The Collection

The permanent collection of the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles contains over 1000 textiles and includes historic quilts, contemporary art quilts and textile-based art forms, as well as garments and textiles from world cultures. Curators frequently draw on the diverse collection for museum exhibitions. Currently the collection is not open to the public. 

Highlights of the collection include:

  • Linsey-woolsey whole cloth quilt, c. 1820
  • Mosaic quilt top made by Mary Taylor Lloyd Key, the wife of Francis Scott Key, c. 1830
  • Over 35 crazy quilts, including one made by the San Jose Auxiliary of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic
  • 20th Century quilts by designers such as Ruby McKim and Ernest Haight
  • A growing collection of studio art quilts that includes works by Michael James, Yvonne Porcella, Charlotte Patera, Joan Schulze, Therese May, Judith Content, Joe Cunningham and Linda Gass
  • The P&B Collection -- over 25 quilts commissioned by the company's founder, the late Irwin Bear -- representing many of the fabrics manufactured by this California company
  • An important group of woven tapestries featuring works from the San Francisco Tapestry Workshop (1977-1981), the Scheuer Tapestry Studio (1982-1991), and original works by the donor, Ruth Dundas
  • Work by notable California fiber artists like Flo Oy Wong, Katherine Westphal, Lillian Elliot, Marian Clayden, Ed Rossbach
  • The Porcella Collection of World Textiles illustrates the influence of world textiles on Bay Area fiber artists
  • A historic collection of over 200 molas from the Kuna people, native to the San Blas Islands of Panama

A key objective of the Collection is to recognize and promote an understanding of the central role played by Bay Area artists in the quilting and fiber arts revival during the second half of the 20th Century – a movement that continues today.  The museum is currently focusing its collecting efforts in the following areas:

  • American historic quilts and European quilts that relate to American quilt-making traditions
  • Innovative contemporary and art quilts, with a particular emphasis on California makers
  • Contemporary wearable art that relates to contemporary fiber art
  • Modern and contemporary fiber art, post-1940, especially woven textiles, with a particular emphasis on California makers

Although world textiles will continue to play a role in exhibitions, whether borrowed or drawing on objects currently in the museum collection, the museum is not currently collecting world textiles.


Bear Paw Quilt, 1890-1910 Cotton 74"x 72" Gift of Kim Walde & William Green SJMQT Collection 1999.264.004

Bear Paw Quilt, 1890-1910
Cotton 74"x 72"
Gift of Kim Walde & William Green
SJMQT Collection 1999.264.004

Unknown maker, Streak of Lightning, c. 1920 Cotton 79"x 67" Gift of Lucy Hilty SJMQT Collection 2003.306.023

Unknown maker, Streak of Lightning, c. 1920
Cotton 79"x 67"
Gift of Lucy Hilty
SJMQT Collection 2003.306.023

Unknown maker, Sunburst Quilt, 1930-1955 Cotton 83.5"x 82" Purchased with funds donated by Pat Hunter & Elena Benton SJMQT Collection 2000.273

Unknown maker, Sunburst Quilt, 1930-1955
Cotton 83.5"x 82"
Purchased with funds donated by Pat Hunter & Elena Benton
SJMQT Collection 2000.273