Museum’s public quilting project advances Black storytelling

Courtesy of MAAHMG

The Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG), established in 2018 by co-founders Tina Burnside and Coventry Royster Cowens, takes great pride in uplifting and cultivating the richness of Black Minnesota’s powerful and longstanding impact.

Now through September 2022, MAAHMG will be hosting a community project series where the public is invited to contribute to the narratives of Black Minnesota through the cultural practice of quilting. 

While quilting was not originated by African Americans—the earliest known quilts are dated back to the ancient Egyptians around 3500 B.C.—many quilts can be dated back to the days of early slavery, as far back as the 1600s. 

During this time, quilting was used as a way to record narratives to be kept for generations to come. 

“Quilts are important historical and artistic pieces in the Black community that encompass the tradition of storytelling, and are expressions of culture, community and freedom,” said Tina Burnside, MAAHMG co-founder and curator.

The quilting project can be found at several events this summer throughout the Twin Cities, where the public is invited to join in and be guided by a series of talented artists. These events include the Prince Mural Painting on May 21 from 12 pm to 4 pm; the George Floyd Memorial Celebration on May 28 from 10 am to 7 pm; Open Streets Lyndale on June 5 from 11 am to 4:30 pm; and Juneteenth on June 18 from 12 pm to 6 pm, to name a few. 

There will also be special quilting sessions for community elders.

As Minnesota continues to grapple with the realities of racism in the state and across the nation, the MAAHMG quilting project acts as a timely remedy for the painful tear in the fabrics of our community. The events serve as a gathering and a coming together, much like the quilts that keep our hearts and our stories connected to be remembered for ages to come. 

Select quilts from this project will also be exhibited at MAAHMG in 2023. 

For a full list of quilting events and more information on the quilting project, please visit: www.maahmg.org. These activities are free and open to the public.