Date of this Version
Published in Textiles and Politics: Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium Proceedings, Washington, DC, September 18- September 22, 2012.
The concept of a Knitting Heritage Museum arose from a perceived need to collect, preserve, document and share knitted and crocheted objects, tools, and related study materials. This entity would raise the status of knitting and crochet, and create opportunities for scholarly research and enhanced visibility, as achieved by quilting and other fiber art centers. The author has concluded, after interactions with various museums and textile collections, that knitting and crochet are generally underrepresented. For valid reasons, documentation of objects that do exist is often incomplete or inaccurate and access for both study and exhibit is extremely limited. Although a rich popular literature of techniques, designs and history exists, that information is not frequently accessed by museum professionals. A Knitting Heritage Museum is one means of bridging this gap. This organization would preserve and promote the past, present and future of knitting and crochet; increase access to and the accuracy of its documentation in historic, costume and textiles collections; create a home for the source materials of leading practitioners and designers, as well as exemplars from the ethnic groups who brought their fiber traditions to America; and foster the continued evolution of knitting and crochet as expressive art forms. This organization may create a digital collection, develop a physical collection -or create a public space for exhibitions, and interaction. Next steps will be explored at a Symposium co-hosted with the Wisconsin Historic Society, November 8-10, 2012, in Madison WI.