Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

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Open Access to Masterpiece Quilts!

About a year ago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art started an “open access” to all of the high-resolution imagery of the over 375,000 public domain works. Previous to this new policy, if I wanted to use an image from the museum, I would need to file a form and usually pay a fee. It made the use of the images difficult for most, impossible for many. This new policy for art appreciators, researchers and in particular quilt or textile lovers is an amazing gift.

Textiles are fragile and exposure to light or even moving the textile shortens the life span. Because of the fragility of textiles, most are not on display and research is granted only to a few. However, because of the new access to images, we can all take advantage of seeing textiles and quilts, we wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to see.

This gift to the world has impacted Wikimedia even more, with over 90 percent of The Met’s photographs uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Additionally, according to Art World, there has been more than a 500 percent increase in new Wikipedia articles featuring photos from The Met. However, I have not a seen a 500 percent increase in articles related to the quilts in The Met. (Let’s get on it, because as you can tell from the images in this article there are some amazing pieces!)

So, while this new policy has allowed such creations as “Face-Swap the Met” I’m concerned we in the quilt world haven’t taken full advantage of this wonderful gift. If you are a researcher, appraiser or quilt lover, now is the time. Here is the link for 353 results of a search for quilts. Find your favorites and fill Facebook or Pinterest (with credit or a link back to the original) or write an article to help us understand and appreciate these masterpiece quilts.