Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions
here to see our on-line exhibition.
"If not for MSU [Museum's] work, most of our constituency
would not have had the opportunity to be exposed to such culturally
—Southwestern Michigan College Museum, Dowagiac, MI
"The spirit of the first people is being shown and shared
with us. They surely honor their culture."
"You can feel the history and stories behind the quilts."
"Nice representation of Native American Work. Something for
—Visitor comments, Southwestern Michigan College Museum, Dowagiac,
"Not only beautiful, but also very educational and informative
to our small native and non-native community here in Northeastern
—Forest County Potawatomi Historical/Cultural center and Museum,
"Makes me want to go to bed and cover up with a warm quilt."
"Loved every minute of looking at each and every beautiful
quilt here. Very glad we came."
"I had no idea of the richness of Native quilts. Thank you."
—Visitor comments, Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, Ontario,
Of the many North American Indian expressive art forms, perhaps
one of the least well known is quiltmaking. This exhibition
celebrates quilting within diverse communities and pays homage
to the artists who have expressed their cultural heritage
and creativity through this art. It examines how quilts and
quilting-the ceremonies surrounding them, the society of the
artists who make them, and the passing on of traditions through
quilts- bind neighbors and families within and across generations.
Quiltmaking in Native communities was first learned through
contact with Euro-Americans. Native peoples became adept at
quilting and began to use quilts for purposes unique to their
own cultures. Quilts have been used as bed and shelter coverings,
infants' swing cradles, weather insulation, and as soft places
to sit on the ground. In some communities, quilts play important
roles in tribal ceremonies, such as in the honoring of individuals
and as fund-raisers. Native quilters get their design ideas
from many sources. Some quilters use the design motifs of
their specific tribe or clan or use patterns and colors reflecting
close spiritual ties to the natural world.
To Honor and Comfort is a small version of the larger, national
touring exhibition of the same name, developed by the Michigan
State University Museum and the Smithsonian Institution's
National Museum of the American Indian. It is designed to
meet the needs of smaller institutions which cannot accommodate
the larger exhibition.
This exhibition has been displayed at the following sites:
Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center & Museum, Crandon,
WI; Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center, Chadron State
College, Chadron, NE; Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research
Center, Mashantucket, CT; Milwaukee County Historical Society,
Milwaukee, WI; Southern Ute Indian Cultural Center, Ignacio,
CO; Southwestern Michigan College Museum, Dowagiac, MI; Virginia
Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg, VA; Woodland Cultural Centre,
Brantford, Ontario, CANADA; and Comanche National Museum and Cultureal Center, Lawton, OK..
||Rental fee (12 week period)
|| $5,000, plus shipping
||Number of pieces:
||Running feet required:
||Lockable, limited access display area; trained guards or comparable protection system; provisions to prevent public from touching objects; object handling by museum professionals; temperature and light controls; fire protection according to local ordinances
||Additional materials available:
||Lectures; educational materials; related publications for resale; press materials. Text-panel-only version of exhibit available for lower price.
To Honor and Comfort: Native
Quilting Traditions and other merchandise is available
from the Michigan
Traditional Arts Program Store.
This traveling exhibition is a Michigan State University
Museum, Michigan Traditional Arts Program activity supported
by the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for
Arts and Cultural Affairs, Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund,
Jeffrey and Kitty Cole, and the MSU Office of the Provost.
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