Crews to retire as IQSCM director, will return to faculty post

Patricia Crews
Patricia Crews

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum's founding director, Patricia Cox Crews, has announced her intention to retire as director and return to a full-time faculty position at UNL in fall 2013.

"I have had an immensely satisfying run as IQSCM's first director," Crews said. "It has been a privilege to work with a multi-talented and hard-working staff and a dedicated group of volunteers. I take pride in IQSCM's significant collections, increased funding in support of exhibitions and programs and its progress toward achieving accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums during my tenure. However, I have always loved teaching and research and look forward to remaining a part of that."

Crews joined UNL as an assistant professor in August 1984. From 1995 to 1997, she served as chair of the UNL Museum Studies Program. In 2000 she served as acting chairman of the Department of Textiles, Clothing and Design. She has taught numerous graduate and undergraduate classes and published five books and more than 60 journal articles and book chapters ranging from quilt studies and American textile history to textile conservation and the technical performance of textiles.

She was named the director of the International Quilt Study Center when it was approved by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents in June 1997. As its first director, Crews initiated biennial symposia, organized exhibitions, produced several award-winning publications, developed a graduate program in quilt studies and helped build the center's endowment by securing a $450,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant in 1997.

The IQSCM's endowment funds at the University of Nebraska Foundation have grown to more than $2.5 million during Crews' tenure. She continued as director during the capital campaign and construction of a $12 million landmark building to provide year-round exhibition space and house all activities of the center under one roof. The stunning new museum opened its doors on March 30, 2008.

Crews said she plans to take a sabbatical during fall semester 2013 and return to full-time teaching and research in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design during spring semester 2014. An interim executive director will be appointed.

"The IQSCM staff is experienced and highly professional, so I am confident of a smooth transition," Crews said. "The IQSCM is well positioned for the future."

IQSCM is the home of the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world. Established in 1997, the center opened a new museum in 2008. The privately-funded, environmentally sustainable museum houses more than 4,000 quilts, state-of-the-art research and storage space and spacious galleries. The center's mission to collect, preserve, study, exhibit and promote discovery of quilts and quiltmaking traditions from many cultures, countries and times. IQSCM is an academic program of the UNL Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences.

— Laura Chapman, International Quilt Study Center and Museum