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Past Exhibits


Through the Eyes of a Child. The Quilts of the Family School

A Retrospective

Would you guess that quilts of all sizes, colors and artistic creativity have played an important role at the Family School in Los Olivos for nearly 20 years? Yes, it is true- quilts have become a cornerstone for school fundraising while being much sought after collector items that reflect a particular class or era in the school’s history.

The Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum’s most recent exhibition " Through the Eyes of a Child. The Quilts of the Family School" is a delightful display of over 30 of these treasured Family School quilts, on loan from the school alumni and Valley families who own them. As cherished family heirlooms, the quilts serve not only as a symbol of the small, close knit private school to many of the alumni families but also as a sweet memory of the earlier, innocent days of childhood permanently captured in the beautifully colored fabrics.

Why Quilts?
The Family School’s affection for quilts actually had its beginning in the mid-90’s. At first the quilts were designed by teachers to be used as class projects related to learning themes like early pioneer days. The quilts were constructed in many of the classes with help from the students and their parents. The colorful quilts became so popular with the parents that they were offered for families to bid on at the annual school fundraising auctions.  Soon the quilts became highly sought after auction treasures, bringing in thousands of dollars per quilt and greatly benefitting the school.


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20 Years and Counting….
The Family School quilts on display in the Museum’s exhibit range from those created in the 90’s to several current day quilts designed and sewn just last year. The quilts have themes varying from ocean animals and student generated stories to the recreation of popular children's books and abstract art pieces. In a large display of many, the quilts are a fun view of the time continuum reflecting the changing styles and colors of the past 20 years.  “The quilts are a quintessential example of creative self-expression and interpretation, connections between concrete learning and the arts and age appropriate interests and abilities that are the foundation of the Family School philosophy,” said Julianne Tullis-Thompson, Family School Headmaster.