Quilt museum shares collection, knowledge online

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Quilt museum shares collection, knowledge online

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum expanded its global reach by launching a new digital project in December. With more than 4,000 quilts in its collection — too many to show in any physical gallery — the museum now shares its quilts and their historical and cultural contexts with visitors virtually.

World Quilts,” a website that offers a global perspective on quiltmaking, launched “The American Story,” its first module. The website showcases the museum’s collection and hallmark scholarly perspective on the worldwide significance of quilts and quiltmaking.

“We’ve created a clearinghouse of accurate and engaging information about American quilt history by using our unparalleled collection, our more than 15 years of scholarly research, our existing online resources and the resources of other important organizations, such as the American Quilt Study Group, the Quilt Index and the Quilt Alliance,” said Marin Hanson, curator of exhibitions and co-editor of the project.

The website moves existing quilt studies scholarship beyond disciplinary boundaries to integrate quilts within a broader art and humanities context. It serves as an excellent starting place for anyone who wants to learn about the role of quilts in American society, past and present, Hanson said.

“This new website promises to be an important resource for all who desire to learn about quilts — whether they are students, teachers, quilt makers, dealers, appraisers or conservators,” said Lynne Z. Bassett, costume and textile historian. “I am very glad to have this resource not only for my own education, but to point out to those who come to me for information about American quilts.”

“The American Story” also offers a platform for the museum to share new information as it becomes available, making it a dynamic resource. Future modules are slated to cover other regions of the world.

“Whether you’re a quilt history buff like me, or know very little about American quilts, you’ll find riches on every page of the beautiful new website,” said Marianne Fons, co-host of “Love of Quilting” on public television and co-founding editor of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine. “Wonderful visuals, solid, entertaining content and links to fascinating extras create a trip around the patchwork globe every quilt enthusiast should take.”

Funding from the Robert and Ardis James Foundation supported the project. Additional support was provided by the College of Education and Human Sciences, the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, and quilt museum staff.

For more information, go to http://worldquilts.quiltstudy.org/americanstory.

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