Michigan State University masthead
Top Navigation
about tes  |  available exhibits  |  upcoming schedule  |  funding resources  view exhibits online
Quilts and Textiles

To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions
(Interpretive Panel Version)

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. This interpretive panel version is designed for lower security venues which are unable to accommodate either of the larger exhibitions. If a secure environment is provided, a quilt may also be made available for loan.


No current bookings. This exhibit is available.

This exhibition has been displayed at the following sites: Akwesasne Museum, Hogansburg, NY; DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Auburn Hills, MI; Dubois Annual Quilt Festival, Dubois, WY; and Montcalm Community College, Sidney, MI.

  Rental fee (8-week period): $1,500, plus shipping
  Number of pieces: 16
  Running feet required: 850 square feet, plus 200 linear feet of wall space
  Insurance Value: $30,000
  Security requirement: 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: Press materials.

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.

Photo of a Lakota Quilter stitching star blocks.

PICTURED: An unidentified Lakota quilter works on a patchwork quilt with Star blocks. Photo courtesy of Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum.















Museum Logo

Top Navigation