Skip to Content

Day With(out) Art at the Michigan State University Museum

On Dec. 1, Michigan State University Museum joins thousands of individuals and educational, health, and cultural organizations around the world to mark World AIDS Day. In observance of the day, the MSU Museum will display two NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt blocks.
Established in 1987, The NAMES Project Foundation is the international organization that is the custodian of The AIDS Memorial Quilt. The AIDS Memorial Quilt began with a single 3 x 6 foot panel created in San Francisco in 1987. Today, The Quilt is composed of more than 48,000 individual 3 x 6 foot panels, each one commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS. These panels come from every state in the nation, every corner of the globe, and they have been sewn by hundreds of thousands of friends, lovers, and family members into this epic memorial, the largest piece of ongoing community art in the world.
By revealing the humanity behind the statistics, The AIDS Memorial Quilt helps teach compassion, triumphs over taboo, stigma and phobia; and inspires individuals to take direct responsibility for their own well being and that of their family, friends and, community.
Julie Rhoad, executive director of The NAMES Project Foundation explains, “We are thrilled to have the chance to share The AIDS Memorial Quilt with your community. These handmade blocks, created by friends and family, tell the stories of individuals who have lost their lives to AIDS. We bring you their stories in the hope of inspiring compassion, healing and personal responsibility. We thank the MSU Museum for hosting this event and we invite you all out to see what wonderful art we have created together as a nation.”
Sections are continuously on display across the country in schools, churches, community centers, businesses, corporations and a variety of other institutional settings all in the hope of making the realities of HIV and AIDS real, human and immediate. To date, more than15 million people have seen The AIDS Memorial Quilt at tens of thousands of display throughout the world. Researchers have also developed a new web site and digital app (see: to create more access to the moving memorials in this now iconic and monumental quilt.
The Michigan State University Museum has become known as a center of quilt-related scholarly and educational activities, including the Quilt Index (, an online tool for centralized public access to quilt and quilt-related materials. Thousands of museums and galleries have joined forces with World AIDS Day, creating a national movement on Dec. 1 called Day With(out) Art, featuring special displays. Typically museums drape an object on display to symbolize the impact, loss and mourning from the AIDS crisis.
View blocks from The AIDS Memorial Quilt in the MSU Museum's Entry Hall Dec. 1 – 6.