Educational Rationale

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To Educators: The Value of Using the Quilt Index in the Classroom

The Quilt Index is a growing database featuring thousands of quilts dating from the 1700s to the present. The Quilt Index can be used in many settings -- from elementary school math to university level history classes.

This comprehensive resource provides free access to quilt images and information for teachers, students, researchers, and the general public.

The Quilt Index brings subjects such as American history, women’s history, and American folk art traditions alive for students by putting thousands of historic quilts at their fingertips.

For example, using the Quilt Index in social studies or the visual arts helps students to:

Social Studies

  • Understand that quilts and other works of art are both visual objects and historical documents that tell the story of their maker, and often, of their maker’s community.
  • Learn to place art and cultural heritage objects in their historical and cultural contexts.
  • Describe how women (and men) in America have given voice to their social and political views through art and craftmaking.
  • Use quilts as entry points into a deeper understanding of key moments and movements in American history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
  • Use the Quilt Index to practice historical research skills, critical thinking and digital literacy.
  • Become inspired to research and tell the stories of their own family art and cultural heirloom objects, such as quilts.

Visual Arts

  • Compare the characteristics of art objects such as quilts from various periods, stylistic movements and traditions.
  • Reflect on how objects differ visually and functionally with respect to history and culture.
  • Analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place (such as contact with other cultures, access to resources, political and social ideas, wars and other major events, and technology) influence the visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art.
  • Analyze relationships of art objects to one another in terms of history, aesthetics, and culture.
  • Make connections between quiltmaking and other visual arts disciplines.
  • Inspire and inform their own personal artwork in a variety of media, using historical and aesthetic knowledge of quilts.
Personal tools
IMLS NEH MATRIX MSU MUSEUM Alliance for American Quikts