History and Description of State and Regional
In 1981, The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc. initiated
the first statewide quilt documentation project. Individuals across
the state brought quilts from closets, beds, and trunks to schools,
museums, and other public places where the quilts were photographed,
quilt owners told stories (sometimes tape-recorded) about these quilts,
and detailed information on the quilt's maker, history, fabric, style,
and construction was recorded on research inventory forms. The Kentucky
model for quilt documentation quickly spread across the country and,
by 1995, a survey conducted by the Museum of the American Quilters'
Society found that 47 states had one or more documentation projects
underway. Individuals based in museums, historical societies, or arts
councils led some of these projects; others were led wholly by groups
established for the specific purpose of conducting the documentation
project. In all cases, the projects relied on hundreds of volunteers
and, by 1995, the projects collectively had resulted in massive amounts
of collected data on more than 165,000 quilts.
History and Description of the Michigan
Quilt Project (MQP)
Michigan began its own inventory in 1984 under the direction
of the Michigan State University Museum and continues today with the
dedicated participation of volunteers throughout the state. The goal
was simply to document quilts--regardless of age, technique, or original
provenance-that had meaning to a Michigander or Michigan organization.
Since the Michigan Quilt Project (MQP) began, over 75 Quilt Discovery
Days have been held at libraries, museums, extension offices, churches,
and other locations throughout the state. Special efforts were made
during 1986 to record quilting in the Upper Peninsula and African American
quilting, both traditions that were under-represented in the first year
of the project.
Sarah Stollack (right) interviews quiltmaker Mary Calhoun (center) while MSU student
Katy Donaldson (left) takes notes. At the Michigan Quilt Project's Quilt Documentation
Day on National Quilt Day, March 13, 2001. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong.
The Michigan Quilt Project Collection
The Michigan Quilt Project (MQP) Collection consists
of photographs, oral history interviews, over 9000 quilt inventory forms,
and ephemera associated with the state's quilt documentation project.
Housed at the Michigan State University Museum, the collection serves
as an important source of data for research, education, and exhibitions
projects.The Michigan Quilt Project Collection provided the data for
an initial survey exhibition and accompanying publication, Michigan
Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition (1987) as well as
an array of other interpretive exhibitions, educational programs, and
scholarly studies, including those on specific quilters or quilting
groups, regional variations in patterns or quilt-related activities,
the impact of local media or fairs on quilt production, and the quilting
history of specific regions, religious groups, ethnic groups, or other
communities. The activities associated with the Michigan Quilt Project
documentation project led to the establishment of what is now known
as the Great Lakes Quilt Center, based at the Michigan State University
Museum. In 2001, the Center joined with The Alliance for American Quilts
as a Regional Center for the Quilt.
the MQP in The Quilt Index
a quilt in the Michigan Quilt Project Inventory
Print a PDF MQP Inventory
Download a MQP form in MS Word
The Quilt Index
The Michigan Quilt Project Collection is one of ten
collections across the nation to be part of the landmark The
Quilt Index, an online resource which provides central, searchable
access to more than 21,000 quilts. The Quilt Index was conceived and
developed by The
Alliance for American Quilts in partnership with Michigan State
University Museum/Great Lakes Quilt Center and MATRIX:
The Center for Humane Arts and Letters Online, at Michigan State
University. Funding for the initial development and deployment of the
Index was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Quilts and Health is a research project by the Michigan State University Museum. Quilts related to health issues are being uploaded to the Quilt Index. If you have a health related quilt you would like to see in the Quilt Index, you can find the forms here. The form has two options, one is to print (if you prefer documenting with paper and pencil). The other form is for folks who like to use their computer to document (-to fill). Remember to send nice pictures of your creations when you send the form.
Quilts and Health form-to print.pdf
Quilts and Health form-to fill.pdf