Alliance for American Quilts
The history of the Alliance for American Quilts dates back to 1993. A group of individuals viewed quilts as more than just blankets, but as an art form and piece of cultural history. Those who originally formed the organization were devoted to preserving the quilts and finding out the stories behind the pieces. The group realized that while some museums kept a few quilts on hand, there was a greater need for a group devoted to preserving all quilts.
The first people to sign on were members of other organizations including The Kentucky Quilt Project, the Texas Quilt Search, and Quilts, Inc. They formed The Alliance for American Quilts to begin changing the way quilts are preserved and researched across the country. They worked together to create projects that would change the way people viewed quilts and helped them to learn more about the quilts. They created Regional Centers for The Quilt where those interested can learn more and ask for help in identifying one they own.
The Alliance for American Quilts runs different programs each year. One of their projects is Quilters S.O.S--Save Our Stories. This program interviews different quilt makers, transcribes those interviews, and saves them at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. They also run Quilt Treasures, which takes oral histories and makes them available online.
One of their biggest projects is The Quilt Index. This program lists digital photographs of over 50,000 quilts collected from public and private collections around the world. They encourage people to submit photographs and information on quilts they have in their possession. They also run Boxes Under the Bed to share information on documenting and preserving quilts and their histories. In addition, The Alliance also maintains H-Quilts, an online discussion group.
The Alliance for American Quilts depends on the backing of supporters and partners, as well as volunteers. Their partners include Michigan State University, Winedale at The Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, The American Folklife Center, and the International Quilt Festival. They also have a strong group of supporters that include volunteers and those who donate towards the cause.
The supporters are divided into different groups including members, donors, and partners. Annual members are families, individuals, and groups who donate to the group every year, with some of these people being members since the foundation started. They also have donors, differentiated by the amount of money they donate. For example, center diamond donors make a donation of $10,000 or more. They also have industry and partnership sponsors from major corporations such as C&T Publishing and Kimberly-Clark.