Last week I wrote about traipsing through the countryside to enjoy barn quilts (and lots of readers added comments about barn quilts near them—be sure to check them out for barn quilts near you). This week I’m still thinking about quilts and vacation, but this time it’s quilt museums. Whether you make the museum your final destination or just stop on your way to visit the relatives, there are plenty of opportunities to see quilts around the country. Check the museum’s websites and Facebook pages for information on hours and days of operation—some close for holidays and to install exhibitions. And if you’re not able to visit in person, many of the museums offer great online collections for your perusing pleasure. Talk about inspiration!
Here’s a round-up of a few of the museums dedicated to traditional quilts, contemporary quilts, and art quilts:
The International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska
Established with a donation of 1,000 quilts in 1997, the International Quilt Study Center (IQSC) moved into its current quarters (the building above) in 2008. Just this month they opened additional gallery space, meaning there’s even more to see. Quilt exhibitions this summer include Getting to Know You, Ambiguity and Enigma: Recent Quilts by Michael James, Covering the War, and Reflections of the Exotic East in American Quilts.
If you’re not sure how soon you’ll get to the IQSC, sign up for their Quilt of the Month: you’ll get an email highlighting an outstanding quilt from their collection. Need more inspiration? Look back at their archived Quilts of the Month—gorgeous!
Texas Quilt Museum in LaGrange, Texas
You may remember reading about this museum in January because it’s the beneficiary of Moda’s Collections for a Cause Mill Book Series 1892 line of fabric. This link will take you back to the post to learn more about the museum’s history. The museum’s summer offerings (which open on July 2) include Intuitive Symmetry: Works on Silk by Judith Content, Kimono Quilts and Kimonos, and Antique Four-Poster Quilts.
National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky
Exhibitions at this renowned museum change 8 to 10 times a year. This summer you can see SAQA: Food for Thought (through July 8), A Tradition of Variations from the Pilgrim/Roy Collection (through August 17), and A Small Miracle of a Southern Island: Quilts of Caohagan (opening July 10). To Honor and Comfort: Quilts of Valor will open August 20.
San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, California
This museum opened in 1977 and its website says it is “the first museum in the United States to focus exclusively on quilts and textiles as an art form.” Several exhibitions at this west coast museum close July 5 and the museum is closed from July 6-9 to install the next, exhibitions that include Found/Made, an exhibition of quilts made from found materials curated by Rod Kiracofe, author of Unconventional and Unexpected , and Recycled, Up-cycled, Repurposed Clothing Design: A Slow Fashion Movement (opening July 11).
LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum in LaConner, Washington
Located in the Gaches Mansion, this museum first opened in 1997. Though it’s in a historic building and its first floor includes Victorian furniture, upstairs galleries include exhibitions of contemporary quilts. Several exhibits close June 28, but opening July 1 are 30 Quilts for 30 Years: Carol Bryer Fallert-Gentry, Celebrating 20 Years of Art, and Creative Knitting. Weaving Willow opens August 5.
New England Quilt Museum in Lowell Massachusetts
This museum opened in 1987 and is located in a building constructed in 1845 as the Lowell Institute for Savings. Through July 26, this museum offers Seasonal Palette, by 37 international quilt artists. AQSG’s Civil War Era Quilts opens July 1, A Summer Celebration of New England Quilts starts July 28 and a Carol Bryer Fallert-Gentry retrospective opens August 20.
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg, Wisconsin
This museum is located on a 2.2 acre farmstead and its gallery and education center are in a refurbished barn. Through July 25 you can see In Stitches: Embroidery Needle Arts and then you can take in Second Fiber Arts Biennale: Wisconsin State of the Art (http://wiquiltmuseum.com/category/exhibits/upcoming-exhibits).
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado
This museum opened in 1990 with a gift of 101 quilts and has grown steadily.Exhibitions through July 28 include Gwen Marston: Contemporary Quilts and Native American Portraits by Patsy Heacox. Starting July 30 you can see It’s What We Do: 26 Years of Collecting and a 26th Anniversary Challenge.
The Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio
Although not exclusively devoted to quilts, this museum and education center hosted the first Quilt National in 1979. The show is the longest-running juried exhibition of art quilts in the country and takes place every other year. If you’re in the vicinity, you’re in luck because this is the year. Quilt National 2015 runs through Sept 7.
Other museums featuring quilts in their collections, include the Shelburne Museum; the DAR Museum; the Great Lakes Quilt Center, part of the Michigan State University Museum, the American Folk Art Museum.
Do you have a favorite quilt museum, or are there some I’ve missed? We’d love to hear!