In 1981, individuals in Kentucky began documenting the quilts made in their state as a way of preserving their heritage. Their idea, a Quilt Documentation Project, quickly spread to other states. The volunteers who work on these state projects look at quilts in both private and public collections, and seek information on the people who crafted them. You can find a history of quilt documentation projects, written by Kentucky project co-founder Shelly Zegart, online at <www.shellyquilts.com/Quiltprojects.html>.
While each state project varies in size and scope, many publish books of the significant quilts they’ve found. A list of these books is online at <www.mtsu.edu/~kmiddlet/history/women/wh-quilts.html>. Find a project in your area by searching online for Quilt Documentation Projects, or contact your local historical society. For instance, in Massachusetts, participants in Documentation Days bring quilts made before 1950 and anything related to them. In return, they receive reports on their quilts with photographs, information on caring for their heirlooms and labels identifying their quilts as part of the Massachusetts Quilt Documentation Project.