Michigan Quilt Project

Michigan State University Museum/Great Lakes Quilt Center
Michigan Quilt Project and MSU Museum Collection

The Michigan State University Museum was established in 1857 as a collections-holding unit primarily for research and academic teaching unit. Beginning in the 1970s the museum has aggressively sought ways to make its collections accessible to a much wider public and to engage the non-campus public in all phases of museum research, collection development and care, exhibition, and educational activities. It is now recognized by Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs as one of a handful of Michigan anchor museums and is one of five cornerstones of the Center for Great Lakes Culture. The museum now also regularly engages in regional, national, and international activities including a range of cultural heritage initiatives in South Africa.

It is now recognized as a center of quilt-related activities and its various quilt collection development, research, exhibition, publication, and education activities are now consolidated under the Great Lakes Quilt Center, a unit of the museum. It has played a key role in the Michigan Quilt Project, an effort that involved individual and organizational volunteers around the state to document, preserve, and present Michigan's quilting heritage, and has documented more than 10,000 quilts. The museum's own quilt collection numbers more than 900 and includes historical and contemporary examples from around the world, with special emphasis on African-American quilts, Native American quilts, and quilts with special ties to Michigan. It also houses the Mary Schafer Quilt Collection the collection of a nationally-acknowledged quilt historian), quilt blocks, sewing equipment, historic fabric, and quilt-related materials. Quilt research projects on North American Indian, African-American, and general Michigan quilting have generated over 100 tape-recorded interviews with quilters, photographs of quilters and quilting activities, field notes, and ephemera.

The Michigan Quilt Project (MQP) was established in 1984 to document, preserve, and present Michigan's quilting history. Through fieldwork, archival research, and a series of community Quilt Discovery Days, project staff work with students and volunteers to locate, document, and collect information and material on Michigan quilts and quilters. Tape-recorded interviews are conducted with Michigan quilters in their homes and quilting activities such as auctions, exhibits, contests, and bees are also documented.

Forty Michigan museum collections are included in the MQP. Click on the name below to see their collections.
Battle Creek Historical Society
Byron Area Historical Society
Charlton Park Museum
Clinton Historical Society
Columbiaville Historical Society
Crossroads Village Museum
Dearborn Historical Museum
Detroit Historical Museum
Dr. William Hyser Rivers Museum
Flushing Area Historical Museum and Cultural Center
Fort Miami Historical Society
Frankenmuth Historical Society
Gerald Ford Museum
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Gratiot County Historical and Genealogical Society
Gulliver Historical Society
The Henry Ford
Iron County Museum
IXL Historical Museum
Kalamazoo Public Museum
Lakeshore Museum Center
Le Cheneaux Historical Museum
Leelanau County Historical Museum
Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum
Little Traverse Bay Historical Society
Marquette Regional History Center
Menominee County Museum
Michigan History Center
Michigan State University Museum
Monroe County Historical Museum
Montrose Historical and Telephone Pioneer Museum
Newton House Museum
Old Depot Museum
Onaway Historical Museum
Republic Area Historical Society
Selinsky-Green Log House Museum
Tri-County Historical Museum
Watrousville/Caro Historical Society
Wyandotte Historical Museum

Michigan Quilt Project has revised its documentation form as the project has grown and matured. 
View current form: Michigan Quilt Project Form

The Michigan State University Museum with generous support from the Salser Family Foundation is the home of the Detroit News Quilt Club Corner Collection. The project presents the columns of Edith Barton Crumb, Beauty in the Home editor of the Detroit News from the mid 1920s-1958. In 1932 Crumb created a quilt club with its own column, quilt patterns, radio show, cartoon, quilt shows and meeting place. At its peak there were more than 5000 members in 29 states, over 50,000 attendees to many of their quilt shows, and over 200,000 quilt patterns disbursed. This collection would not be possible without the dedication of Susan Salser (granddaughter of master quilter, Mary Gasperik) who compiled the scanned columns and the permission of the Detroit News for allowing us to publish them on the Quilt Index. Uploading the columns is ongoing.

Project Website

View all records in this project