Museum HistoryExpanding the Vision, Advancing the Art.
Since day one, The National Quilt Museum has aimed to support quilters and advance the art of quilting by displaying exceptional quilt and fiber art exhibits, providing workshops and other educational opportunities, and promoting the art of quilting.
Now in our 21st year, we are honored to play such a significant role in both the quilting community and the art community as a whole. Over the years, the museum has grown to become a destination for quilting and fiber art enthusiasts worldwide. Annually we receive visitors from all 50 US states and over 40 foreign countries from every continent. The Museum’s onsite and travelling exhibits are viewed by over 110,000 people per year. In addition, over 6,000 youth and adults participate in our educational opportunities on an annual basis.
The National Quilt Museum is the brainchild of Bill and Meredith Schroeder of Paducah, Kentucky. Both quilting enthusiasts, they aimed to start a museum that would celebrate the work of today’s quilters and advance the art of quilting by bringing it to audiences that had previously not experienced the art form. The Schroeder’s chose to build the Museum in Paducah, Kentucky to give back to the community in which they have lived for many years. The $2.2 million facility, which is the largest facility in the world dedicated to quilting, sits two blocks from the Ohio River in historic downtown Paducah.
The Museum changes exhibits 8-10 times per year, so visitors will enjoy a unique experience every time they visit. Achieving this high level of exhibit versatility is extremely important and the Museum continually strives to expand its collection. On the day the Museum opened in 1991, the entire collection included 85 quilts that were on loan from the founders. Over time, the collection has expanded both in quantity and diversity. Today the Museum’s collection exceeds 320 works of art and continues to grow. In addition to exhibiting the exceptional works from our collection, throughout the year the Museum also features travelling exhibits made up of breathtaking works of quilt and fiber art.
As the Museum has grown in popularity, its educational programs have also expanded rapidly. Having started with a few small workshops in the early years, educational programs have ballooned to include participants of all ages from all over the world. On one end of the spectrum, some of the most recognized quilters come to the Museum to conduct workshops throughout the year. These workshops are attended by quilters of all skill levels that aim to learn from the best. On the other end of the spectrum, our youth educational programs offer kids the opportunity to use their creativity and learn basic skills. Our largest youth program is the School Block Challenge. The challenge is sponsored by Moda Fabric, this programs challenges students to create a 16” by 16” quilt block from a packet of three different fabrics. The School Block Challenge is an annual event with national participation. The Museum encourages other countries to become School Block Challenge partners in order to advance the art of quilting worldwide.
The Museum and its staff is honored to have brought quilting to so many people over the past 21 years, we are looking to continue expanding our reach in the years to come so everyone can experience the work of these great artists.