a middle-aged woman in a black blazer and flora patterned shirt smile at the camera while standing in a marble staircase
Contact Information:
(517) 432-4118

Mary Worrall

Director of Collections

Research Interests/Experience:

Mary Worrall is Curator of Textiles and Social Justice at the Michigan State University Museum. Her research interests include quilts and quiltmakers, dress, women’s history, and craftivism. Worrall works with developing and managing exhibition, research, collections, and educational programs. She has served on the Board of Directors of The Quilt Alliance and the American Quilt Study Group.

Selected Publications

  • “Curating Craftivism and Rethinking Collection(s).” In Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Anti-Trump Pussyhat Co-author with S. Wajda. H. Mandell (editor). Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. (forthcoming, 2019)
  • Quilts and Human Rights. Co-author with M. MacDowell, L. Swanson, and B. Donaldson. University of Nebraska Press. (2016)
  • Worrall, Mary. 2016. “The Quilt Index: Building an International Resource.” In M. MacDowell and L. Zheng. eds. Quilts of Southwest China. Nanning, China: Guangxi Nationalities Museum. (2016)
  • “The Stories that Quilts Tell Us: Quilts at the Michigan State University Museum.” Co-author with M. MacDowell and B. Donaldson. Handi Crafts. (2014)
  • “Quilted Together: How a Digital Repository of Thematic Collections is Enhancing Material Culture Pedagogy.” Co-author with M. MacDowell, J. Richardson, A. Sikarskie, and S. Cohen. Winterthur Portfolio(2013)
  • “Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America.” Co-Author with M. MacDowell. In Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21stCentury America. (2012)
  • “The Quilt Index: From Preservation and Access to Co-Creation of Knowledge.” Co-authored with M. MacDowell, J. Richardson, and A. Sikarskie. New Directions in Folklore, (2011)
  • The Quilt Index Goes 2.0: A Fiberspace Case Study” (with M. MacDowell, J. Richardson, D. Rehberger, and A. Sikarskie) In Museums and the Web 2009, 2009.
  • “The Quilt Index: Communicating Stories in the Stitches.” Co-author with M. MacDowell and J. Richardson. Proceedings of the Textile Society of America Biennial Symposium, 2008.
  • “Mary Schafer: A Legacy of Quilt History.” Australian Patchwork and Quilting 15, no. 4 (2007).
  • “The K.K.K. Fundraising Quilt of Chicora, Michigan.” Co-author with M. MacDowell and C. Quinney. Uncoverings 27 (2006).
  • “Catalogue” Co-author with M. MacDowell, and B. Donaldson. In American Quilts from Michigan State University Museum, ed. Marsha MacDowell. Tokyo, Japan: Kokusai Art, (2003).
  • “Family Quilt Collections” (with L. Swanson), “Collections By Collectors” (with L. Swanson), and “Projects” (with B. Donaldson). In Great Lakes, Great Quilts, M. MacDowell. Lafayette, California: C&T Publishing, 2001.

Selected Exhibitions

  • “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” (2019, co-curator)
  • “Claiming Their Bodies: Women’s Sportswear in the 1910s” (2019, curator)
  • “Under One Sky: Global Connections in an Adire Quilt” (2018, curator)
  • “Knitting the Resistance” (2017, co-curator)
  • “Quilted Conversations: Materializing Civil and Human Rights” (2017, co-curator)
  • “Student Voices: MSU Student Protests” (2016, curator)
  • “Up Cloche: Fashion, Feminism, Modernity” (2016, co-curator)
  • “Quilts of Southwest China” (2015, exhibit team)
  • “Growing Up Digital in Michigan and Morocco” (2014, co-curator)
  • “Ralli Quilts” (2014, co-curator)
  • “Ruby Bridges, Brown v. Board of Education, and the Greater Lansing Sites of Conscience Project” (2014, co-curator)
  • “Materializing Mandela’s Legacy” (2013, co-curator)
  • “VOICE” (2013, co-curator)
  • “The Ritzenhein and Wilensky Collection” (2013, curator)
  • “Patterns of Inquiry: Quilts in Research and Education” (2012, curator)
  • “U.S. Quilts in China” (2012, co-curator)
  • “Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An African American Quilt Scholar”(2009, co-curator)
  • “Threads of Change: The Transformation of West African Textiles” (2009, co-project manager)
  • “Redwork: A Textile Tradition in America” (2007, curator)
  • “Quilts and Human Rights” (2008, co-curator)
  • “Quilts Old and New: Reproductions from the Great Lakes Quilt Center” (2003, curator)
  • “Mary Schafer: A Legacy of Quilt History” (2001, curator)


M.A., Art History, specializing in American Art prior to 1940
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A. Public History, Western Michigan University
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