Samplers are not just another pretty doily.

This evening beginning at 5:30 p.m. the Martha’s Vineyard Museum will host an event entitled Behold the Needle: Samplers in the Education of Schoolgirls in the 18th and 19th Centuries that gives an in-depth look at the remarkable history and uses of samplers in the not too distant past.

In addition to building needlework skills, samplers were once used as practical teaching tools for learning numbers and letters.

Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins, former Chief Curator of the Allentown Art Museum, will give the lecture. Dr. Atkins has written and lectured extensively on 19th-century American needlework and quilt history, American folk art and Japanese textile history and quilts. She holds MA and BS degrees from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the Bard Graduate Center. In addition to her work for the Allentown Art Museum, she is currently working on projects for the Boston Museum of Fine Art and the Fenimore Art Museum in Coopers-town, New York.

Dr. Atkins will use illustrations of samplers and other needlework from Pennsylvania, New York and New England. She will also reference Vineyard samplers currently on display in the Museum’s exhibit, When This You See, Remember Me.

Admission for the event is $8 for members and for $12 for nonmembers.

For more details on this and other museum events and exhibits, visit