Some quilts are too fragile to display over a long term in an exhibition, but are still vital to Alabama history and the legacy of quilters.
Within Southern communities both white and black, a tradition of "friendship quilting" has existed for many generations. These quilts were created communally, and are also sometimes called "sampler quilts" because they are composed of "sample" squares contributed by a group of quilt makers. The earliest traditions were grounded in shared labor–the makers would go to one another's homes, help to piece squares for the homeowner's quilt, and then eventually return to quilt the resulting top. Through that practice, each member of the community's circle would acquire a new quilt through the cooperative.
In subsequent generations this communal effort was often centered in organizations or community centers such as churches. The 1917 quilt made in Brundidge, Alabama, was a co-operative effort to raise funds for a local church, made by a group known as the "Sunbeams." Each of the squares carries the name of a member of the group and notes the funds raised by that member. The member that raised the most funds was gifted the quilt. The Underground Railroad (Under the Stars) quilt, 1994, was made by the Senior Citizens group of the Elizabeth Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The quilt may have been made as a means of raising funds, but potentially it was also simply a group activity for fellowship. This quilt design reverses the usual practice of piecing colored fabrics or patterned fabrics over a solid, single colored ground. In this case, the group of layered solid blue and red creates shapes over a solid ground of fabric printed with tiny flowers.