Our Building and Garden

Our Building and Garden

The International Quilt Museum is located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus. The building and its garden were all designed with quilts and quiltmaking in mind.

In the tabs below, you can learn more about the design of the building and garden.

The Architecture

The Architecture

The International Quilt Museum was designed by the internationally renowned Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York with local architects Alley, Poyner, Macchietto Architects of Omaha. Hawkins Construction was the contractor.

It was funded entirely by private gifts, including a leadership gift from the Robert and Ardis James Foundation of Chappaqua, New York, and donations from private individuals and more than 130 quilt guilds.
The museum opened in 2008 and an expansion—which doubled the size of the galleries and quilt storage—opened in 2013.

© Peter Aaron/Esto 

The architects intended the structure to resemble the three layers of a quilt. The glass curtain wall—with its linear metal bars—resemble quilt stitches. 

© Peter Aaron/Esto 

The galleries, conservation workroom and storage room represent the batting or filling. 

© Peter Aaron/Esto 

And the back-of-house support areas and offices represent the quilt back.

© Peter Aaron/Esto 

You can see another nod to quiltmaking in the Reception Hall, which is shaped like the eye of a needle. 

© Peter Aaron/Esto 

The brick facade and relief around the building are done to look like quilt blocks.

© Peter Aaron/Esto 

The Architecture

The Garden

The Garden

The International Quilt Museum’s Marion E. and Barbara B. Tritsch Garden was designed in a grid to resemble quilt blocks stitched together. It is planted and maintained by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Landscape Services team using native Nebraskan plants. Some of the plants are annuals and the others are perennials that are replanted seasonally.

Thank you to by Eileen Bergt, Assistant Director of Landscape Services at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who provided these photos and for leading the team that makes our garden beautiful.

Blue Shag White Pine (Pinus strobus ‘Blue Shag’)

Green Velvet Boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Velvet’)

Little Henry Sweetspire (Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’)

Tor Spirea (Spiraea betulifolia ‘Tor’)

Helene von Stein Lambs Ears (Stachys byzantine ‘Helene von Stein’)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Zagreb Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’)

Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum spectabile ‘Herbstfreude’)

Caesar’s Brother Siberian Iris (Iris ‘Caesar’s Brother’)

Blaze Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Blaze’)

Buffalo grass and Fescue mix

The Garden

The Sculpture

The Sculpture

The sculpture by Linda Fleming of Colorado and California, is titled “Reverie.” It is formally a part of the collections of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Sheldon Museum of Art. The Duncan Family Sculpture was commissioned and donated in honor of longtime quilter and local resident Betty Duncan by her children Robert Duncan, Dianne Duncan Thomas, and Kathryn Duncan.

Artist statement: “Place has always been central to my work. It is not the subject of the work but provides the conditions that allow the work to exist.” The art includes the space within and around the sculpture, the shadows and stripes created by sunlight, and the full range of tones of the powder coated steel. 

The 14’ x 27’ sculpture was fabricated by TMCO of Lincoln and installed by Davis Erection. It is located in the Marion E. and Barbara B. Tritsch Garden.

The Sculpture