Quilt museum’s new name reflects growing global reach
For more than a decade, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum has delighted visitors from around the world with its global collection and exhibitions. Now, it has a new name: the International Quilt Museum.
“With our collection and exhibitions reaching a larger and broader audience around the world, we have found people most often refer to us by a moniker — International Quilt Museum,” said Leslie C. Levy, executive director. “Our visitors, partners and supporters agree the name is memorable and easy to recall. It more truly reflects who we are.”
The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the name change for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln museum during its March 29 meeting.
The name change represents the museum’s mission to build a global collection and audience that celebrate the cultural and artistic significance of quilts. A proud part of the University of Nebraska community, the International Quilt Museum collaborates with departments across disciplines as well as individuals and myriad organizations in local and international communities.
Current and upcoming exhibitions reflect the breadth of its collection and its partnerships with artists, scholars and others around the world. “Collecting and Recollecting: Contemporary Quilts in Western India” is on display at the museum through Aug. 18. It shows quilts and research acquired in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka through collaborations with scholars and researchers. On Sept. 6, the museum will open an exhibition featuring some of the earliest and rarest quilts in the collection. “Old World Quilts” will illustrate the quilts’ significance to quilt history through shared design elements and materials.
Other exhibitions will include work from artists and makers Emiko Toda Loeb, Rumi O’Brien, Diana Harrison and Nancy Crow.
In August, the museum will have an exhibition of Baltimore Album quilts at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. This international quilt exposition draws more than 26,000 attendees annually from around the world.
The museum will also hold a forthcoming conference in partnership with the American Quilt Study Group. “Uncovering Together,” Oct. 9-13 in Lincoln, will celebrate the study group’s 40th anniversary as well as the museum’s collection, which spans five centuries and represents more than 50 countries.
The museum will also continue to develop and build modules for its World Quilts website. Designed as a virtual clearinghouse of quilt research, the site already includes modules for “The American Story,” “The Amish Story” and “The Central Asian Story.” Its fourth module, “The Crazy Quilt Story,” will launch this summer and show the connections between quiltmaking in the United Kingdom and United States through this phenomenon in the late 1800s.
In 1997, the university established the International Quilt Study Center with a focus on research and collection. In 2008, that purpose expanded to include a world-class museum with exhibitions and programs drawing from that foundation. The museum doubled its gallery spaces and collections storage with an expansion that opened in 2015, built with financial support from the Robert and Ardis James Foundation.
“We are proud of our history and all we have achieved the past 22 years to develop a collection, exhibitions and programs for visitors of all ages and interests,” Levy said. “Without our roots as a study center, we wouldn't be able to seize the opportunities that are before us today. Those roots keep us grounded, while also giving us the chance to grow. The International Quilt Museum is committed to building on that growth as we serve our local and global audiences by celebrating the cultural and artistic significance of quilts.”