Quilt Index

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The Quilt Index is a searchable database for scholars, quilters and educators featuring over 50,000 quilts from documentation projects, museums, libraries, and private collections. It also has quilt-related ephemera and curated essays and lesson plans for teachers.


The overall collection includes quilts made from the early nineteenth century to the twenty-first century, representing a wide range of quilting styles, techniques, purposes and functions.

Users can browse for quilts based on their time period, location of origin, style, purpose, or by the collection in which they are now housed, or search for specific quilts by a variety of metadata, including pattern, quilter and identification number.

List of contributing partners[edit]

Collections, essays and exhibits[edit]

Although the Quilt Index is not an actual museum site with in-house collections, the Index does have online exhibitions which highlight works in its digital collection. These include:


The Quilt Index Wiki which became live in August 2008, is a collaborative, user-generated tool for quilters and quilt scholars featuring information about state and provincial quilt documentation projects, including publication lists and locations where records are housed. The wiki also provides an expanding directory of museums with quilt collections, and information about those collections. Users can also add information about local, regional and national oral history projects relating to quilt history to the wiki. The wiki is powered by MediaWiki software. Although not fully WYSIWYG, instructions for editing the wiki are available on its main page.

Conference presentations[edit]

  • Justine Richardson, Dean Rehberger, Marsha MacDowell, Amanda Sikarskie, Mary Worrall, "The Quilt Index Goes 2.0: A Fiberspace Case Study," Presented: April 16, 2009, at Museums and the Web 2009.
  • Marsha MacDowell and Mary Worrall, "The Quilt Index: Documenting and Accessing an American Art," poster session, College Art Association, Los Angeles, accepted for presentation in February 2009.
  • Mark Kornbluh, The Quilt Index: Online Tools and Ephemera Expansion, Let's Do I.t. RIght! Museum Computer Network 36th Annual Conference Program, Washington, D.C., November 14, 2008.
  • Marsha MacDowell, "The Quilt Index and Quilt Treasures: New Tools for American Art and Art History Research and Education," Department of Art and Art History Faculty Lecture Series, November 11, 2008.
  • Mary Worrall. "Documenting Quilting Traditions: Sharing Stories and Stitches." Michigan Oral History Association. Rogers City, Michigan, November 2008.
  • Marsha MacDowell, "The Quilt Index: A Tool for Preservation, Collection Management, Education, and Research," Cooperstown Graduate Association, Cooperstown, NY, Oct. 4, 2008.
  • Mary Worrall, Marsha MacDowell and Justine Richardson. "The Quilt Index: Communicating Stories in the Stitches." Textile Society of America Biennial Symposium. Honolulu, Hawaii, September 2008.
  • Mary Worrall, “Textiles and Technology: The Quilt Index as a National Model for Online Thematic Collections,” Michigan Museums Association, Flint, MI, 2006.
  • Mary Worrall, “Piecing History: Quilt Documentation and the Quilt Index,” Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL, 2006.
  • Marsha MacDowell, Mary Worrall, Patricia Crews, Jennifer Gilbert, Justine Richardson, “Stitching Data: The Quilt Index as a National Model for Online Thematic Collections Session,” American Association of Museums Annual Meeting and Expo, Boston, MA, April 29, 2006.



The Alliance for American Quilts (AAQ), MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online and Michigan State University Museum present the Quilt Index. Michigan State University staff members lead project work, in consultation with AAQ, the Quilt Index Task Force, the Quilt Index Editorial Board, and representatives from each contributor.

The project has been supported by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Copyright issues[edit]

Contributors to the Quilt Index retain copyright to their contributions of data (both text and images), and agree to permanently license these contributions to the Quilt Index to display on the website for educational purposes.

External links[edit]