To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions
July 8 - September 30
Of the many North American Indian expressive art forms, perhaps one of the least well known is quiltmaking. This exhibition celebrates quilting within diverse communities and pays homage to the artists who have expressed their cultural heritage and creativity through this art. Quiltmaking in Native communities was first learned through contact with Euro-Americans. Native peoples became adept at quilting and began to use quilts for purposes unique to their own cultures. Quilts have been used as bed and shelter coverings, infants’ swing cradles, weather insulation, and as soft places to sit on the ground. In some communities, quilts play important roles in tribal ceremonies, such as in the honoring of individuals.
To Honor and Comfort has 29 quilts from all over the country, including examples by Cherokee, Sioux, Navajo, Ojibway and Native Hawaiian quilters. Other components of the exhibit include hands-on activities, a listening station where visitors can listen to tape-recorded stories from some of the quilters, videos of quilting activities in two Native communities, and a series of panels with photographs and explanatory text. A companion book is also available.
Developed by Michigan State University Museum, To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions is based on an exhibition originally created by Michigan State University Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with Atlatl, Inc., a national service organization for Native American arts (Phoenix, AZ). A board of museum specialists working in both Native and non-Native museums across North America were instrumental in helping to design this version specifically created to tour to smaller museums, tribal museums and cultural centers.
Kansas quilts are also on display to enhance the exhibition and to showcase the talent and creativity of Kansas quilters.
Exhibit provided by the Traveling Exhibit Services of the Michigan State University Museum.
The press release for this exhibit is available here.