About MTAP

Programs, Services & Events

Collections & Archives

Research

Exhibits

Info for Artists

Info for Educators

MTAP Store

Internships & Volunteer Opp.

What's New?

Links

Sponsors & Endowments

Contact Us

Site Info
Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
The Michigan State University Museum/
Great Lakes Quilt Center Collections



Researcher Kate Edgar and Assistant Curator Mary Worrall




Flying Geese
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa




Quilt Storage Cabinet

Michigan State University Museum hosts the Great Lakes Quilt Center dedicated to researching, documenting, preserving, and presenting quilt history. The museum holds one of the world's most significant quilt collections because of the diversity of its holdings, its rare and unique items, and discrete collections that represent key eras of quilting scholarship or are based on extensive ethnographic and archival research. In 1952, the first quilts were accessioned into the MSU Museum's collections when the MSU museum acquired the entire contents of another museum that was dismantled. Through subsequent donations from collectors and quilters and acquisitions based on research activities, the MSU Museum now holds more than 500 significant historical and contemporary quilts. Acquisitions have been supported in part by funds from three modest endowments, funds contributed by individuals and groups throughout Michigan, and, for special quilt research projects, the MSU Development Fund, the MSU Office of the Provost and MSU Office of Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. The quilt collections are housed in state-of-the-art rolled storage system in the museum's Cultural Collections Resource Center.

Unique Collections Include:
The Mary Schafer Quilt and Ephemera Collection
The Kitty Clark Cole Collection
The Merry and Albert J. Silber Collection
The Clarke Family Quilt Collection
The Durkee-Blakeslee-Quarton-Hoard Family Quilt Collection
The Michigan African-American Quilt Collection
The North American Indian and Native Hawaiian Quilt Collection
Deborah Harding Redwork Collection


Lone Star by Margaret David
Photo by Doug Elbinger




Trip Around the World, 1932, by Laura May Clarke and Bozema Clarke
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa

Unique and outstanding items in the collection include a signed, 1926 Ku Klux Klan fundraising quilt from Michigan,"The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue" quilt made in 1979 by "Seamsters Union Local #500" in Lawrence, Kansas, and "Star of Bethlehem" quilt made in 1912 by Mrs. Ogahmahgegedo, an Odawa quilter from Ahgosatown, Leelanau County, Michigan.

The museum also houses the Michigan Quilt Project files and the collections of materials (tape-recorded interviews, photos, field notes, patterns and other ephemera) generated by the center's research projects, including the national Quilters Save Our Stories (QSOS) and Quilt Treasures projects conducted in partnership with The Alliance for American Quilts. In addition, the center houses a room-use only library of over 1000 quilt and textile titles, including the Eve Boicourt collection. The quilts and supporting materials provide the basis for ongoing research projects that result in the development of publications, exhibitions, public programs, and media products. Activities are supported in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, earned revenue from quilt licensing projects, contributions from individuals and groups, and grants for special projects from the National Endowment for the Arts and other agencies.

NOTE: For more information on the activities of the Great Lakes Quilt Center/MSU Museum see http://museum.msu.edu/glqc/index.html

Primary Collectors/Fieldworkers:
Kitty Clark Cole, Merry and Albert Silber, Eve Boicourt, Deborah Harding, Marsha MacDowell, C. Kurt Dewhurst, Mary Schafer.

Collectors/Donors:
Kitty Clark Cole, Merry and Albert Silber, Harriet Clarke, Betty Quarton Hoard, Eve Boicourt, Deborah Harding, and numerous other donors.

Exhibitions:
"African American Quiltmaking in Michigan," Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, February 3 - September 29, 1991; Museum of African American History, Detroit, Michigan, November 1, 1991 - January 1, 1992; Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan February 23 - April 5, 1992; Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson, Michigan, January 14 - March 7, 1993.

"American Quilts from the Michigan State University Museum," Mitsukoshi Department Store, Tokyo, Japan, January 28 - February 9; Takashimaya Department Store Namba, Osaka, Japan, March 5 - 19; Mitsukoshi Department Store, Niigata, Japan, May 7 - 12; Mitsukoshi Department Store Station Museum, Kyoto, Japan, December 4 - 28, 2003.

"A Family Legacy: Quilts from the Clarke Collection," Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, June 6, 1993 - January 25, 1994; Michigan State Fair, Detroit, Michigan, August - September, 1994.

"Great Lakes Native Quilting," Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, September 19, 1999 - February 6, 2000; Sloan Museum, Flint, Michigan, September 14 - November 14, 2001, Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana, February 24, 2006 - April 23, 2006.

"The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History," Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, July 29 - December 31, 2001.

"The Michigan Quilt Project: New Discoveries," Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, July 29 - December 31, 2001.

"Michigan Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition," Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, September 13, 1987 - January 30, 1988; Kresge Art Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, September 12 - November 1, 1987; Michigan Historical Museum, Lansing, Michigan, September 13, 1987 - January 30, 1988.

"Michigan Quilt Project Blocks," Oakland County 4-H Fair Pioneer Tent, Davisburg, Michigan, July, 1997; Wolcott Mill Metropark, Shelby Township, Michigan, September 13 - 14, 1997; Oakland County 4-H Fair Pioneer Tent, Davisburg, Michigan, August, 1998; Wolcott Mill Metropark, Shelby Township, Michigan, October 15 - 18, 1999; Cameo Quilt Guild Quilt Show, International Academy, West Bloomfield, Michigan, October 14 - 15, 2000; Clinton-Macomb Public Library, Macomb Township, Michigan, March - April, 2002; Grand Rapids Girls School, Grand Rapids, Michigan, March, 2002; Troy Historical Museum, Troy, Michigan, July - October, 2002.

"Native American Quilts from the Southwest: Tradition, Creativity and Inspiration," Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, December, 1998 - March, 1999.

"Native Quilts from the Michigan State University Museum Collection," McCune Art Center, Petoskey, Michigan, October 5 - 31, 1998.

"MSU Museum Quilts," MSU Union in association with the American Quilt Study Group annual meeting, October 15-16, 1999.

"Quilting Sisters: African-American Quilting in Michigan," Krasl Art Center, St. Joseph, Michigan, January 13 - February 13, 2000; Port Huron Museum, Port Huron, Michigan, September 8 - October 21, 2001; Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, Michigan, June 22 - September 8, 2002.

"Quilts from the Michigan State University Museum Collection," Southwestern Michigan College Museum, Dowagiac, Michigan, June - September, 1995; Midland County Historical Society, Midland, Michigan, December 1, 1997 - January 25, 1998.

"The Quilts of Rosie Wilkins: Improvisational Quilting in the African American Tradition," Michigan Women's Historical Museum and Hall of Fame, Lansing, Michigan,. August 1 - September 24, 1989.

"Quilts from the Merry and Albert Silber Collection," Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, August 21 - November 13, 1988.

"Michigan Quilts," International Quilt Market and Festival, Chicago, Illinois, May 9-14, 1989.

"Heritage Quilts," Battle Creek Art Center, Battle Creek, Michigan, September 2-27, 1987.

"Quilts Old and New: Reproductions from the Great Lakes Quilt Center," Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, January 12 - August 17, 2003.

"Sisters of the Great Lakes: Art of American Indian Women," The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois, December 20, 1997 - July 5, 1998; Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center & Museum, Crandon, Wisconsin, September, 2000 - February, 2001; Fort Miami Heritage Society, St. Joseph, Michigan, May - September, 2002.

"To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions," (Large Version-SITES) National Museum of the American Indian, New York, New York, October 16, 1997 - January 4, 1998; Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, April 19 - October 18, 1998; Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, Massachusetts, March 13 - June 6, 1999; Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, Ohio, July 3 - September 26, 1999; Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana, October 23, 1999 - January 16, 2000; Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 12 - May 7, 2000; Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, Washington, June 3 - August 27, 2000; Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 23 - December 31, 2000; Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, January 13 - April 8, 2001.

"To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions," (Small Version) Southern Ute Indian Cultural Center, Ignacio, Colorado, October - December, 1999; Southwestern Michigan College Museum Dowagiac, Michigan, February 1 - March 25, 2000; Milwaukee County Historical Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September - December, 2000; Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center & Museum; Crandon, Wisconsin, February - May, 2001; Woodland Cultural Center, Brantford, Ontario, January 25 - April 28, 2002.

"To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions," (Interpretive Panel Version) Akwesasne Museum, Akwesasne, New York, July 31 - September 22, 2000; Dubois Annual Quilt Festival, Dubois, Wyoming, August 10-12, 2001.

Publications:
Marsha L. MacDowell, ed. African American Quiltmaking in Michigan. Michigan State University Press with the Michigan State University Museum, 1997.

Marsha MacDowell, ed. Great Lakes, Great Quilts from the Michigan State University Museum. Lafayette, California: C&T Publishing, Inc., 2001.

Marsha L. MacDowell and C. Kurt Dewhurst, eds. To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Museum of New Mexico Press in association with Michigan State University Museum, 1997.

Marsha MacDowell and Ruth D. Fitzgerald. Michigan Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1987.

Gwen Marston. Q is for Quilt: An ABC Quilt Pattern Book. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1987.

Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham. Mary Schafer and Her Quilts. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1990.

Lynne Swanson and Marsha MacDowell, eds. Quilts from the Albert and Merry Silber Collection. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1987.

Marsha MacDowell, "African-American Quiltmaking Traditions in Michigan," in Yvonne R. Lockwood and Ruth D. Fitzgerald, eds. 1992 Festival of Michigan Folklife. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1992.

Marsha MacDowell, "Quilting in Michigan's Thumb," in Yvonne R. Lockwood and Marsha MacDowell, eds. 1998 Michigan Folklife Annual. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1998. Marsha MacDowell, "To honour and comfort," in Quilters' Review, Winter 2001.

A. Christopher Carmichael, "Stitching to Heal and Remember: The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Michigan" in Yvonne R. Lockwood and Ruth D. Fitzgerald, eds. 1996 Michigan Folklife Annual. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1996.

Ruth D. Fitzgerald and Marsha MacDowell, "There's Good Money in Quilts," in Yvonne R. Lockwood and Ruth D. Fitzgerald, eds. 1988 Festival of Michigan Folklife. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1988.


--compiled by Lynne Swanson and Marsha MacDowell, 2003


Back to top of page




© 2003 Michigan State University, all rights reserved