After several years from its successful release on DVD and having had aired on more than 200 PBS TV stations, Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics is now publicly available for streaming online free of charge from KET/PBS and Folkstreams.


  • Episode 1: Quilts 101: Antique and Contemporary Quilts - Info | Preview
  • Episode 2: Quilts Bring History Alive - Info | Preview
  • Episode 3: The Quilt Marketplace - Info | Preview
  • Episode 4: What is Art? - Info | Preview
  • Episode 5: Gee's Bend: "The Most Famous Quilts in America?" - Info | Preview
  • Episode 6: How Quilts have been Viewed and Collected - Info | Preview
  • Episode 7: Empowering Women One Quilt at a Time - Info | Preview
  • Episode 8: Quilt Nation: 20,000,000 and Counting! - Info | Preview
  • Episode 9: Quilt Scholarship: Romance and Reality - Info | Preview

For complete series episode information, visit here.


Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics is a fascinating documentary series that explores quilts in fresh new ways by taking you behind the scenes to reveal the unique position of quilts at the center of American culture. Viewers go on an amazing quilt journey from function to art, to women's empowerment, economic clout, American politics and beyond.

Originally released on DVD in 2011, the nine-part series was created by The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc., a non-profit organization that created the first of the state quilt documentation projects in the 1980s. The Kentucky Quilt Project ultimately inspired the documentation of quilts at thousands of quilt days, generating projects that resulted in extensive research, exhibitions and publications, one of which is the Quilt Index. With the quilt projects spanning from 1980 to the present, more than 200,000 quilts have been documented in almost every state and a multitude of other countries.

Executive Producer and Host for the Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics series, Shelly Zegart, a co-founder of The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc., The Alliance for American Quilts, and an expert at the forefront of quilt study for over three decades, has created the first series for television to show the world that quilts are bigger than people think. Using hundreds of examples from quilt makers past and present, Zegart introduces viewers to a group of enlightened academics, savvy dealers, and passionate quilt makers who share their personal stories, experiences and opinions.

Written by Ann E. Berman, author and former art world journalist, and produced by Doug Jefferson, founder of Focal Point Productions, Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics was independently produced and funded. We are immensely appreciative of the support from the very generous group of donors and corporate sponsors of Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics.

"This compelling and visually rich series convinces us that quilts do matter. VERDICT: This wonderful series would be an important addition for all museums, libraries and quilt guilds."

- Library Journal Review

"This fine series has aired on selected PBS stations and is recommended for academic and public library collections. Each episode is further divided into sections making it optimal for classroom selection and viewing."

- Educational Media Review Online (EMRO)

"As a professor of American Studies I can think of no better resource to introduce my students to one of the most visually compelling, historically rich art forms in our country. This series presents a diverse community of artists, scholars, and collectors who speak to the powerful meaning of race, class, gender, and region sewn into every quilt."

- Marcie C. Ferris, Associate Professor, Department of American Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics is in the collections of more than 250 universities, colleges and public libraries, including:

Chicago Public Library / University of Notre Dame / Seattle Public Library / University of Michigan / 
Berea College / University of Minnesota / Cleveland Public Library / George Washington University / 
Sotheby’s Institute of Art / Harvard University / Stanford University / Metropolitan Museum of Art / 
Prince William Public Library System (GA) / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Toronto Public Library


Numerous resources are available to enhance your viewing experience of Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics:


Original website created to support Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics documentary series is currently archived and can be accessed here. It contains all original materials associated with the series, with the exception of the online store that is no longer in service since the series DVD and printed Discussion Guide are out of print and are no longer available for sale.

All series episodes are available for streaming online (go to the Watch section), and all resources associated with the series are digitized and available for download (go to the Resources section).