Currently on Display

Woven Treasures: Baskets Old and New

Baskets were originally designed as multi-purpose vessels to carry and store materials and to keep stray items about the home. Multiple cultures developed techniques for making baskets dating back to 8000 BCE. Baskets are traditionally constructed from stiff fibers and can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints, whicker, reed, pine needles, and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehair, metal wire, and even plastic can be used. Traditional baskets are generally woven by hand.

The exhibit Woven Treasures: Baskets Old and New features a wide variety of both traditional and artistic. Several examples of the traditional Nantucket basket, tightly woven with rattan and cane from New England are on display, as well as several Gullah baskets made with sweetgrass from Charleston. The exhibit features a variety of baskets from the last 50 years, made by modern artists as well as traditional basket makers who were trained by their enslaved relatives.

One of the oldest baskets dates to the 1970s, crafted by a well-known black craftsman from Mecklenburg County, Leon Berry, who learned the trade from his grandfather, a former slave. Modern creations have been woven by Susan Brandenburg, a member of the Dreamweaver’s Guild.

Several programs are being planned with this exhibit that runs through April 1, 2023, including a program on Leon Berry scheduled for February 9, 2023, to be held at the Matthews Library. We are also hoping to schedule a basket-making workshop.

Carolina Snowflake woven by Susan Brandenburg

Guided Tours

To schedule a tour for school children, home-schoolers, or senior groups, please call the Museum at 704-708-4996. You can also contact the Museum regarding a tour by email: Reservations for a guided tour are necessary.

Matthews Heritage Museum
232 North Trade Street
Historic Downtown Matthews, NC

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