ROM Celebrates the Artistry of Quilts in Canada

Quilts: Made in Canada displays rare quilts from ROM’s collection



TORONTO, April 11, 2024 – This summer, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) will celebrate the artistry of quilt making with a new exhibition highlighting remarkable Canadian-made quilts. Showcasing significant quilts drawn from ROM’s extensive collection, Quilts: Made in Canada opens on June 29 and runs through to November 17, 2024. 

Quilts: Made in Canada will present over twenty exceptional examples of quilting from the 1850s through to the present. In pieces from across the country, the tradition of quilt making in Canada reveals a long-standing commitment to the reuse of materials, as well as the importance of community. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will encounter intricate designs and handmade details that capture everyday life in both historic and contemporary Canada, further illustrating the enduring relevance and power of the medium.

“From the homespun quilts of early settlers to the richly patterned quilts of contemporary Indigenous makers, this exhibition is an intimate history of more than 150 years of life in Canada,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO.

Quilts: Made in Canada showcases the art of quilt making through thematic sections that focus on remake and reuse, creativity, family, and community. From the traditional bed cover to the intricately adorned show piece, these exquisitely patterned, and meticulously detailed quilts speak to the ingenuity and skill of their makers across generations.

“Treasured by the families and descendants of those who made them, these quilts are now treasured by ROM," says Arlene Gehmacher, L.R. Wilson Curator of Canadian Art & Culture and advising curator to Quilts: Made in Canada. “We are honoured to showcase these heirlooms and offer visitors an exceptional moment to appreciate quilt making."

Highlights of the exhibition include the memorial quilt from Toronto’s Casey House, a specialty hospital caring for people living with and at risk of HIV, as well as The Tree of Peace Saves the Earth by Minaajimo-Kwe/Alice Olsen Williams, a member of Curve Lake First Nation, where quilting acts as an expression of Indigenous strength and sovereignty.

The variety of quilts on display throughout the exhibition will offer plenty of inspiration for visitors to try their own hand at designing a quilt with an interactive hands-on activity in the gallery. Programs and special events for both novice and experienced quilters alike will take place throughout the run of the exhibition.

Members will have the first opportunity to experience Quilts: Made in Canada at the Member Preview on Friday, June 28. Quilts: Made in Canada is free with general admission and on display at ROM from June 29 to November 17, 2024, in ROM’s Level 3, Third Floor Centre Block.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Royal Exhibitions Circle.

Image credit: Northern Night (detail), 1956, Ada B. Torrance, Simcoe County. Gift of the Star Weekly. Image © ROM. 



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Opened in 1914, ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) showcases art, culture, and nature from around the world and across the ages. Today, ROM houses more than 13 million objects, from Egyptian mummies to contemporary sculpture, from meteorites to dinosaurs. ROM is the most visited museum in Canada and one of the top ten museums in North America. It is also the country’s preeminent field research institute, with a diverse range of experts who help us understand the past, make sense of the present, and shape a shared future. Just as impressive is ROM’s facility—a striking combination of heritage architecture and the cutting-edge Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, which marks the Museum as an iconic landmark and global cultural destination. 

We live on in what we leave behind.