Published: Jan. 10, 2017

MSU Museum exhibit encourages dialogue on civil and human rights issues

Awareness about civil and human rights issues are at the center of a new exhibition opening at the Michigan State University Museum on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Quilted Conversations: Materializing Civil and Human Rights” will feature 16 quilts drawn from the MSU Museum’s collection.

“Quilts are objects that are very familiar to many people,” said Mary Worrall, MSU Museum curator of cultural heritage. “The quilts in the exhibit are intended to serve as touchstones to encourage dialogue and contemplation.” 

Some of the quilts honor champions of human rights, like Martin Luther King Jr., while others document the struggles that individuals suffered due to social injustice. Textiles displayed also document events and experiences in contemporary history, and show the creative act of quilt making as a means of storytelling. 

Two of the recently completed Project 60/50 Quilted Conversation Community Quilts will also be included in the exhibit, as they consist of quilt blocks made by community members addressing issues related to civil and human rights.

The exhibit will run through July 9, with an opening reception and student performance at 4 p.m. Monday at the Museum in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The MSU Museum has become internationally known as a center of quilt-related scholarly and educational activity, including the Quilt Index, an online tool for centralized public access to quilt and quilt-related materials. The museum features three floors of special collections and changing exhibits and is open seven days a week free of charge.

"Quilt for Equality, 2013" by Eric the Quilter. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, MSU Museum

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