The National Quilt Museum

“Phenomenal” is not a word I use lightly. The National Quilt Museum, in Paducah, Kentucky, deserves the description.

According to its website, the National Quilt Museum “works to advance the art of today’s quilters by bringing it to new and expanding audiences worldwide.” 

This is not the place to look for antique quilts. Instead, expect to see the work of extraordinary contemporary quilters. Some are inspired by traditional patterns; others develop totally original designs and techniques.

I noticed two things in particular during my recent visit. Visitors often felt compelled to speak to strangers: “Did you see such-and-such?” or “Isn’t that one amazing?”

It was also common to hear murmured exclamations of “Oh my God!” (or similar sentiments) when a visitor discovered some particularly astounding quilt.

One exhibit prompting such astonishment, aptly named “OH WOW!”, was a collection of miniature quilts. To be included, a quilt must be no more than 24″ on a side.

A sampling. Remember, these quilts are 24″ per side–or smaller.
Dollhouse quilts by Pat Kuhns.
Idlewood Rose, by June Kempston. (17″ x 17″)

To give you a sense of scale:

Idlewood Rose, by June Kempston (Detail)
Illusions, by George Siciliano (10-3/4 x 10-3/4″)
Tulip Star, by Lynne Taylor (17″ x 17″)
Tulip Star, by Lynne Taylor (Detail)

I can’t imagine working with such tiny pieces! These quilts are made the same way full-sized quilts are; only the scale is different. Phenomenal.

I’m grateful to the National Quilt Museum for permitting photography. Nothing compares, however, to seeing the quilts for real. I hope you can visit the museum yourself!

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6 Responses to “The National Quilt Museum”

  1. johnnabooks Says:

    I live close to the Quilting Museum in Paducah and have gotten the opportunity to not only visit but to help work the big quilt week held in April of each year. I am always so blown away by the beauty of the quilts

    • Kathleen Ernst Says:

      Ooh, envy, Johnna! My sister and I were reflecting about how awesome it would be to live close enough to visit often. Knowing that the exhibits frequently change has us itching to return. And I can only imagine that the big quilt week is an awesome experience!

  2. Lois Scorgie Says:

    Oh yes, this is wonderful My friend and I, not quilters, ooohed and aahed our way through this wonderful museum.

  3. Liz V. Says:

    Wonderful pictures. Must share with quilter friend. Thank you.

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