Advanced digital technology is being used to assist in the study of historic needlework samplers. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $300,000 grant to develop an online digital repository and searchable database of images and descriptive information about American girlhood samplers and pictorial embroideries from the 17th through the 19th centuries. The project involves The Universities of Delaware and Oregon, the Sampler Consortium, and museums with significant sampler collections, including Winterthur in Delaware, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Washington, D.C., and the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence.
Experts on the team estimate that as many as 10,000 samplers still exist. They hope that in the future historical societies, art museums, and private collectors will contribute photos of their samplers to the archive.