Why You Should Visit the International Quilt Museum

Shows the Brett Hampton gallery exhibit with multiple quilt pieces displayed on the walls in a variety of colors in an open gallery space in the International Quilt Museum

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Annalisa Davenport

Located on the corner of N 33rd. and Holdrege Street right off East Campus you will find the International Quilt Museum!

In 1997, the International Quilt Study Center was established when Ardis and Robert James donated nearly 1,000 quilts to the University. In the early years, the quilts were housed in the Home Economics Building located on East Campus. This space was important because it was renovated to be climate-controlled, keeping the antique and contemporary quilts in a safe and secure location while they were being studied.

In 2008 the study center moved into a 37,000-square-foot building with three exhibition galleries and state-of-the-art textile storage. The incredible part of this new building was that the design was created as a metaphor for quilts! The glass windows represent the front of a quilt, the galleries are the batting and the offices create the back side of a quilt! And just when you think it can't get any more unique, the Reception Hall is shaped like the eye of a needle! In 2015 the museum opened a 13,000-square-feet expansion which doubled the gallery and storage space. In 2019 the museum officially changed its name to the International Quilt Museum.

The International Quilt Museum has the world's most extensive publicly held collection of quilts, some dating back to the 1600s. The museum currently has 6 galleries that feature professionally curated exhibits of quilts and textured objects collected from over 65 countries. In addition to visiting in person, individuals who are interested in learning more about previous, current, and upcoming exhibits can take on a virtual experience on the museum's website. University Faculty and Staff are granted free admission to the museum when they show their NCard at the welcome desk. UNL Employees can also bring a guest with them free of charge.

The museum has excellent meeting facilities which UNL departments or entities can reserve. The Seminar room can be reserved for meetings or retreats for $200 or for smaller meetings, the conference room on the 3rd floor can be reserved for free. The best part of renting out a space at the museum is that employees can tour the exhibits and space during meeting breaks!  

The International Quilt Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. but on the first Friday of each month, the museum is open from 4-7 p.m. with free admission for all.  First Fridays often showcase one of the exhibits, include a speaker or entertainment, and/or have activities for children.  Snacks and drinks are also provided.

To learn more about the International Quilt Museum and to plan your visit check out their website by clicking here

*Photo Credit*: Brett Hampton Gallery Exhibit at the International Quilt Museum 


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Annalisa Davenport

Assistant Director for Employee Wellness