The International Quilt Study Center and Museum is situated at North 33rd Street in Lincoln, Nebraska and is housed on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It opens from 10am to 4.30pm Tuesday to Saturday and 1pm to 4.30pm on Sundays. The museum aims to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and promote discovery of quilts and quilt making traditions from many cultures, countries, and times.
A large gift of 950 quilts worth an estimated $6 million from Nebraskan natives Ardis and Robert James helped start the International Quilt Study Center in 1997. The James are large collectors of quilts and they also donated $1 million toward a $3 million endowment fund to establish the Center. Now the collection is the largest in the world with over 2,300 quilts, and the center has become a leader in quilt studies having produced several publications.
The museum is located within the Department of Textiles, Clothing and Design in the College of Education and Human Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Visits here can generally take at least 90 minutes and give visitors the opportunity to view the many quilts on display, take the optional audio tour, look at the virtual gallery and watch what happens in the Conservation Work Room. There are approximately 50 to 75 quilts displayed at any one time in the gallery, whereas on the virtual gallery guests can view hundreds of quilts.
Various guided tours are available at the museum included free exhibition tours lasting about one hour, which are offered throughout the year on Wednesdays at 11am and Saturday at 11am and 1pm. Behind the scenes group tours can also be booked in advance for a fee, which will include a viewing of quilts displayed in the collections care work room, a brief presentation about looking after the collection, and a question and answer session with a member of staff. The group can also use the Education Seminar Room for a meeting with refreshments or box lunches.
Programs and workshops are provided here too with the museum a leader in the field of quilt studies. Students are taught how gender, class, ethnicity, aesthetics, politics, religion and technology link to the world of textile arts and quilt making. The Thompson Library is near the museum and is where visitors can find the majority of the University's textile-related publications, which rank among the best in the United States.
Free parking is available to the north of the museum although visitors should register their vehicle license plate number at the admissions desk when they enter. The museum is fully accessible and visitors should ask at the admissions about the wheelchair available on a first come first served basis. Visitors can purchase souvenirs at the gift shop, which is open during the same hours as the rest of the museum and contains items such as books on quilts, quilted items, jewelry, handbags, stationery and many other goods.