The Case for Establishing a Knitting and Crochet Museum

The Vision:

  • Raising the status of knitting and crochet
  • Enhancing the visibility of the art form
  • Making knitting more attractive and relevant to current and future generations
  • Creating a space dedicated to knitting scholarship and public education.
  • In sum, we want to preserve, promote and help knitting and crochet continue to evolve.


  • To preserve and promote the wonders of the works of our hands: past, present and future
  • To restore the status of knitting and crochet to its historic levels.
  • To increase access to and the accuracy of its documentation in history, costume and textile collections.
  • To create a home for the source materials of the America’s knitting superstars, as well as exemplars from all the ethnic groups who brought their fiber traditions to America with them.
  • To foster the continued development, exploration of, and experimentation with, knitting and crochet as an expressive art form so that they remain relevant and vital elements for future artists and crafters.


  • To collect, preserve, document and share knitted and crocheted objects and related study materials.
  • To provide academic research resources and internship opportunities
  • To create display space for both permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as a home for the collections and papers of leading designers,
  • To host workshops and classes and the social interaction that promotes creativity and the expansion of our art.


  • Sadly, beautiful exemplars of vintage and historic knitting and crochet are being lost every day, as attics and trunks are “cleaned out.”
  • Existing institutions are not meeting the needs of our knitting and crochet community for access, accuracy and inspiration.
  • Whether as part of general collections held by historic museums, or more specialized costume and textile collections, knitted and crochet objects seldom get first billing.
  • Documentation of the few knitted and crochet objects in these collections can be incomplete or inaccurate.
  • Articles are seldom available for study, or exhibited to the general public.

Recent Developments
An Ad Hoc Exploratory Team of knitters nationwide is discussing forming an American institute/ museum to serve the goals and objectives outlined above.

With the support of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Dr. Ellsworth Brown, Director, we are planning a one-day symposium Spring 2012 in Madison, WI, to explore the concept, and determine next steps.

On June 8- I located the collection of Mary Walker Phillips, safely with her family.  I can say the Knitting Heritage Museum was born June 12, 2011 when TNNA’s  Yarn Group, the committee that supports knitting and crochet,  voted to give the symposium effort $5000, $2000 more than my request.
Jim Bryson, one of the Yarn Group leaders, created an endowment fund for the Museum, in memory of Bev Galaskes.

AMAZING how far we have come since April 29. There is so much more to do. For more info, contact cityknitsdiva or Knitheritagemuseum at gmail dot com

4 Responses to “About”

  1. Alan Gilbert Says:

    I have many beautifully crocheted pieces made by my Grandmother and we are looking for a museum/society in which to eventually entrust them. Would your organization be such a place.


    Thanks for your time.

    Alan Gilbert

    • Karen Says:

      Dear Alan, providing an appropriate home for “museum quality heirlooms” was the original impetus for many of us formed whe start-up team for the Center for Knit and Crochet. As I learned more, I was stunned that such precious objects have two opposite characteristics: to the creator, collector and afficianado, a beautiful crocheted object is an asset. To the collector, conservator, archivist and museum administrator, the same heirloom is a liability because it comes the ethical obligation of long term – 50 to 100 years, care and “feeding.” So, reluctantly, our start-up team is focused on creating an online museum to collect images of such prized objects, while working with their owners to collect the stories, and documentation to creat a context for the objects,that give the images their meaning. As soon as we have protocol for collecting the images and supporting documentation you will rad about it here. We will soon be developing storage and conservation guidelines, for you to follow, as well a resource list of local history organizations and guilds that may be interested in taking possession of your grandmother’s work. Of course, what objects any museum chooses to accept are subject to the collections policies, and financial constraints of that institution. I hope that this helps. Thanks for thinking of the Center for Knit and Crochet! Feel free to contact us again for more direct help. Check back to monitor our progress.

  2. Diane Calhoun Says:

    I have a piece that is over 100 years old, very delicate, that I’be be interested in loaning to the museum. Would you be interested?

    • Karen Says:

      What a gracious offer you have made. At the outset I envisioned a brick and mortar museum, a physical place to exhibit a physical collection. What we learned during our symposium is that a better starting place is a web based center for research and creation of a digital collection.

      We would all be interested in learning more about your knitted object, its history, who made it, its function, techniques and materials used. Its very delicacy and fragility could make it a challenge to exhibit. Perhaps you could start the preservation effort by taking a very good digital photo and sharing that with us, as well as notes with as many of the details of its story that you can provide.

      One of the priority projects for the Center is develop easy to understand and implement conservation guidelines that you can use to stabilize and preserve your heirloom, as well to create a clearinghouse of historical sites and guilds local to you that would be interested in your object.

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