The Handmaiden Of The Quilt
Gentle readers, with the author's permission, I am posting a late comment to last month's post regarding the NY Times article about the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Gert McMullin is the "Handmaiden Of The Quilt", the person directly responsible for its maintenance, repair, and upkeep. Here's her beautiful and touching message:
Joe, the following is in response to some of your readers:JMG: "They are all my boys." Tissues all around, gentle readers? Please consider sending Gert McMullin a message of support and thanks for her dedication and hard work in keep our history alive: firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, help our Handmaiden do her job by making a contribution to the NAMES Project. Pictured below: Gert cares for her boys.
Yes, the entire QUILT has been archived and cataloged. This happens as soon as each 12x12 is sewn together. And to clear things up for some of your readers....all fabric will show its age with time. Any museum can tell you this. We do the best we can while taking into consideration that this QUILT was made to fight AIDS, not to be put behind glass in a museum. Yes it is on shelves in Atlanta....just as it was on shelves in San Francisco.
It does not sit and rot on those shelves. That would happen "over my dead body". We do many displays each year. Would we like to do more? Without a question, YES. But, unfortunately the solution to that is what we are sometimes lacking in, and that's funding.
The QUILT is loved and cared for as it has always been. Hundreds of my dear beloved friends lay on those shelves. I care for them every day. They are all my boys. They are safe. They are not rotting. They are not sitting in storage. They are loved.
Remember not everything you read in the paper is always accurate. Sometimes a simple phone call (or if you are nearby) a visit to our warehouse would ease these rumors. We are open 7 days a week for people to visit and/or view panels they have made for the QUILT. We welcome everyone.
Handmaiden of the QUILT
The NAMES Project
AIDS Memorial QUILT