The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, located just east of historic downtown Cedarburg, Wisconsin, is dedicated to educating the public about the artistic, cultural, historic and social importance of quilts and fiber arts. We also seek to increase the awareness of historic structure preservation. Our repurposed 1850s farmstead is used to:
- Foster and inspire creativity by hosting exhibits of artists from traditional to contemporary techniques;
- Educate children and adults, from beginners to experienced fiber artists, in the time-honored crafts;
- Preserve quilts and other fiber arts items, maintaining our own collection and encouraging others to document their treasures.
- Maintain a library for researchers interested in exploring how quilts and other fiber arts have changed over time.
The museum’s roots extend back to 1988 when a group of quilters in southeastern Wisconsin founded the Wisconsin Quilt History Project, Inc., whose mission was to preserve the history and creativity expressed in quilts through documentation and research. Since 1988, over 8,000 quilts and their stories have been captured. These records provided the material for an award-winning book, Wisconsin Quilts: History in the Stitches, (second edition, 2009).
In 2001, the group purchased the Hoffmann-Boeker farmstead as the future home of a museum dedicated to creating, preserving and teaching fiber arts. The 2.2 acre farm includes seven original stone and timber structures; the dairy barn with silo, farmhouse, ice house and summer kitchen/smokehouse/blacksmithery.
The WMQFA has since refurbished the barn for use as a gallery and education center, opening in August 2011. The site received Landmarks Designation from the City of Cedarburg in 2004.
In addition to quilt documentation, the WMQFA collects and displays important historical fiber arts. Highlights of its holdings include:
- The Joe and Mary Koval Collection, 27 vintage quilts and a large collection of 18th and 19th century fabrics. This collection includes a rare and stunning Baltimore Album Quilt, typical of bride’s quilts created in 1845.
- The James A. Taylor Coverlet Collection, 35 hand-woven, 19th Century coverlets, including examples of overshot, double weave, summer and winter in a variety of colors.
- The magnificent Mariner’s Compass Quilt, created in 2006 by Luella Doss and Moey Anderson and many volunteers, based on a Judy Mathieson design. The quilt recognizes donors, who have collectively raised over $1.3 million for the new museum opening in 2011.
- The Gross Stevengraph Collection contains nearly 300 Stevengraphs. Stevengraphs are small silk, Jacquard woven bookmarks, pictures, greeting cards and postcards. They were a popular novelty of the Victorian era. The images are minutely detailed, which required a perforated card for each movement of the loom’s shuttle. Subject matter includes royalty, political figures, ships, sports and historical events. This collection was generously donated to the Museum in 2014 by Peter Gross. Mr. Gross’ parents, Alfred and Florence Gross, started the Stevengraph collection. Peter Gross and his wife continued the collection started by his parents, purchasing additions while visiting England.
- A collection of antique sewing machines from treadle to featherweight styles.
- The Maggi and David Gordon Collection, 13 vintage quilts including an Amish Roman Stripe crib quilt and an 1893 Redwork.