San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Exhibitions Calendar Join
Museum Store Visit Learn
Collection Give About Us
Contact Us
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
520 South First Street
San Jose, California 95113

Phone: 408.971.0323
Fax: 408.971.7226
Media inquiries: or 408.971.0323 x21
About Us
MissionPress RoomBackground and HistoryMuseum StaffBoard of Trustees

Historical Timeline

1977 – The Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association establishes the museum as The American Museum of Quilts and Related Arts, the first quilt museum in the United States. It is managed by volunteers from 1977-86 including Sylvia Moore and Monte Sereno (1977-78), Arlene Rast (1979-80), Gloria Debs (1980-81 and 1983-85), Ruth Cabrera (1981-82), and Irene Rennhack (1982-83).

1984 – The Museum purchases a small Spanish Colonial house on South 2nd Street in San Jose and stays for ten years, growing its permanent collection and program schedule.

1986 – The Museum becomes a public benefit corporation separate from the Association; hires its first paid Executive Director, Patti Leach; changes its name to the American Museum of Quilts & Textiles.

1987 – The Museum launches its Educational Outreach program with a curriculum-based program for 5th grade students that weave the stories of real people from American history with the development of historical quilt patterns. Young Audiences of San Jose and Silicon Valley have recognized the program for its’ "Best Practices in Arts".

1997 – To establish a sense of place with its identity, the museum changes its name to the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles.

1998 – Jane Przybysz is hired as the Museums Executive Director; The Museum introduces an education program for 2nd grade students with a hands-on art-making component.

1999 – The Museum acquires the Porcella Collection of ethnic textiles and garments, bringing its collection to some 450 pieces: 70% quilts from 1880-1940; 10% quilts from 1950-present; 20% ethnic textiles and wearable art.

2003 – The Museum partners with venture philanthropists to form the 520 South First LLC to buy and renovate a historic property – a 13,000 square- foot facility originally built in 1923.

2005 – Grand Opening at 520 South First Street with the inaugural exhibition, Traditions in Transition: Three Views of the Permanent Collection, the first extensive exhibition of the museum’s holdings.

2006 – The Museum launches Kids Create, a very popular monthly arts and cultural enrichment program for children aged 5 – 10; Exhibits include Jean Ray Laury: A Life by Design and Ao Dai: The Evolution of Design 1925-2005.

2007 – The Museum celebrates its 30th anniversary with Saturn Returns: Back to the Future of Fiber Art - an exhibition (and catalog) featuring 30 mid career fiber artists’ work.

2008 – The Museum presents a stunning retrospective of local designer Marian Clayden: The Dyers Hand and a popular fashion show at the SJ City Hall rotunda.

2009 – The museum organizes and brings in Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art; the first time a show of contemporary Chinese fiber art travels to the U.S. and is on exhibit. The Museum also creates a new education program in partnership with Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association and Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence called Quilts as Women’s Shelter.

2010Hawaii's Alfred Shaheen: Fabric to Fashion is a blockbuster exhibit featuring the clothing and textiles of Alfred Shaheen. The exhibit travels to other venues in Michigan, Washington State and Maui; The International TECHstyle Art Biennial, a signature, juried exhibit, in conjunction with Zero1, is launched.

2011Invisible Lineage looks at the important contributions of four Bay Area textile artists and their long lasting legacy and influence; 520 South First LLC is dissolved and museum becomes sole owner of museum building; Phase two of capital campaign is completed and offices move to new mezzanine space; Christine Jeffers is hired as the new Executive Director.

2012Mark Adams celebrates the artist and tapestry designer in a show that looks at his unusual and rich contributions to the field of tapestry. In its 35th Anniversary year the Museum mounts, Collecting Treasures: Celebrating 35 Years, featuring quilts, textiles, both historic and contemporary from the museum's permanent collection.