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Open Content Program

The Birmingham Museum of art makes available digital images of works in the Museum’s collection believed to be in the public domain. Images are available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial. Users do not need to contact the Museum for authorization to use these images. They are available through the Online Collection at artsbma.org/collection. See detailed instructions for specific work types below.

Identifying Open Content Images

The mission of the Birmingham Museum of Art is to spark the creativity, imagination, and liveliness of Birmingham by connecting all its citizens to the experience, meaning, and joy of art. The Museum understands that by sharing images of works online without restrictions, the BMA collection becomes more accessible to a larger audience.

For objects with images the rights status is displayed in the “credit line” section of the object information. The rights status or rights holder will be indicated. If the work is in the public domain and/or the image may be downloaded, the download icon will appear in the bottom right corner of the image area. To search the collection click here.

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For copyright-protected images that have been approved by copyright holders, a presentation-sized image is available, but can not be downloaded. A copyright statement clearly listing the name of the copyright holder is visible in the credit line area when the image is displayed. Thumbnail-sized images of copyrighted works are displayed under fair use.

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Credit/Citations

Please use the following source credit when reproducing an Open Content image: Courtesy Birmingham Museum of Art, followed by the credit line provided in the object description.

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Open Content Program
Digital Media Department
The Birmingham Museum of Art
2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd
Birmingham, AL 35203

Disclaimer

  • If an image is not available under Open Content it may be because the work is still under copyright, the work is not owned by the museum, or the work has not yet been photographed to BMA standards.
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Album Quilt

Mt. Hebron community, Greene County, Alabama

1858

Stylistically, this type of quilt is inspired by or modeled on the Baltimore Album Quilts which were particularly popular between 1845 and 1855. The quilts were made as presentation pieces for brides, ministers or prominent members of the community. Each block is signed with the name of the maker, or, if the individual was not particularly skilled with a needle, they could have someone else make their block. The Sardis Methodist Church was the social center for members of this community in the mid-19th century, and this quilt may have been made for the minister of that church or to raise money for a church project. Of the forty-one signed blocks, twenty one are signed by men and twelve by women. Considering the large number of men identified on this quilt, it is unlikely all of them stitched their own block and more likely they gave money to the project in return for someone making their block. The quilt is finely made with simple yet elegant and even quilting in the diamond pattern. The binding securing the edges is a separate piece of fabric, a procedure requiring twice the amount of stitching than lapping the backing over the edges. Each block carries a different design, most of the plants found in the Deep South—pecan, pear, fig, sassafras, sweet gum and watermelon—the Tree of Knowledge near the top, which also includes a calico serpent. The American Flag is rarely a reliable way to date a quilt and is more often used decoratively. In this case the handsome flag fluttering at the center has eleven stripes rather than its thirteen, and instead of the thirty-two stars it should have for an 1858 flag, it has thirty.