Teachers' Orientation Pages to:
Illinois Quilts and Quilters: Keeping Us in Stitches
Collection and Exhibition
The quilt collection of the Illinois State Museum
numbers over 300 quilts. Included are over 100 Amish
quilts, 200 traditional quilts spanning the years 1825 to
the present, and a number of art quilts by artists of the
twentieth century. This online exhibit features
examples from all three categories. The Illinois Amish
Quilt Collection Exhibit will open at the Illinois State
Museum, Springfield in April of 2000, and will travel
to our other sites for several years. The other quilts are
seen occasionally in exhibits, as are special exhibits of
quilts not owned by the Museum. For example, the art
quilts of Joan Lintault will be shown in Springfield in
The images of the quilts are presented as thumbnails on the front page of each section. This lets the
viewer preview the contents and also compare the patterns as if from a distance. By clicking on the
image or label, the viewer gets a popup window of an enlarged image. In some cases, images of
details are shown to point out interesting design features.
There are also photographic images of a quilter who is demonstrating basic techniques used in hand
sewing and quilting. This section can be accessed from the left menu and from the text of each
The text provides a variety of information about quilting and quilters. The makers of some quilts are
unknown, while there is a lot of information about other quilters. The text gives information about
the origins or patterns and the popular colors or fabrics of various eras. This information is integral
in dating quilts and in understanding why quilts look they way they do through history. The text
notes that some patterns reoccur century after century, but in the color schemes and fabrics popular
in their era creating different looks.
There is a question for thought in each popup window. Teachers could use these as topics of
discussion, rewording them for the youngest students, or older students could answer them as they
go through a section of quilts. The purpose is to look more closely at the quilts and think about
aspects of quilting.
Quilting, like any special subject, has its own vocabulary of terms. Sometimes these words look
familiar, but are used in a special way. We provided an extensive glossary of terms we used in the
text, with definitions that pop up in a little window, so as to be the least disruptive to reading.