Michigan State University

Hours: Mon: 9am - 5pm, Tue: 9am - 8pm, Wed, Thu, and Fri: 9am - 5pm, Sat: 10am - 5pm

Mary Worrall

Curator, Cultural Heritage
(517) 432-4118

Research Interests/Experience Mary Worrall is Curator of Cultural Heritage at the Michigan State University Museum. Her research interests include quilts and quiltmakers, historic dress, museums and social justice, digital humanities, and traditional material culture. Worrall works with developing and managing exhibition, research, collections, and educational programs. Worrall is the Associate Director of the Quilt Index (www.quiltindex.org), an online, open access resource of data about quilts and quiltmakers (funded primarily by NEH and IMLS National Leadership grants). She is on the curatorial team of the Great Lakes Folk Festival. Worrall is currently serving on the Board of Directors of The Quilt Alliance and has served on the Board of the American Quilt Study Group. Selected Publications “Quilted Together: How a Digital Repository of Thematic Collections is Enhancing Material Culture Pedagogy.” Co-author with M. MacDowell, J. Richardson, A. Sikarskie, and S. Cohen. Winterthur Portfolio (2013)

  • “Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America.” Co-Author with M. MacDowell. In Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st Century America. (2012)
  • “The Quilt Index: From Preservation and Access to Co-Creation of Knowledge.” Co-authored with M. MacDowell, J. Richardson, and A. Sikarskie. New Directions in Folklore, (2011)
  • The Quilt Index Goes 2.0: A Fiberspace Case Study” (with M. MacDowell, J. Richardson, D. Rehberger, and A. Sikarskie) In Museums and the Web 2009, 2009.
  • “The Quilt Index: Communicating Stories in the Stitches.” (with M. MacDowell and J. Richardson), Proceedings of the Textile Society of America Biennial Symposium, 2008.
  • "Mary Schafer: A Legacy of Quilt History." Australian Patchwork and Quilting 15, no. 4 (2007): 106-109.
  • "The K.K.K. Fundraising Quilt of Chicora, Michigan" (with Marsha MacDowell and Charlotte Quinney). Uncoverings 27 (2006): 91-122.
  • "Catalogue" (with Marsha MacDowell, and Beth Donaldson), pp. 25-117. In American Quilts from Michigan State University Museum, ed. Marsha MacDowell. Tokyo, Japan: Kokusai Art, 2003.
  • "Family Quilt Collections" (with Lynne Swanson), pp. 21-26, "Collections By Collectors" (with Lynne Swanson), pp. 27-38, and "Projects" (with Beth Donaldson), pp. 39-90. In Great Lakes, Great Quilts, ed. Marsha MacDowell. Lafayette, California: C&T Publishing, 2001.

Selected Exhibitions

  • "Materializing Mandela's Legacy," co-curator with M. MacDowell, 2013
  • "VOICE," co-curator with MSUM Education Team, 2013
  • “The Ritzenhein and Wilensky Collection,” curator, 2013
  • “Patterns of Inquiry: Quilts in Research and Education,” curator, 2012
  • “U.S. Quilts in China,” co-curator, 2012
  • ”Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry An African American Quilt Scholar,”co-curator with M.MacDowell, 2009
  • ”Threads of Change: The Transformation of West African Textiles,” co-project manager with L.Swanson, 2009
  • "Redwork: A Textile Tradition in America," curator, 2007
  • “Quilts and Human Rights,” co-curator with M.MacDowell and L.Swanson, 2008
  • "Quilts Old and New: Reproductions from the Great Lakes Quilt Center," curator, 2003
  • "Mary Schafer: A Legacy of Quilt History," curator, 2001


M.A., Art History, specializing in American Art prior to 1940
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A. Public History, Western Michigan University