April 15-18, 2009
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Demonstrations: Description

Quilt Explorer: High Touch Tech, Timeless Tradition

Maureen Ose, International Quilt Study Center & Museum, USA

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum has the largest public quilt collection in the world, with quilts from dozens of countries and spanning hundreds of years. Bringing this significant collection to audiences worldwide, the Quilt Explorer provides site visitors with unparalleled access to high-resolution images and details on over 1000 quilts from the collection. Visitors to the site can zoom in on each quilt image in order to study details such as quilting stitches and fabric prints, and can learn about the history of each piece. Providing historical context for the collection was another goal of the site: the interactive timeline of quilt and textile history helps visitors appreciate how technological, economic, and social developments have affected quiltmaking.

Three user generated content opportunities are built in: The site gives visitors the ability to develop and manage personal collections of quilts in the My Collection portion of the site. Within My Collection, visitors can curate and publish “threads” – exhibitions of quilts that they order and annotate for other online visitors to browse in the Threads gallery. Advancing a more technical understanding of quilt design, the Make a Quilt section gives visitors the freedom to select patchwork blocks, fabric styles, and stitching patterns to create their own one-of-a-kind virtual quilt. And because we know that making a quilt is often about storytelling, we installed two Quilt Story kiosks in the Virtual Gallery of our museum, giving visitors the opportunity to record a short video about what quilts mean to them; these videos are also viewable by people from all over the world on the Quilt Explorer website.

Demonstration: Demonstrations 1 [Close Up]

Keywords: quilt, storytelling, user generated content, history, video