Illinois Quilt Research Project

This Quilt Index Pilot Partnership has tested the feasibility of adding museum quilt collections and quilts registered with the Illinois Quilt Research Project to this national database. For the Quilt Index, all the quilts in the Museum's collection were analyzed using the IQRP technical analysis forms. In many cases microscopic analysis was used to determine batting and fabric fibers. The background information offered by families of donors was checked against historical records. The historical information and technical descriptions were compared with current quilt history scholarship to more accurately date these quilts and confirm the identity of their makers. Quilts were photographed, slides and prints were converted to digital images (including many quilt details), and color corrections were made as needed. The collected data and digital images were then added to the online database, served through Michigan State University. As new quilts are added to the Illinois State Museum collection and new information becomes available, the Quilt Index will continue to be updated.

The Illinois Quilt Research Project (IQRP) has registered over 17,000 quilts, starting in 1986 and ending sometime around 2010. The IQRP was a joint project of the Land of Lincoln Quilters Association and the Early American Museum (now the Museum of the Grand Prairie) and was guided by Project Director Cheryl Kennedy. The Project's book, History from the Heart: Quilt Paths Across Illinois was written by E. Duane Elbert and Rachel Kamm Elbert in 1993. The Illinois State Museum hosted a quilt registration day for the Springfield area and organized and traveled an exhibit celebrating the IQRP, "Connecting Stitches: Tradition and Innovation in Illinois Quilts." After 2011, the records for the Illinois Quilt Research Project became a part of the Illinois State Museum's permanent archive. There is an ongoing project to digitize the information gathered during this research project into the Quilt Index. For assistance in locating information on an IQRP quilt not found in the Quilt Index database, please contact the Illinois State Museum library for more information.

Project description provided by the Illinois State Museum.

The Illinois Quilt Research Project includes collections from these museums:
Art Institute of Chicago
Bureau County Historical Society
Chicago Historical Society
Illinois State Museum
Lincoln's New Salem Historic Site
Lyndon Historic Society
Menard County Historical Society
Pike County Historical Society Museum
Putnam County Historical Society
Sterling Rock Falls Historical Society

View all records in this project