The International Quilt Study Center and Museum will soon showcase one of its recent acquisitions, a collection of quilts created to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Seven panels from “United in Memory 9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt” will be on display at the quilt center, 1523 N. 33rd St., from Aug. 26 through Oct. 9, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the attacks.
“We are proud and honored to provide a home for this historic collection,” said Leslie Levy, executive director of the quilt center. “The United in Memorial Quilt is an iconic reminder of a pivotal event in American history and it is important we preserve it for posterity.”
The quilt consists of more than 140 individual quilts or panels, which consist of 25 blocks. Each block is dedicated to a victim of the attacks. The total square footage of the quilt is more than 15,500 feet and, if laid end to end, it would cover more than five football fields. On account of its large size, only a selection of panels shows at any given time.
In addition to appearing at the quilt center this fall, 10 panels will be on display at the International Quilt Festival in Houston from Nov. 3-6. The world’s largest quilt expo, the festival typically draws more than 50,000 attendees during its run.
The “United in Memory 9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt” was created by a volunteer-based grassroots organization to keep the memories of the Sept. 11 victims alive. Corey Gammel and Peter Marquez of Long Beach, California, saw Ground Zero first-hand during a trip to New York City weeks after the attack. Based on this experience, they felt called to do something to help soothe the spiritual wounds of those affected.
After returning home from New York City, they founded United in Memory Memorial Quilt Inc. to create a memorial quilt that would serve as a lasting tribute similar to The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. They created a website and called on others to help them make the quilts. Blocks came in from across the country and around the world.
In May 2012, volunteers held workshops to assemble the blocks into panels. A group of about 40 women worked together that summer to create the panels.
The quilt center acquired the collection in September 2015.
“Quilts have always had the power of commemorating events, whether on a large scale or individual basis,” said Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections. “These are particularly important to document this significant, historic moment. They also bring to mind the individual lives that were lost. They are incredibly powerful for that reason.”
During the display at the quilt center, the museum will offer additional programming. For more information about the show and programs, click here.
The quilt center is located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus. It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. April through October.