Knitting Heritage Museum: A Work in Progress

Madison, Wisconsin
Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Case for Collecting, Preserving, Researching, and Sharing
Our Knitting and Crochet Heritage
November 8, 9, & 10, 2012

Knitting Heritage Museum: A Work in Progress
Thursday, November 08, 2012 4:00 PM -
Saturday, November 10, 2012 4:30 PM (Central Standard Time)

Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
United States

Map and Directions
Knitting Heritage Museum: A Work in Progress
Making the Case for Collecting, Preserving, Researching,
and Sharing Our Knitting and Crochet Heritage.
November 8 - 10, 2012

In Association with The Wisconsin Historical Society
 Sponsored by The Yarn Group of TNNA,

Are you interested in identifying, preserving or displaying
knitted or crocheted objects?

Join us for the first symposium in support of establishing of a Knitting Heritage Museum,
to be held in Madison, Wis., November 8-10, 2012, co-hosted with the Wisconsin
Historical Society, Ellsworth Brown, Director, and funded in part by the Yarn Group
 of The National NeedleArts Association.

Knitted and crocheted objects, works of the hand and heart, provide snapshots of the ethnic traditions and socioeconomic status of the maker and wearer. An infant’s christening gown celebrates an intergenerational milestone. An intricate Shetland shawl or Bohus sweater knit for hire illustrates the often unsung ways women supported their families when male incomes disappeared. A sock, knit during wartime, connects the maker at home to the warrior at the front.

These often humble and utilitarian items were worn, passed down from generation to generation and sometimes donated to a local or regional museum. Many museums have these items in their collections but are unsure how to preserve, categorize and display them.

Join us to explore:
    •    Engaging a segment of the population not now actively being served.
    •    Using the internet to build a dynamic relationship between museums and knitters around the world
    •    Harnessing skilled expertise, not necessarily available from staff or consultants, to allow passionate practitioners to share their knowledge and so elevate the status and appreciation of knit and crochet.

Symposium attendees will:
    •    View a special exhibit created by the curators of the Wisconsin Historic Society’s Textiles and Costume Collection and UW-Madison’s Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.
    •    Participate in interactive forums and discussion groups to develop a vision and collection scope for an initiative to preserve, document and share knitted and crocheted objects.
    •    Hear speakers including Dr. Susan Strawn, author of Knitting America: A Glorious Heritage from Warm Socks to High Art, and Melissa Leventon, principal of Curatrix Group Museum Consultants and Appraisers; Consultant to the new Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in Bangkok (opened May 9, 2012). Panelists include Trisha Malcolm, VP and Editorial Director, Vogue Knitting; and Jack Blumenthal, VP, Lion Brand Yarn.

Who Should Attend
    •    Textile museum curators, textile researchers and students
    •    State and local history professionals
    •    Yarn industry professionals
    •    Knitting and Crochet designers
    •    Art patrons and collectors
    •    Custodians of knitted or crocheted objects
    •    Women’s Studies researchers
    •    Passionate practitioners
And anyone who has ever thought that knitting and crochet deserved a museum.




Location: Wisconsin Historical Society, Lobby
816 State Street, Madison, WI

4:00 - 5:00 pm  

5:00 - 5:45 pm
Welcoming Reception sponsored by Wisconsin Historic Foundation
Opening of Curators’ Choice Exhibit

Location: Wisconsin Historical Society, Auditorium

5:45 - 6:30 pm
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dr. Ellsworth Brown, Ruth and Hartley Barker Director, Wisconsin Historical Society
Karen D. Kendrick-Hands, J.D., Symposium Chair
Leslie Bellais, Curator, Department of Textiles and Costume, Wisconsin Historical Society
Maya Lea, Curator, Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

6:30 – 7:15 pm
"The Knitting Image: Popular Media, Art, and Industry Look at American Knitters." Susan Strawn, Ph.D., Knitter, author of Knitting America: From Warm Socks to High Art, and Professor, Apparel Design and Merchandising, Dominican University, River Forest, IL


Location: University of Wisconsin Memorial Union Great Hall
800 Langdon Street, Madison, WI

8:00 – 9:00 am
Registration, Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 10:00 am
Keynote Address
“So You Want to Start A Museum”
Melissa Leventon, Principal of Curatrix Group Museum Consultants and Appraisers, former Curator-in-Charge of Textiles, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

10:00 - 10:40 am
A Virtual Knitting Museum?
Introduction – Dr. Ellsworth Brown, Director, Wisconsin Historical Society
Exploring Form, Content & Partnerships - Jennifer Lindsay, Program Coordinator, The Smithsonian Community Reef, a Satellite Reef of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef created for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, 2010-11.
A Case Study: Building A Digital Collection Among Museums  - Emily K  Pfotenhauer, Project Coordinator for Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database
And Program Manager for Wisconsin Heritage Online.

10:40 – 11:00 am

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Panel Discussion: The Value of Heritage and Why It Matters
Panelists: Melissa Leventon, Principal of Curatrix Group Museum Consultants and Appraisers, former Curator-in-Charge of Textiles, Fine Arts Museums of San FranciscoSusan Strawn, Ph.D.,  author of "Knitting America: From Warm Socks to High Art", Professor, Apparel Design and Merchandising, Dominican University, River Forest, IL; Trisha Malcolm, VP and Editorial Director, Vogue Knitting [invited]; Jack Blumenthal, VP Lion Brand Yarn; Karen Kendrick-Hands, Symposium Chair

12:00 -12:30
Open Forum for Comments and Questions

12:45 – 1:30 pm
Lunch, Tripp Commons

2:15 – 3:45 pm
Breakout Sessions (see Event Schedule for Location Information)
3:45 – 4:00 pm

4:00 – 4:30 pm
Reporting from the Breakout Sessions

5:00 – 6:00 pm
Wine and Cheese Reception
Location: Wisconsin Historical Society

Dinner on your own at local restaurants

Location: Lowell Center
610 Langdon Street, Madison, WI

8:00 – 8:30 am
Continental Breakfast

8:45 am – 12:00 pm
Facilitated Planning Session

12:00 -12:45 pm

12:45 - 1:30 pm
Conclusion and Next Steps

Wisconsin Book Festival
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Wisconsin Historical Society Lobby
Meet and Greet -Stitch and Sign.
An exploration of contemporary knit and crochet books. Meet and mingle with many of today’s authors and designers who are advancing the styles and techniques that you enjoy stitching. Selected titles will be available for sale and signing.

Register Now!!

For More Information contact: or call Karen D. Kendrick-Hands, Symposium Chair, 313.600.1670

Full registration includes: All Sessions, Thursday's Welcome Reception, Friday's Wine and Cheese Reception, Breakfasts, Lunches, and all Breaks, on both Friday and Saturday. 

Full Registration $175 to Nov. 7
On Site Registration $195.

To be eligible for Student Registration at a reduced rate, you must be enrolled as a full or part-time student in a 2 or 4 year program at the undergraduate level, or a graduate level master's or doctoral program.  If you satisfy these requirements, please email knitheritagemuseum at gmail dot com, with your student information.

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Visit Knitting Heritage Museum - Work in Progress



Contact Information

Payment Instructions

  • Make Checks Payable:
    Wisconsin Historical Foundation
    and mail to
    Wisconsin Historical Foundation
    P.O. Box 260050

    Madison, WI  53726
    or use a Major Credit Card.

    If you have a payment question,
    contact Juliet Page at 608-264-6580

Thanks to the Wisconsin Historical Society, our generous Co-Host
and the Yarn Group of TNNA, our Founding Sponsor.

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