Current Exhibits

Stories of West Africa

April 12 - July 9, 2019

This exhibition is Hollis Chatelain’s personal interpretation of everyday life in West Africa. Having lived in this part of the world for twelve years, her approach is one of observation and respect. Hollis’ choice of medium relates to her background and the culture she encountered. Her use of textiles conveys the warmth of this society. The quilting becomes the heart and soul of the people and is the key to her interpretation.

Fifteen art quilts portray the rich African culture and the strong sense of community and family unity. The background of each quilt is inspired by the beautiful and decorative fabrics which are omnipresent in West Africa. Hollis started with photographs she took while living in Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Benin. From these photos, she drew the original illustrations for her coloring book “Stories of West Africa”. This exhibition was created with the intention to share Hollis’ love for this little known but captivating region of Africa. Individual signage tells a short story about each textile piece, inviting the viewer to learn more about the people, traditions, and textiles of West Africa.

And growing...

April 12 - July 9, 2019

Selections from the museum's collection, featuring 18 of our new acquisitions from the last two years.

Love Stories

April 5 - July 23, 2019

This exhibit is curated by Qin Zhang.

Jiaxie was an incised wooden block textile dyeing technique that was in vogue in Tang Dynasty (618 AD-907 AD) in ancient China. It was widely used throughout East Asia in antiquity. Specimens of early Jiaxie can only be found in few well-known museums, such as the British Museum in UK and Shosoin in Japan, as their treasure textile collections.

In the 19th century, the color of Jiaxie in China remained only blue and the material evolved from silk to cotton. As a result, Jiaxie had become Lanjiaxie (Blue Jiaxie) and from luxury goods for royal family to ordinary people’s commodity. In Southeastern China, however, Lanjiaxie became a special quilt cover for marriage, which played an important role in local people’s life. A set of special etiquette, production process and use customs were designed and the patterns or images on quilt covers were usually from the Chinese ancient dramas of romance, such as hero and beauty, gifted scholars and nice ladies, indicating people’s wish and desire for love and better life even in the old days when there was no freedom for love or marriage.

New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Oak Leaf and Reel

April 5 - June 25, 2019

Finalists and winners from the annual competition are showcased along with traditional examples featuring the theme of the Oak Leaf and Reel piecework.

More Info

Lise Bélanger

Featured in our Corner Gallery

April 19 – June 18, 2019

A self-taught quilter, Lise Belanger is an accomplished textile artist right down to her fingertips, and the winner of international quilt contests. Drawing inspiration from the beauty of nature, Lise trusts the “here and now” and gets carried away without ever stopping to question her artistic instinct. She likes to picture her subjects close up, livening up every corner of the quilt, her hands dictated by sparks of creativity. Colours remain at the very centre of her artwork; colours she harmonizes meticulously, in minute detail. For Lise, precision is the key; a quilt must be as beautiful from afar as up close, must offer a satisfying contemplative experience from all angles. When she sews a new quilt for a contest, she always complies with finishing criteria. But with her everyday creations, which attract a much broader public, she lets her imagination take over to challenge and overstep the rules. She adds her unique unconventional finishing touch, the reflection of her very own “frame” of thought. Go behind the seams and watch her artwork suddenly come to life through the interplay of fabric, texture and thread, right before your eyes.

The National Quilt Museum Collection

The National Quilt Museum's main gallery is made up of quilts from the museum's own collection. Currently, the museum has over 600 quilts in our collection. At any given time, 50-60 of these quilts are on display in the gallery for the public to view. The rest of the collection is housed in our temperature and humidity controlled vault.

Our collection is made up of some of the most extraordinary quilts ever produced. The majority of the quilts in our collection are award winners from regional and national contests. Others have been chosen for a number of different reasons including their uniqueness or their historic relevance. The collection is quite diverse, including quilts of many different styles from quilters throughout the world. If you would like to get information on the collection, the museum produces a collection book with information on each of the quilts. The book is available through our online shop.

How do we choose the quilts for our collection? The museum receives thousands of submissions for collection consideration each year. A collection committee made up of well respected quilters and appraisers makes the final decision on which quilts will ultimately become part of the collection. Only one exception to this process exists. Each year the winning quilts at the AQS Paducah Quilt Show are added to the museum's collection without having to go through the typical process for selection.
We take great pride in the quality and diversity of the museum collection and we will continue to expand it as time goes forward.


The museum's collection became available online in partnership with the Alliance for the American Quilt through the Quilt Index. To see all of the museum's quilts, visit

Selections from the museum's collection are also online on the Google Cultural Institute website.

Oh WOW! Miniature Quilts

Miniature quilts have grown in popularity and sophistication over the past several years. These quilts are made to scale as any size quilt would be; they are simply smaller in scale. As a general rule, to be considered a 'miniature quilt' a quilt must be no more than 24 inches on a side.

The first reaction people have when they see these tiny wonders is "Oh, Wow!" Says National Quilt Museum founder Bill Schroeder, "No better words could describe this remarkable collection of miniature quilts. The more carefully you look at them, the more you will agree."