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News Release: Eiteljorg’s new exhibition “Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories” unfolds in Indianapolis

Exhibition of historic and contemporary textile art is part of Honoring Women theme

Faye Lone (Seneca)
Grand Entry, 2008
Cotton fabric, cotton batting, thread
104 × 91 inches
2008 Indian Market & Festival Purchase Award

INDIANAPOLIS – The Eiteljorg Museum has launched a yearlong exploration of the profound artistic and cultural contributions of women in the American West and Native America with a new exhibition that opened March 7 focusing on quilts as a storytelling medium: Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories.

As the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Eiteljorg is dedicating 2020 and 2021 to the theme Honoring Women by bringing women’s perspectives and stories front and center.

Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories highlights fascinating quilts by women artists from the early 1800s to the present day. Far more than utilitarian bedcoverings sewn for warmth on a cold prairie, the quilt artworks and their patterns of expression instead reflect the artistry of women in the West and their lives, experiences, aspirations and struggles. Quilts in the exhibition are organized into three broad themes: family, friends and personal relationships; ethnic and regional identity; and political agency and power.

“Quilts embody personal stories and symbolize community relationships. They document people, places, and events, and serve as visual records – ones created largely by women – that help us study and understand Western art, history, and culture,” said Johanna M. Blume, Eiteljorg curator of Western art, history and culture, who is curating the exhibition. “Using quilts from throughout the American West, including Native America, this exhibit explores the diverse experiences of women in the West.”

Visitors experiencing Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories will learn about women artists from different backgrounds and time periods. Quilts by diverse women artists who are African American, Native American, Latino American and Asian American and who utilize a variety of styles and traditions are represented. Many of the beautiful quilts in the exhibition are on loan from other institutions, including the Autry Museum of the American West, the International Quilt Museum and the state historical museums of Alaska, Arizona, Nebraska and Washington State, among others. The Quilts gallery will include engaging interactive activities about quilt-making.

Open from March 7, 2020, to Jan. 3, 2021, Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories is included with regular museum admission. (The exhibition originally was scheduled to close Aug. 9, but due to the pandemic it was extended by five months so that more visitors can experience it.) The Eiteljorg also has partnered  with local quilt organizations and hosting Quilts programming events, including:

  • Undercover Tours reveal the stories behind the quilt, taking place at the museum July 18 and Aug. 8.
  • Friday, Oct. 2, Curator’s Choice Series: At noon, join Johanna M. Blume, Eiteljorg curator of Western art, history and culture, for a discussion of the new exhibition Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories.

Except for events specifically requiring reservations, the regular Eiteljorg admission fee applies for the above talks and presentations; and museum members enjoy free admission. Complete details and updates at and #EJQuilts

Karen Colglazier (American) and Diane Breman (American)
Not Justa Dream, 2004
Cotton, leather, wool, mother-of-pearl, pewter, brass, horsehair
80 x 89 inches
Loan courtesy of the artists, in memory of Carrie and Cody

Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories is part of the yearlong theme, Honoring Women, at the Eiteljorg in 2020-2021. Special exhibitions and programming featured throughout the year mark the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave some women in the U.S. – but not all – the right to vote in national elections.

Other Honoring Women exhibitions include Powerful Women: Contemporary Art from the Eiteljorg Collection, opening Sept. 19, 2020, that focuses on the work of contemporary Native artists; and Hard Twist: The Photographs of Barbara Van Cleve, opening Jan. 30, 2021, that features documentary-style black-and-white photographs of ranch women of the West. Several public events are planned, including a guest speaker, U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, the first Native American woman to be appointed to that position; she will speak at the Eiteljorg in October 2021. Complete details and updates are at and #EJHonoringWomen.

Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories is sponsored by the Margot L. Eccles Arts & Culture Fund (a CICF Fund), Capital Group, Chase Private Client Group, Ice Miller LLP, Citizens Energy, Don Hinds Ford, Quilt Quarters, the Indiana Arts Commission and the Arts Council of Indianapolis, with additional support from Quilts Plus and Crimson Tate.

About the Eiteljorg Museum
A cultural pillar for more than 30 years in downtown Indianapolis’ scenic White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the Indigenous peoples of North America by telling amazing stories. Located on the Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., the Eiteljorg was named one of the USA Today Readers’ Choice 10 Best Indiana Attractions.

Media Contacts:
Bryan Corbin
Public Relations Manager

Bert Beiswanger
Director of Marketing and Communications

Hyacinth Rucker
Digital Communications Manager


Editor’s Note:  Native American Art magazine published an article in its June 2020 issue about Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories. Read it at this link:
Western Art Collector Magazine_June Issue_Quilts story.