Exhibition featuring Nebraska quilts, quiltmakers opens April 8

Apr 1st, 2011 | By | Category: Arts & Entertainment, March 31

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum presents the exhibition “Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers” from April 8 to Oct. 2. This exhibition of 15 quilts celebrates the work of the Nebraska Quilt Project team — pioneering individuals who preserved an invaluable record of life in our state, told through the history of cherished quilts.

Twenty-five years ago a dedicated group of 21 volunteers set out to document Nebraska quilts that remained in private hands, fearful that the rich heritage inherent in the family quilts would be lost forever if not documented. The Nebraska quilt project team, in numerous daylong events, collected information on 1,557 quiltmakers who made 3,216 quilts between 1870 and 1989.

Led by director Frankie Best, the group recorded family stories, photographed each quilt, and gathered background on the quiltmakers, including gender, occupation, ethnicity, religious background, education, and the occasion that prompted a quilt’s creation.

Shortly after the results of the state survey were published in the award-winning volume “Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers,” Ardis and Robert James began looking for a home for their outstanding collection of nearly 1,000 quilts. The book led the Jameses to donate their quilt collection to UNL, helping form the International Quilt Study Center.

The documentation and research begun by the Nebraska Quilt Project team paved the way for the formation of the IQSCM.

The museum today is home to a number of the quilts that were featured in the book “Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers.” The quilts were donated by individuals who were inspired by the survey project volunteers to recognize the importance of preserving their family quilt and its provenance.

For more information on the exhibit and the museum, go to www.quiltstudy.org or call (402) 472-6549.

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