Places: San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

Located in downtown San Jose, the Museum of Quilts and Textiles was the first of its kind at its inception in 1977 — an entire museum that focused exclusively on quilts and textiles as an art form. Not only are the pieces in its collection technically impressive and aesthetically pleasing, they are often political or social statements, and can even be radical in their creation and message.

“Cloth is at the core of human experience. Every culture throughout history has had a textile tradition through which people learned about and sustained their social, civic and religious rituals. As largely a woman’s tradition, quilting became a primary vehicle for women’s social, political and artistic expression when other forms of expression were not available to them. It was during the 1970s, when the women’s movement and the feminist art movement came to full flower, that a new breed of artists, often formally educated, began choosing fiber as a fine art medium, challenging assumptions about both the intent and the content of textile art forms.”

The museum’s collection consists of some 850 quilts, garments and ethnic textiles, and a research library of more than 500 books on the history and making of quilts and textiles.


The museum is open for visitors from Wednesday to Sunday.