The Kansas Quilt Project (archived at the Kansas State Historical Society) recorded more than 12,000 quilts in 1986 and 1987. At 72 Quilt Discovery Days the project saw quilts dating from the early 19th century to those just out of the frame. The KQP invited Kansans to bring quilts made all over the country, old and new, a broad criteria inspired by a goal of documenting and preserving information about late 20th-century quiltmaking activities as well as giving us a window into the past.

Public response was tremendous. An average of 183 quilts was brought to each of the Discovery Days held in ten geographical regions. Analysis and interviews with selected quiltmakers followed in 1988, resulting in several exhibits and publications. A book, Kansas Quilts and Quilters, was published by the University Press of Kansas in 1993.

The data and photos collected are available at the Kansas Historical Society. KQP volunteers are in the process of scanning slides to add to the online digital collection. Images and data will be uploaded in groups by Discovery Days. Ultimately all data will be uploaded but a regional overview will be provided as images are scanned.

The survey found that the state's history since settlement in 1854, its geography in the plains and its immigration patterns affected the story of the Kansas quilts---those made here, those brought here, and, just as important, those we did not find. The early story of Kansas quilts is one of omission. We found few quilts made in Kansas before 1875 and few fine 19th century applique quilts made here. We found no distinctive Kansas quilt we could characterize as typical of the state. However, we did find thriving quilt traditions in the century from the 1880s through 1987. We also found many 19th century quilts brought here from the east and the southern border states. The quilts recorded in the middle of the country reflect the history of America quilting.

Credits and Acknowledgements
The KQP received financial assistance, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kansas Arts Commission, the American/International Quilt Association and the Ross Foundation. The Kansas Historical Society provided professional and financial assistance as the co-sponsor for the Project. Twenty-three Kansas quilt guilds donated funds and many more supplied volunteers. Among the major financial contributors to the original documentation and the data conversion were the Prairie Quilt Guild, the Quilters' Guild of Greater Kansas City and the Kaw Valley Quilters' Guild. Hundreds of Kansans donated their time to organize the Discovery Days and thousands took a few hours out of their Saturday mornings to show us their quilts.

Project description provided by the Kansas Quilt Project.

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