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Women of Color Quilters Network Collection Now a Part of MSU Museum

MUSEUM WELCOMES LARGE DONATION FROM DR. CAROLYN MAZLOOMI

The Michigan State University Museum is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of the extraordinary Carolyn Mazloomi-Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN) collection, made primarily by African American women.

WCQN founder Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi gifted the collection, which is prized for its range in construction techniques and aesthetic perspectives. More importantly, the quilts convey personal stories on a variety of topics including Black womanhood, family life, racism, and the struggle for civil rights. In addition to eight quilts by Mazloomi, the artists represented in this collection include WCQN founding members Peggie Hartwell, and Ed Johnetta Miller; organizer of the Black feminist art collective Where We At, Dindga McCannon; and critically acclaimed contemporary art quilters Bisa Butler and Carolyn Crump.

In addition to donating the quilt collection, Dr. Mazloomi and her husband Dr. Rezvan Mazloomi have initiated an endowment that will support the care and use of the collection.

On ultimately choosing the MSU Museum, Dr. Mazloomi said, “The Museum already had a wonderful quilt collection with well-managed facilities. It was my hope that our contribution would enhance the permanent collection.”

She further explained, “The staff and faculty really care about quilts. The MSU Museum was the best place for this collection.”

Dr. Mazloomi, a 2014 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellow award, is committed to working further with the MSU Museum to engage others in building and using this and other African American collections.

Some faculty, like MSU Assistant Professor Tamara Butler, have already started engaging the collection. Butler explained, “I see the collection as insightful and inciting texts; insightful because it offers new and richer narratives of how Black women educate and remember, and inciting because the collection generates new ideas for how we can teach and what we can use in our classrooms to initiate conversations around history, culture, language, and pedagogy.” MSU Visiting Curator Dr. Aleia Brown drew on the collection for her recent dissertation and conducted oral history interviews with a number of the artists represented in the collection.

The Mazloomi-WCQN collection further strengthens the MSU Museum’s world-class quilt collection. The MSU Museum is also home to the Quilt Index, the largest open access digital repository of quilt stories and images drawn from public and private collections around the world. Records on the Mazloomi-WCQN collection and other works from artists in the WCQN can be found in the Index.

Quilts from the Mazloomi-WCQN collection will also be featured in several changing displays throughout the 2017-2018 academic year at the MSU Museum, Main library, and the President’s office.

The Michigan State University Museum is the university’s science and culture museum and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Michigan State University Museum collects, preserves, studies and interprets cultural artifacts and natural science specimens. The MSU Museum is home to nearly 1 million specimens, objects and artifacts, housed in four buildings across the MSU campus. When not on display, they are used for research and classes, and some are available for loans to other museums. Many collections are also being digitized to provide increased access.

Image Caption:
Dizzy, 2003
Carolyn Mazloomi