Civil War Exhibit to Open at The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery at Saint Vincent College

-Traveling exhibit commemorates 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Pennsylvania-

VENUE LOCATION, DATE – As part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and in partnership with the statewide Pennsylvania Civil War 150 efforts, The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery at Saint Vincent College will host a new traveling exhibit, The Civil War in Pennsylvania, which is presented by Peoples Natural Gas and supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in conjunction with the opening of their spring exhibit, The Coverlet Casualty, which will interpret the impact of the American Civil War on the coverlet industry .

The 500 square foot exhibit, created by the Senator John Heinz History Center for its Affiliate Program members, will be on display from February 6 until March 17. The Coverlet Casualty will be on display from February 6 to May 20.

The Civil War in Pennsylvania exhibit features four life-like museum figures, plus a companion Dog Jack, along with artifacts, previously unseen photographs, and large museum panels describing Pennsylvania’s contributions to the Civil War.

The four museum figures represented in the exhibition include:

• Strong Vincent, a young attorney from Erie, Pa. who rallied Union troops in the fierce battle on Little Round Top with the phrase, “Don’t give an inch!”
• Martin Delany, a Pittsburgh abolitionist who was one of the first African Americans admitted to Harvard Medical School and later, the highest ranking African American in the Civil War.
• Kate McBride, a young worker from the Allegheny Arsenal, who represents the women and children who toiled on the home front to support the Union efforts.
• Tillie Pierce, a 15-year old Gettysburg native who hauled buckets of water for thirsty soldiers, tore cloth into bandages to aid physicians, and comforted the wounded after Confederate troops overran her hometown.

In addition to the figures, the exhibit also features several artifacts that illustrate Pennsylvania’s role on both the battlefield and the home front, including:

• A Civil War-era cannon ball cut in half to show its cross-section along with a Civil War-era Enfield rifle.
• Civil War paper cartridges and a collection of minie balls similar to what was created at the Allegheny Arsenal.
• A print Memorial to Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. Company G, 11th Regiment.(Westmoreland County Historical Society)
• A Pennsylvania 1st Cap (Westmoreland County Historical Society)
• Several Civil War Era Gowns (Westmoreland County Historical Society)
• Portrait of Col. Thomas Foster Gallagher (Westmoreland County Historical Society)
• Assorted memorabilia from Rev. Emmeran Bliemel, O.S.B., the only Catholic chaplain to be killed in the Civil War
• 1963 Goody’s Ladies Book
• A photograph of the coverlet that adorned Abraham Lincoln’s Deathbed From the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the Allen County Public Library and Indiana State Museum)

The exhibit will cover a variety of topics, all told from a Western Pa. perspective. Issues related to slavery, the efforts on the home front, the importance of women, the role of Pittsburgh as the “Arsenal of the Union,” and the impact of the Battle of Gettysburg will be addressed.

The Civil War in Pennsylvania exhibit is based on recent scholarship developed out of the statewide Pa. Civil War 150 collaboration. Noted American historians, including Ed Ayres, William Blair, James Horton, and Elizabeth Leonard, have participated in all phases of the statewide efforts.

This project is supported jointly by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation.

The Coverlet Casualty, curated by Saint Vincent College Senior Emily Davis, will explore how the Civil War damaged the hand-woven coverlet industry that existed to the point where it would never fully recover. Weavers experienced the war in different ways, some making blankets for soldiers and others fighting in it. Their lives and the coverlets made during this time show a different approach to understanding life during the war.


The Gallery is open from noon until 4pm Tuesday through Friday and Wednesday evening

from 6:30pm to 8pm.

Additional hours are available by appointment.

The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery

Welcome to the McCarl Gallery, part of the Saint Vincent campus in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The Gallery, featuring the McCarl Coverlet Collection, is located on the lower floor of the Fred Rogers Center.

The McCarl Coverlet collection is comprised of over 400 “figured and fancy” jacquard woven bed weavings. Most of the coverlets in the McCarl collection originated in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Maryland. The McCarl Gallery also houses several coverlets from Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, and Tennesse. The bulk of the collection dates from 1820-1860.

Please visit frequently for news on the gallery, programs, photos, and more.  





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 Westmoreland County, PA,  Schedule your visit today!


Check Out Our New Book!

  • The Winter Blues

    The McCarl Coverlet Collection is made up of a colorful assortment of textiles woven by weavers of many different traditions and backgrounds. Weavers from England, Ireland, and Scotland created coverlets woven in a double weave style. This technique featured two sets of warps woven together to create two pieces of cloth joined together. They were generally woven with blue and white threads. This technique was not unanimously used by weavers from these regions, as you will see throughout the book, but it does dominate weavings from these regions.

 Our students have created a blog about various aspects of the Coverlet Gallery. Check it out!