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Quilts and Textiles

The Mary Schafer Collection:
A Legacy of Quilt History

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Born in Austria-Hungary in 1910 and later immigrating to the United States, Mary Schafer would become one of an important group of women who kept quilting and quilt studies alive between World War II and the 1970s revival of interest in quilts. A resident of Michigan for most of her life, she has long been recognized as one of the forerunners of quilt studies as well as the developer of one of the most important quilt history collections in the country. This exhibition traces the life and work of a unique individual, whose passion for an art form has contributed greatly to its survival. The quilts featured in "A Legacy of Quilt History" reflect the varying aspects of Mary's interests and work, from nineteenth century quilts she collected to more recent works she has designed herself and often collaborated on with other quilters. These intricate and colorful creations are supplemented with biographical information that draws from Mary's collection of her own letters and other ephemera, recently acquired by the Michigan State University Museum. The result is an often very personal expression of Mary Schafer's work, friendships and her lifelong efforts "to raise in popular esteem" the appreciation of quilts and their history.


No current bookings. This exhibit is available.

This exhibition has been displayed at the following site: Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, MI; the Stauth Memorial Museum, Montezuma, KS; and Mercer Museum, Bucks County Historical Societ, Doylestown, PA..

  Rental fee
(12-week period):
Full Version: $5,000, plus shipping
Smaller Version: $2,500, plus shipping
  Number of pieces: Full Version: 25 quilts, 20 text barriers, 12 wall text panels
Smaller Version: 10 quilts, 9 text barriers, 12 wall text panels
  Running feet required: Full Version: Approximately 275 feet
Smaller Version: Approximately 100 feet
  Insurance Value: Full Version: $60,000
Smaller Version: $23,630
  Security requirement: Lockable, limited access display area; trained guards or comparable protection system; provisions to prevent the public from touching objects; object handling by museum professionals; temperature and light controls; fire protection according to local ordinances
  Additional materials available: Press materials

This traveling exhibition is a Michigan State University Museum/Great Lakes Quilt Center, Michigan Traditional Arts Program activity supported in part by funds from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Additional support provided by Kitty Clark Cole and Country Stitches.

Photo of the Clamshell quilt made by Mary Schafer in 1966

PICTURED: Clamshell, Mary Schafer, ca. 1966, made in Flushing, Genesee County, Michigan. Cotton with polyester filling.











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