San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

From traditional folk blankets to historic quilts, art-lovers and crafters will appreciate this incredibly diverse collection of textiles.

Those with an eye for the visual arts will enjoy the small but remarkable collection at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Dedicated to art forms that rarely receive the attention they deserve, the museum was the first of its kind when it opened in 1977.

Explore the detail, color and craftsmanship in the 850-strong collection. Works vary in age, origin and material, and the myriad of patterns and styles are as impressive as they are beautiful. Some hail from as far away as Indonesia and China, while others are from American artists past and present. Quilts range from 19th-century creations to the contemporary. You’ll also learn about production techniques and traditions from around the world and across the eras.

One of the museum’s key goals is to celebrate the rejuvenation of the craft in the latter half of the 20th century, as well as its transition to a fully-fledged art form. View works from renowned local artists, along with contemporary works with a more political bent. Special exhibitions are usually a key feature in the museum, so make sure you check the website for details.

Find a unique souvenir or gift among the handmade creations in the museum store. As well as textile arts and crafts, there are books, toys and jewelry.

Visit the Museum of Quilts and Textiles in conjunction with other galleries and businesses during the South First Friday art walk. For this event, participating venues open their doors during the evening on the first Friday of the month.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, and closed on major public holidays. Visitors can nominate their own entry fee on the first Friday of every month. Tours can be organized at an extra cost, and you must book in advance.

The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is located in the heart of the city and is close to a light rail station. There is metered parking just outside the museum.