The New England Quilt Museum, A Quilters Dreamland

The New England Quilt Museum is the world’s largest and oldest quilt museum, located in Lowell, Massachusetts. Nancy Orr and her husband, Richard Orr, created the Museum in 1987. The Museum possesses a diverse collection of over 10,000 quilts from different parts of the world, with some pieces dating back to the 18th century.

History Of The New England Quilt Museum:

The Orrs had been collecting quilts for several years before they decided to open a museum. The couple’s collection included more than 300 quilts displayed in their home. The Orrs realized a need for a quilt museum after attending a quilt show in New York City, where they saw that many of the quilts on display were in poor condition. The Orrs decided to open a museum to preserve and display quilts for future generations.

The New England Quilt Museum opened its doors to the public on June 6, 1987. It was initially in a converted garage behind the Orrs’ home. The Museum soon outgrew its space, and in 1989, the Museum moved to a more prominent location in downtown Lowell. The new Museum featured three galleries, a library, and a shop. In 1993, the Museum expanded again, adding two more galleries and classrooms.

The New England Quilt Museum Activities:

It offers a variety of programs and activities for quilters and non-quilters alike. The Museum’s galleries feature rotating exhibitions of quilts from the Museum’s collection and traveling exhibits from other museums and institutions. The Museum also offers classes, workshops for adults and children, and special events such as lectures, demonstrations, and trunk shows.

It is recognized as the leading institution for the preservation and study of quilts and textiles. The Museum’s collections are used by scholars and researchers worldwide. It is also a popular destination for quilters and fabric enthusiasts of all levels, who visit the exhibitions, take classes, and browse the shop. The New England Quilt Museum is open year-round and is located at 18 Shattuck Street in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The New England Quilt Museum

The New England Quilt Museum’s Library:

The Museum’s library is open to the public and houses a collection of over 4,000 books and periodicals on quilting, textile arts, and related topics. The library is a resource for quilters, researchers, and students of all levels. The library’s collections are available for use by appointment only.


Come to the New England Quilt Museum for an exciting experience of discovering quilts from all around! The galleries constantly change, so you’ll never get bored with your visit. You can take classes or workshops that will help improve any skill level–even if it’s just learning how to make a single block correctly (and there is no wrong way)! With rotating exhibits on display at different times of the year and special events like lectures & demos each week, this place really has something going on every day! Check out what’s next, The Famous Whistler House Museum Of Art

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