller made my stay there easy, thoughtful, and fun!
The American version of Passing on the Comfort will be available for travel this fall from my firm Riverhill, and I'll write more in the next few posts about some of the Dutch museums and historic houses I had a chance to visit.
From top to bottom:
Visitors at the exhibition opening
An Keuning-Tichelaar (left) and Wiske Beuker (right) during the opening ceremony
Volunteers at work
The audience at the opening ceremony in the Oudekerk in Witmarsum