National Quilt Museum

 

the museum dedicated to showcasing the work of contemporary quilters, was founded in Paducah, Kentucky, in 1990 by Bill and Meredith Schroeder, also of Paducah, as anoutgrowth of their involvement in and activities with the American Quilter’s Society (AQS). The Schroeders had founded the AQS as a division of their publishingcompany, Schroeder Publishing, after they became interested in contemporary quilting in 1983. AQS sponsored the first annual AQS Quilt Show and Contest inPaducah in 1985, and the first issue of American Quilter, the AQS magazine, was published that same year. The top awards at the annual AQS show wereestablished as purchase awards, and these, along with other quilts that the Schroeders had acquired, formed the basis of a strong contemporary collection. The idea of a museum dedicated to contemporary quilts and the people who made them grew as a result of the Schroeders’ desire to share this collection with a larger audience.The Museum of the American Quilter’s Society, established as a nonprofit corporation governed by its own board of directors, opened its doors in 1991 with an initialcollection of nearly eighty-five quilts on loan from the museum’s founders.The mission of the museum is to “educate the local, national, and international public about the art, history, and heritage of quilt making, including the diversity of quilts and their makers.” The museum carries out this mission through exhibitions of contemporary and antique quilts as well as related archival materials drawn from thecollection and from other sources, and through workshops, lectures, conferences, and other events, and through a wide range of publications.Since it was founded, the museum has continued to develop its activities and expand its collection, which currently includes more than two hundred quilts, the work of more than 162 quiltmakers. The works in the permanent collection were made from 1980 on, and, as a group, they serve as a document of quiltmaking from the1980s to the present. Since 1993, the museum has also included art quilts, both in exhibitions and as part of its collection. The core of the collection includes quiltsdonated by the Schroeders, as well as the AQS Quilt Show and Contest purchase-award winners, which were donated through the American Quilter’s Society.Donations from quiltmakers, other collectors, and purchased pieces make up the remainder of the museum’s inspiring collection.

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