The Quilt Museum Funding

Of all the controversial topics I’ve posted on lately, this one will probably cause me to lose about 95% of my readers.  Every quilter on Facebook and in blogland seems to be terribly upset about this story.  Yes, I think the writer didn’t totally understand the value of quilts or the passion of quiltmakers but want to know what I think?  No?  Well, I’ll share it anyway! 🙂

I don’t think tax payers should be paying for a quilt museum!  I don’t think that’s the role of government.  Just like I, who could care less about Nascar, or wrestling, or ice fishing, wouldn’t want my tax dollars going to museums for those type activities.  For as many things as you can think of, someone probably would love to see a tax payer funded museum to commemorate the history of that activity.  It’s just not government’s job . . in my opinion.

When our country is up to its eyeballs in debt to China and each citizen owes almost $52,000 as of this minute, and that includes myself, my husband (for a combined debt of $104,000 between us), as well as my son and his almost 4 month old baby, even some of our very favorite things that are near and dear to our hearts might have to be cut.

I’m one of those weird people who think no one else should have to contribute to the cost of my food, my home, my cell phone, my hobbies.

When I hear folks in an uproar about funding for a quilt museum, here’s how I think about it all.  If Vince and I were in debt and couldn’t pay our bills and were having to move out of our home and into smaller, less expensive digs, or even move in with a family member, I would not be squawking about wanting to keep my big sewing room.  Cutting back in order for us to get out of debt (we are not in debt!) to me would mean cutting back everything that isn’t necessary for survival.

I assure you, and I’m sure you already know this . . no one out there wants to see anything they love cut but when our country is in the financial mess it’s in — not everything can stay. Every single dime that our government spends means a lot to someone.  No one wants to see their own funding cut but cuts do have to be made or this country, as we currently know it, isn’t going to survive.  If you don’t believe it, you’re just not paying attention.  No one — no individual, no business, no government entity — can spend like there’s no tomorrow, borrow money from folks who aren’t necessarily our friends, and expect to survive.

The quilt museum is a fantastic place and I loved it.  I don’t want to see it go but I surely don’t see where the tax payers should be responsible for it.  I definitely see value in the quilt museum, but not necessarily value to tax payers.  I know that the museum brings in lots of tourism so maybe the Nebraska Tourism Department (if there is one) can fund the cost of the museum.  I’m not anti-museum . . I’m just against using tax pay dollars for things the government was never intended to fund, when our country is so much in debt and cuts need to be made and no one wants those cuts to affect their own projects.

That’s my opinion and I don’t apologize for it.  I will leave comments open and you’re welcome to respectfully disagree with me.  Before you comment . . think about this:  Think of something you totally have no interest in.  For me, it would be TV and hunting.  Think how you would feel to have that much of your tax dollars go to museums for those things.

I know some of you are going to totally miss my point – I just read through all the comments on the article.  Please remember — I am NOT anti-quilt museum!!

9:00 p.m. Edit – Comments are closed. 


  1. 1


    Well, I for one am in complete agreement with you! I feel strongly that quilting is a part of our history and a quilt museum is a wonderful thing, but our government has no business funding 90% of the things they do. Things are in a horrible mess as is. So, I guess that means you’re stuck with me! 🙂

  2. 2


    I agree with you 100% Judy – you sure won’t be losing this reader! I’ve struggled to get by for years, but I never felt deprived that I couldn’t have what many others have. Sometimes I wonder how I will feel as I get on in years – if I become ill and can’t afford the health care that others have. I don’t think I’ll care – I don’t expect the government – using tax dollars from those that can afford more – to bring me up closer to their level. It’s astonishing to me that some people feel that way.

  3. 3

    Charlene Tudor says

    Well, I agree about the quilt museum and I feel the same about NPR but don’t agree that it is in the same category as health care.

  4. 5

    Toni in TN says

    Wouldn’t it be a thought to let the taxpayers in a different state decide the merits of non essential projects in state A. In simpler terms, let FL taxpayers decide on a quilt museum in WA for example. Just might stop a lot of pork IMHO.

  5. 7

    Roberta says

    I agree!!! This is the pork that is in all the bills passed now. If you vote for my bill I’ll put in funding for your museum, building, etc. It’s how bills get passed that the people do not want. Hope I haven’t started something here, just read a bill now and again.

  6. 9


    Judy I totally agree with you! I see no need for taxpayers to fund a quilt museum or any other specialty museum that in the grand scheme of things will be of small or no interest to the majority of the taxpaying public. I don’t mind my taxpayer dollars going to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. That fabulous museum (museums I should say) preserves our national heritage– including quilts. I have visited the Smithsonian once and hope to go again. One visit is not enough to see all the fabulous things in this museums.

  7. 10


    I had not thought of it on this light… I mostly just thought it was a crudely insensitive article. I do agree with you; we do not need federal tax dollars going to museums. If communities want hem, it is their job to fund it!

    • 10.1

      Wanda Stenzel says

      I also am in total agreement with what everyone has already said. Early in our marriage we were starting in farming and had lots of machinery to purchase. Did anyone else care or should they even care? No, we managed to pay our way and did without for many years. I don’t regret that at all. I appreciated all we eventually could afford, without government help.

  8. 11

    Melody says

    Judy, I agree. They just need to find a way to fund it privately and move on. Hope you are having a great day.

  9. 14

    Diann says

    I disagree. There’s checks for everything else ridiculous and they aren’t going away…will just be more. Quilt history is important and I don’t think taxpayer money is wasted using it that way.

  10. 15


    When I lived in East Tennessee, the annual Quilt Symposium brought uncalculated $$$$$ into Chattanooga and surrounding areas. No one complained that the Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, and East Tennessee benefited from the symposium or tax dollars. There continue to be numerous museum and community exhibitions that bring a great deal of money, both in taxes and purchases, into quilt related events throughout Tennessee.
    While I am moderately conservative politically, I do believe it is wise to spend a small fraction of our tax dollars to support museums. That the Times-Free Press chose to publish such an opinion and to protect the writer’s anonymity when the Tri-State Area, including Chattanooga and area tax coffers continue to benefit from the quilting industry, is astounding. I’d be really interested in knowing if the editorial writer’s “none of my tax money for that” opinion holds for the Chattanooga aquarium–which undoubtedly brings the community fewer tax dollars than its quilt related businesses.
    I understand that we don’t need to be funding frivolity with our tax dollars, but I also understand that quilts and the stories of the people who made them are such a strong reflection of our nation’s history that they deserve recognition and are worthy of the very limited $$$ received by those organizations that honor them. Furthermore, as a woman who is old enough to have experienced severely limited choices in a time when the value of women was denigrated, recognition of women’s contributions to our culture is important to me (and that is not to denigrate the contributions of men to quilting).
    It’s interesting that anyone would object to a relatively small expenditure of tax dollars on what is perceived as “women’s” history and remain silent about huge expenditures toward real waste–and that’s the message I get from that editorial. It will be so interesting to see what is yet to come.

  11. 16

    Rosanne A says

    I agree with you 100%, Judy! I think the problem with the article was it began with an “attack” on quilters, comparing our quilts with mass-produced products from China and that’s what upset so many people… they lost focus of the funding facts for the museum, which, as with many other things, the taxpayer should not be responsible for.

  12. 17

    pdudgeon says

    maybe they will find a way to fund the museum privately, but until they do the safety of the quilts in question should not be in jeopardy.
    As to the greater question of how and by whom history should be preserved, the answer in most cases should be preservation by those who are in the best position to do so.
    if we start determining what is kept in the national budget according to whom it helps, then we’re governing my majority rule alone irregardless of who is affected by the decision. And when we get to that point, it becomes ‘every man for themselves” and ‘survuval of the fittest’ takes place.
    that’s when we loose our perspective of individual worth.
    So yes, i’m happy to have various museums preserved thru government funding, because personally i don’t know the needs of every single museum in the US in order to contribute to them. But i absolutely do believe that the history that they hold is worth preserving at any cost, because once it’s gone it can’t be restored again.

  13. 18

    Judy Wolf says

    I agree with Dora the Quilter and further would rather see some of our tax dollars going toward preserving our history as to funding bridges to nowhere or monuments to senators or I could go on and on. As usual, the things that have some merit are put on the chopping block rather than the frivolous items that have been attached to bills for years. Just my opinion.
    Judy in MO

  14. 19


    Yea or nay on taxes, it begs to ask the question — Wouldn’t a Nebraska Tourism Department (if there is one) be funded by tax payer dollars? Is this museum any more or less valuable than other museums, collections, labs, etc on other university campuses — which also get university funding and therefore government support?
    Finally — if the article had been written about something else – would we as quilters have gotten our back up or even have noticed the article?

  15. 20


    You will not lose me as a reader, but I respectfully disagree with you Judy.
    This exceptional quilt museum is about womens (for the most part women)history.
    How much space have women been given in our history books? —Even though we make up over 50% of the population?
    Although great strides have been made for women in our reent history, we must never forget the sacrifices and contributions women have made – and quilts tell that story well.

  16. 21


    I agree and disagree. (So like me..) I agree things need to be cut, but I think they should start much farther up. Cleaning up other areas of “waste” just in Medicare, or DOD, where millions of doallars could be saved, is a better place to start. BUT, I also agree with not having to pay for things that benefit a few. Like I hate the debate on football stadiums (which we have been struggling with) but in that case, the players and owners make so stinking much money, they SHOULD pay for it themselves…but that is for another argument…! And yet, I think museums probably need help, and that is almost the only funding they get, whether it comes out of the federal or state budget. I have been to museums that I could have cared less about, but am glad someone decided to save those legacys.. I can think of worse ways to spend our money…

  17. 22

    Doe in Mi says

    I guess I should keep my opinion to myself here because I’m totally comfused right now. I can see both sides of the story after reading these great comments. And I think your more or less both right. I think the government has wasted alot of OUR money in the last few yrs. and consequently we’re not doing so great because of it. I could get on a big band wagon about now but, won’t — we need to wake up and pay attention to whats going on in OUR government !!!

  18. 23


    I don’t disagree about the use of taxpayer dollars.

    I do wonder, however, why the Quilt Museum is the target of this article. Are there no other museums funded by taxpayer dollars within the authors area? Does the author feel they should receive federal funding? Or is this because the author of this museum dismisses quilting as insignificant, unimportant, and irrelevant? The opening paragraph would lead me to believe this is the case especially considering the amount of funds involved.

  19. 24


    I agree with you 100%. We have got to stop spending taxpayer money things like this. We simply cannot afford it any more. If it is of value then the museum will be able to raise private funding. Here’s another example. A good friend of mine is the director of a local community center. They wanted some new landscaping. It started reasonable and has ballooned to near 1 million dollars. Much of that is taxpayer dollars. She tried many times to get us to donate but I refused. The project is too expensive for the location and quality of the facility and I do not believe that people in other localities and states should have to pya one penny for it. I told her I would donate when the project became reasonable and 100% locally funded.

  20. 25

    Cheryl L says

    First of all, let me just say, I agree with Judy. For those of you who disagree by saying it is just a small amount of tax money going for something so (in your and my opinion) important let me just say it is all these seemingly small pet projects that have brought us as a country to the point of “beyond broke”. We simply can’t afford it any longer. Cuts have to be made and that means there will be cuts to made to many causes and organizations that we all feel are important and worthy of our tax dollars. Our country is about to take a giant leap off the fiscal cliff. We must get our financial house in order and that means cutting spending….on everything…not just the projects that don’t affect us.

  21. 26

    Michelle says

    Agree. While the article is ignorant about the quilting industry and importance of quilting in our American history it does have a point about the funding with tax dollars. Enough already! If the museum is important to you, donate to it….but at the rate we are going soon individuals will have no discretionary income and government will decide what survives as they take more and more taxes.

  22. 27

    Heather S says

    I agree with you 100% Judy! If it is something a person feels is important than that person should support it. So if you are a NASCAR fan, support the NASCAR places. If you are a quilter, support the quilting places. Neither of these things are life and death and taxpayer money would be much better spent in other areas that ARE life and death.

  23. 28

    Debbie Rhodes says

    One thing that has bugged me over our nations debt problem is…. if we ( my hubby and I) were having a debt problem we would cut some spending ie: cell phone, cable etc….. but also we would increase our income… I would get a job….. so we would do both…. cut expenses and raise income…. we need our museums, national parks, and our roads and other infrastructure…. in a balanced approach we can do more.. Schools meed sports, music along with the more important scholastics….

  24. 29

    Donna says

    When a purchases made from a quilt shop or online for a quilt book or pattern taxes are colleted. The tax money is used for roads, education, support of seniors RX programs and many more things. Tax money is tax money. The State funding is all tax money. Grant money a lot of times is a fine a corporation has encoured or endowmwnt money set aside for certain purposes. Yes the Author was foolish in his choice of words and also his being anonymous but he won the point of the article. He brought attention to the fact that this was going on and you all took the bait. If you feel he is right or wrong we are all thinking about what money is spent, also if it is your money and maybe we need to all look at the source of the “tax” money. Is it really tax money in these grants??? Grant money is out there and if you need it start looking for it. Grant money goes for Firetrucks for rural communities and also for reading programs for under priviledged kids. Tax money also is used in buying and funding gambling so what is more important to you…..

  25. 30


    Well, this is a tough question but you won’t be losing me as a reader over it. I actually haven’t seen the article so now I’ll have to go read it! You’re entitled to your opinion, Judy and it is nice that everyone is being respectful of it. 🙂

  26. 32


    I just went and read the article. Well….it was an opinion piece. I don’t agree with all that the author wrote but it was an opinion. My guild supports our New England Quilt Museum and they always need money but I guess I am not sure if there are any tax dollars (yours and mine) going towards it. I’ll have to check.

    Interesting conversation piece, though.

  27. 33

    Melissa says

    I totally agree with doesn’t take a genius to see where our country is going. We have to cu t everything but essentials. We are in denial if we don’t see what’s happening. Our country is no longer solvent. It’s so,simple. If you can’t afford something, you don’t buy it. If only our politicians could understand that rule. I feel bad about saying that about the museum… is important but we can’t keep printing money out of thin air.

  28. 34

    Tammie Stephens says

    Judy I 100% agree… And to add… just because money is poorly spent does not mean we need to continue in our downward spiral. If someone wants a ____ (fill in the blank) then fund it, Gather like minded people and build/create what inspires you. If others find it inspires them they will join you and help support it. But we simply must/have to STOP spending money we neither have or on projects which should be privately funded.

  29. 35


    I had no idea the museum was funded by tax dollars, but it wouldn’t be my choice to have it so. I’d like to see a lot of government expenditures ended, and many of them cost more than this one. It’s amazing the things the government can find to spend money on, through grants and other, more direct, methods. I think the university probably decides where it’s tax-related funding is distributed.

  30. 36


    Judy, I completely disagree! But there’s no way you’re losing me as a reader, I’m rusted on … hard as it is to believe, faltering economies do better when governments spend more, especially on small things like the quilt musuem (as opposed to big things like aircraft carriers) – and when they up the taxes to compensate for that spending. The terrible truth … higher taxes and higher government spending benefit everyone in the long term, where cuts in government services, including the arts, will take literally generations to put right (just ask the Brits…).

    • 36.1

      Cheryl L says

      The problem is….it is OUR money that the government is spending….they get their money from us, via taxes, etc. I want them to be responsible with the money they take from me. If my bank account runs low I do not go on a spending spree to make my situation better. Simple economics… works, or should, the same way for the government. One does not improve poor spending habits by spending more…..nor does the government.

  31. 37


    Judy, I totally agree with you. Our Government needs an overhaul, as some of the Representives of our Gov said they were going to do. But , it depends on what is important for each one of them as to whether they can find common ground to vote on what they feel will benefit ‘America’ There are people in our country that are doing without, children that are hungry, but yet one of our elected will find something that may become extinct if they do not have the funds and regulations to protect them.. I am talking about ‘turtles, bugs, beatles, owls etc.. One voice cannot do it all, but together something can be done.

  32. 38


    I agree with you that in a time of hard budgeting decisions, the government needs to put a priority on the basics. I doubt the quilt museum is in any trouble; like PBS, it attracts enough interest that it could easily be self-supporting. And quilting is a frugal art form anyway… I sincerely doubt that those generations of thrifty quilters we are descended from would approve of tax money being used this way. Government money always comes with strings attached.

  33. 39


    You won’t lose me as a reader, You are entitled to your opinion. I both agree and disagree with you.
    You’re right in not wanting your taxes to pay for what seems like unnecessary spending, but let’s face it, the tax funding the quilt museum gets is such small potatoes compared to so much other spending. Bridges to nowhere, unneeded canals, perfectly healthy people on disability for life, Medicare fraud, Medicaid abuse, families on welfare for generations, uncontrolled military spending, etc. etc. Funding museums and libraries is not what got our country into the mess it’s in, and taking funding from them isn’t going to fix the problem.
    As a Nebraska quilter I know that the Nebraska State Quilt Guild contributed a LOT of money to the building of the museum and volunteers have put in a lot of hours there. There have been many private cash donations & wonderful quilt collections donated….worth many thousands of dollars.
    And just so quilters don’t feel picked on, that Tennessee newspaper did a similar article about the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. about a year ago. I really wonder if the author of either article visited either the Quilt Study Center Museum or the Corn Palace and did he/she actually interview people at either place to get a full picture of the funding?

  34. 40

    Donna says

    If the Country was in good financial shape and we didn’t owe China our first born children I would be ok with supporting the museum. The way it is now w need to cut everywhere we can. There is more going out than we can handle at this time. I love amuseums and I love quilts even more but i would also love to not be in debt to China or anybody else for that matter. Just my opinion, we all have one..

  35. 42

    wanda says

    Well as all of you can see we are on the same page. It isn’t plain folks causing us to be in debt. It is Congress ,the president and clonies who decide how the money is spent .They use on. what they want they don’t listen to the public anymore. They do what they want when they want too. They get so many kick backs to pad their own pockets it is shameful. You might ask when will it end? When we set limits on how long someone can be in office and make them live with the same rules we have to live with.

  36. 43

    lw says

    I agree with you. Anything really worth having is worth paying for. They just need to find a business model that will keep the museum open without having to take hand outs.

    I visited the quilt museum in Paducah this spring. Due to the extreme tapestry quality work, I found I couldn”t relate to the quits– they were more fine art than useable, quilted so stiffly that they could stand up like cardboard and I didn’t get nearly as much out of it as I did the local quilt shows that don’t receive funding beyond the entrance fees and booth fees.

  37. 44

    Beth says

    2 thumbs up. Next thing to be cut…$750 million+ being spent on ankle bracelets on elephants to see if they are happy at the zoos. I totally flipped out when I read that in the paper this week. PLEASE give me the budget cutting pencil…we’d be out of debt in no time!

  38. 46


    When I first heard of this issue in the blogosphere, it was presented as this guy who thought that a quilt museum was stupid. Well, that’s his opinion, I thought, and off I went.

    Now that I know that the issue of taxpayer dollars is involved, it just amazes me. I cannot believe we’d use tax dollars to support this. When we went as a family to Monticello and Mount Vernon, I gladly paid high entrance fees because they receive no tax dollars (it was posted as such to explain the prices). I would expect the same at this special interest museum.

    While the amount may seem trivial, nickels and dimes made the phone company, as the phrase goes. We need to mind those small sums to have any hope of righting the ship.

    Just my $.02.

  39. 48

    melissa says

    I agree with you fundamentally but since government funding is used to support the arts I think quilts are just as important as some of the artists and exhibits that have been funded by The National Endowment for the Arts,. They funded Maplethorp’s controversial photograsphs and that horrible exhibit by Serrano called Piss Christ in the 1980’s. They’re an independent agency of the federal government and have spent more than $4 billion since inception in 1965 to support artistic endeavors. I think the question is, “Should taxpayer money be used to fund the arts”? I think not…