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South Africa Quilt History Project

The South Africa Quilt History Project (SAQHP) is a trans-national research project to facilitate a network of individuals and institutions committed to creating access to digital texts and images related to South Africa's rich heritage of quiltmaking. The project endeavors to join forces with and augment the work of the South African Quilters' Guild that has focused on documenting historical quilts. The SAQHP aims to provide, through the Quilt Index, a centralized, freely- accessible repository for South African quilt history and a means for museums, quilds, individual researchers, quilt owners and quilt artists to contribute information to that repository.

The need for a South Africa Quilt History Project grew out of research on South African quilt history conducted by Marsha MacDowell in 2010 under a fellowship awarded to her by the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During visits to over twenty museums and in discussions with curators, artists, and cultural heritage workers, it became evident that the museums contained amazing quilt and quilted textile collections that were little known across South Africa, let alone around the world. Museum staff in South Africa pledged to work with MacDowell and her colleagues at the Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online to contribute information and digital images of their collections to The Quilt Index as a first important step towards the development of a centralized online South Africa Quilt History resource.

Individuals and institutions interested in contributing their images, information, and stories to this project, please contact Marsha MacDowell.

NOTE: The Michigan State University Museum, the MSU African Studies Center, and MSU's MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online individually or collaboratively lead projects in partnership with an array of organizations and individuals in Africa. The South African Quilt History Project will provide resources that will expand one of those projects, the African Online Digital Library.

Full Documentation Form
Short Documentation Form

 

Credits and acknowledgements
The overall South Africa Quilt Heritage Project (SAQHP) was initiated by Marsha MacDowell, Curator, Michigan State University Museum, as part of her research project underwritten by a fellowship awarded to her by the International Quilt Study Center/University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In-kind support was provided by Michigan State University Museum. Mary Worrall, Justine Richardson, and Beth Donaldson assisted in the presentation in the Quilt Index of data collected as part of the SAQHP.

Individuals responsible for documenting quilts in discrete collections in South Africa and submitting the documentation to The Quilt Index are as follows. More information on each institution can be found on the Quilt Index Wiki.

Port Elizabeth Museums/Bayworld (collections housed at No 7 Castle Hill Museum), Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Grizel Hart, Curator, led the effort to complete documentation of quilts in the collection. Jenny Bennie, Historian/Maritime Archaeologist, Port Elizabeth Museum @ Bayworld, provided assistance. View No 7 Castle Hill Museum quilts.

Albany Museum, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Fleur Way-Jones, Curator, led the effort to complete documentation of quilts in the collection. Margie Smith, member of the Port Elizabeth Quilt Guild, provided assistance. Special thanks to Bongani Mgijima, Director. View Albany Museum quilts.

East London Museum, East London, South Africa
Special thanks to Geraldine Morcom, Assistant Director; Janet Hasse (former Curator); Deon Smit, Conservator; and Rod Botha, Collections Register. View East London Museum quilts.

National Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Sudré Havenga, Curator, led the effort to complete documentation of quilts in the collection. Michelle Barnes, quiltmaker, provided assistance. View National Museum, Bloemfontein quilts.

South African Quilters' Guild Heritage Project
Led by member Marline Turner, the South African Quilters' Guild, founded in 1989, aims to document any quilt in South Africa that was made prior to 1960. More information on the project can be found here: https://www.quiltsouthafrica.co.za/heritage-quilts.

In 2011, South African Quilters' Guild permitted Marsha MacDowell to make digital copies of all of the project's records to date. Special thanks to Sheila and Mike Walwyn for their volunteer contributions in translating to English those documentation forms originally recorded in Afrikaans. View South African Quilters' Heritage Project quilts.

Durban Local History Museums, Ethekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa
Neil Stuart Harris, Preventative Conservator of Textiles, Local history Museum, Ethekwini Municipal Museum led the effort to complete documentation of quilts in the collection with assistance from Rosalie Dace and Marline Turner, quiltmakers, quilt historians, and volunteers. Special thanks to Bheki Mchunu, Director. View Durban Local History Museums quilts.

Msunduzi Museum, Pietmaritzburg, South Africa
Elrica Henning, Chief Research Officer led the effort to complete documentation of quilts in the collection with assistance from Gilber Torlage, Deputy Director and Marline Turner, quiltmaker, quilt historian, and volunteer. View Msunduzi Museum quilts.
 

View Amathole Museum quilts
View Great Fish River Museum quilts
View Hout Bay Museum quilts
View Macrorie House Museum quilts
View McGregor Museum quilts
View Transvaal Museum Services quilt

-- Marsha MacDowell


View all records in this project

Quilt Title

Artist Name     Contributer

1800     Location, Place

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Quilt Size: 61 inches x 61 inches

Fabrics: Cotton, Geometric, Novelty, Solid/plain

Construction: Machine Piecing

Quilting Techniques: Machine quilting

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