Museum needles taxpayers
A quilt museum may seem like an ideal summer vacation destination
for the Waltons, Aunt Bee or Ma Ingalls, but quilting fails to hold the
interest of most Americans today. Since department stores carry a wide
selection of affordable bedding, and special memories can be recorded by
photographs and videos rather than by laboring over scraps of cloth,
quilts have become largely irrelevant in modern culture.
It's too bad for taxpayers that irrelevancy didn't stop lawmakers
from dumping taxpayers' hard-earned money into subsidizing a quilt
museum in Lincoln, Neb. — including hundreds of thousands of federal
tax dollars supplied by residents of the Chattanooga area who will never
visit the boondoggle.
The International Quilt Study Center and Museum maintains a stash of
3,500 quilts, which is believed to be the largest collection of quilts
in the world. In addition to storing, preserving, studying and promoting
quilts and quiltmaking, the museum also features a patchwork of
quilt-focused lectures and exhibits. Examples of the museum's
presentations include, "Kit Quilts: More Than They Were Cut Out to Be,"
"The Amish and Their Quilts" and "Indigo Gives America the Blues."
The museum is housed in an enormous 37,000-square-foot building on
the campus of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Even though the
building was funded privately, much of the expense of operating the
museum comes out of the pockets of taxpayers.
The International Quilt Study Center and Museum is operated through
the University of Nebraska's Department of Textiles, Clothing and
As a result, the school picks up the tab for a sizeable chunk of the
museum's budget. Since the university is funded publically, and relies
on both state and federal subsidies, the museum's costs needle taxpayers
in Nebraska and throughout the country.
In 2011, roughly 23.5 percent, or $39,038, of the university-funded
portion of the museum's $166,120 budget will come courtesy of federal
taxpayers. Nebraska state taxpayers will shoulder approximately $38,374
of the museum's funding this year.
This year, the combined federal and state tax burden to support the quilt museum is expected to exceed $80,000.
In addition to the tax dollars slipped into the University of
Nebraska budget each year to subsidize the museum, the organization is
routinely showered with tax dollars from local, state and federal arts
and humanities bureaucracies.
Shortly after the museum set up business in 1997, the National
Endowment for the Humanities raided federal coffers to award the museum a
series of grants to fund an endowment. By 2002, the museum had received
$350,000 in NEH handouts at the expense of American taxpayers.
The Institute for Museum and Library Services, which is also funded
federally, awarded the quilt museum a $30,000 grant in 2004 and another
$800 handout in 2009.
Nebraska's Humanities Council, which is financed primarily through
federal NEH funds, awarded the museum a total of $27,628 between 2003
This year, Nebraska's quilt cathedral snagged $25,565 from the
Nebraska Arts Council, which is funded through a mixture of state tax
dollars and federal National Endowment for the Arts money.
Local tax dollars frequently find their way to the quilt museum, as well.
The Lincoln Arts Council has dispensed $3,900 in taxpayer-funded giveaways to the museum since 2004, including $1,500 last year.
It is said that "a quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul."
With over $1 million of tax money spent subsidizing the International
Quilt Study Center and Museum since its inception, it could also be said
that "a quilt museum will snatch your wallet and take your money."
I've added a link so you can add your voice to the ignorance.