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The Quilt Index and AIDS Memorial Quilt Receive NEH Grant

04 March on Announcements, Grants, Quilts   Tags:

The Quilt Index and the AIDS Memorial Quilt Digital Archive have been awarded over $320,000 from the Digital Humanities Implementation Grants program at the National Endowment for the Humanities. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

The grant will support the development of a new media platform for the Quilt Index and the AIDS Memorial Quilt Digital Archive. The media platform, featuring visualization tools, will allow for easy access and viewing of large collections of images, a means for collecting tags and metadata about the images, and increased and improved search capabilities.

The Quilt Index, the world’s leading digital source for quilt and quilt ephemera research and scholarship, is the collaborative project among the Alliance for American Quilts, Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Michigan State University Museum. Since initial discussions regarding its creation and necessity began in 1992, the Quilt Index has grown to currently house tens of thousands of images and stories of artists and quilts from both public and private collections around the world. Each quilt record features a digitized image of the quilt and up to 135 individual pieces of additional information, including the date of origin, materials used, quilters’ identification, and current location.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt comes from a communal and participatory response in the 1980’s to memorialize all those who have died from AIDS. Today, the Quilt is composed of over 48,000 panels, many sewed by friends, lovers, and family members of the individual lost to the disease. The AIDS Quilt serves as a powerful visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic and its deadly toll on human life. The AIDS Memorial Quilt Archive Project works to preserve and share the powerful images and stories found in the Quilt while promoting AIDS awareness and HIV prevention education efforts. “Most panels are accompanied by letters, biographies and photos, all of which speak to the experience of life in the age of AIDS, documenting the effect on those lost and those left behind. These ‘documentary’ materials, when combined with the Quilt panel images, make a rich tapestry of information- a legacy to future generations.” In 2005, the Quilt was awarded the distinguished “Save America’s Treasures” Federal Grant, establishing it as an official American treasure. The AIDS Quilt is preserved, cared for, and presented by The NAMES Foundation.