A New Deal for Quilts

A New Deal for Quilts

For the last 3+ years, our world has undergone a traumatic sea change. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced individuals, communities, and entire countries to shift their perspectives, policies, and priorities. And we have also experienced a new wave of interest in quilts and quiltmaking, as individuals and groups turned to home craft as both a necessary leisure outlet and form of expression. The last major period in history that presented such monumental individual and societal challenges was the 1930s global economic crisis, the Great Depression. Here too Americans turned to quilts. 

Using antique quilts from the IQM collection as well as historical photos and documentary sources, A New Deal for Quilts will share stories of how quiltmakers from around the U.S., including Nebraska, coped with the hard times of the Great Depression. It will also explore how the federal government’s response to the downturn, the New Deal, including its Works Progress Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, and National Recovery Administration, used patchwork quilts and quiltmaking both as emblems of American perseverance and frugality and as practical means to give women new vocational and homemaking skills. Using quilts as symbols, the government encouraged people to “make do” and persist in the face of difficulty and deprivation. A New Deal for Quilts will present these stories in variety of ways, giving historical perspective to our current situation and helping us feel a connection to people from the past who faced similar difficulties.

October 6, 2023 - April 20, 2024
Gottsch Gallery

Event Date
Friday, October 6, 2023 to Saturday, April 20, 2024