The Center for Knit and Crochet, (“CKC”), was incorporated in December 2012 as a Wisconsin Non-stock corporation to “preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting, crochet, and related arts.” To achieve these goals, CKC plans to establish an online museum, study center, and social networking environment enhanced by exhibitions, access to current scholarship, and educational programs. From about 2011-2012 – and prior to the filing of the Articles of Incorporation with the State of Wisconsin – CKC was also known as the “Knitting Heritage Museum.”
On November 8-10, 2012, approximately fifty individuals, including knitters, crocheters, scholars, museum professionals, authors, designers, teachers, guild members, and representatives of the knitting and crochet industry from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom attended a symposium in Madison, Wisconsin entitled “Knitting Heritage Museum: A Work in Progress.” This symposium explored the feasibility of starting a museum dedicated to knitting and crochet – textiles that are currently vulnerable to neglect and loss as subjects for scholarship and as objects worthy of preservation and exhibition. (See Attachment to Form 1023 for full list of sponsors, speakers, and symposium topics.)
At the conclusion of the symposium, the attendees voted to create CKC – the first institution in the United States dedicated solely to the collection, preservation, study, and exhibition of knitting, crochet, and related arts. Over the past year, a nine-member Board used the results of professionally-facilitated working sessions at the symposium to develop a 25-year vision plan to create the CKC, and drafted Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Operating Procedures as a basis for obtaining tax-exempt status for CKC as a public charity. If successful, CKC’s online museum, study center, and social networking environment could form the basis for creating a physical museum at a later date that would allow CKC to provide the full range of services to the public currently associated with more traditional museums – a permanent or rotating collection, a fixed exhibition space, a conference and study center, an archive, and a conservation lab.
Except as specifically noted in the sections that follow, activities and projects of CKC will be accomplished by the efforts of volunteers, museum professionals, CKC staff (yet to be hired), paid consultants, and student interns. Currently, Board members and others with pertinent expertise are carrying forward the activities of CKC on a volunteer basis.
CKC will obtain funds for its activities, described below, by selling memberships, and by seeking donations from individuals and organizations via our website, via e-mail, mail, and personal solicitation. In the future, CKC may also apply for grants from public and private sources, including foundations and the government. CKC may further conduct fundraising campaigns, and solicit corporate sponsorships and in-kind donations (for example, for booth space at consumer trade shows where we can promote the CKC’s charitable purposes and activities). CKC plans to establish an online store to sell CKC logo merchandise and other merchandise of special interest to members and the public. The sale of logo merchandise will serve to promote public awareness of CKC and to encourage membership; profits from the store will be used to support CKC’s ongoing activities. Additionally, CKC may request that groups benefiting from in-person presentations pay honoraria.
Section II. Near Term Activities (1-5 Years)
The following activities represent current, ongoing or shortly to be initiated activities that are designed to build CKC as an online presence, recruit members, donors, sponsors, and institutional partners, and increase public awareness of and participation in CKC’s charitable activities.
1. Develop Standardized Knitting and Crochet Nomenclature
CKC is developing a uniform, technically accurate, user-friendly, standardized nomenclature for knitting and crochet. Knitted and crocheted objects are widely dispersed through museums of art, craft, textile production, and social history, yet there is currently no uniform nomenclature for knitting and crochet in common use by museum curators, collections managers, and independent collectors. Inaccurate, incomplete, and/or non-standard descriptions limit the accessibility of these objects for study and use (whether in exhibitions or as a resource for contemporary knitters and crocheters), and contribute to their devalued status among the broader category of textile arts that museums collect, study, preserve, and exhibit.
CKC will begin to solicit feedback and commentary on its draft nomenclature and to test its efficacy in 2014-2015.
CKC will use its nomenclature as the scaffolding upon which to build a searchable digital collection of knitting and crochet. This digital collection will form the foundation of CKC’s virtual museum. CKC’s nomenclature will make it possible to share information about knitting and crochet across populations and institutions, to mount online and in-person exhibitions, and to offer other educational programs and activities to the public.
2. Launch a Virtual Museum
CKC will develop and maintain a virtual museum of high-quality digital images and catalogue records of knitted and crocheted objects in CKC collections, affiliate museum/library collections, personal collections, or all three, that are embedded in a secure format that is searchable using the nomenclature created in Activity 1. Institutional and individual participation in this resource will be voluntary. CKC Board members and other volunteers with pertinent expertise are developing the concept for the virtual museum. CKC will also engage competent paid contractors with technical and legal expertise to create and host the virtual museum online and to prepare and help execute the agreements needed to share its content with the public. CKC’s virtual museum will expand upon the current interest in sharing museum collections online by sharing with the public a specific group of understudied objects from a potentially global group of interested individuals, private collectors, and institutions.
The virtual museum will advance CKC’s mission to preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting and crochet by greatly improving the ability of anyone who is interested in knitting and crochet to locate and view objects across collections, and to communicate with other CKC online users about them. First, the process of selecting, vetting, and coding objects for inclusion in this resource will improve the accuracy of the information about their historical and cultural significance, the designs and techniques used, and other features. Second, the virtual museum will help individuals and institutions locate a relevant cohort for their holdings among other institutions and private collectors. Third, the virtual museum will also facilitate new scholarship because scholars and interested members of the public will be able to locate, identify, and study similar objects that are now widely dispersed among collections. Finally, the virtual museum will encourage more frequent exhibitions of knitted and crocheted objects because institutions will be able to display in new and enriched contexts many objects that are not currently or regularly on public view.
Launching the virtual museum will be the central activity of CKC in its first five years. CKC will begin fundraising and development in 2014, and plan the launch before the end of 2015.. The virtual museum, in concert with CKC’s website, and with other online and in-person programs CKC plans to develop in the future, will create a center of activity, research, and public engagement around knitting and crochet at CKC online.
3. Establish Preservation and Exhibition Guidelines
CKC plans to develop and share online guidelines, methods, and procedures based on best practices in museums to help individuals, informal groups, guilds, and institutions preserve, catalogue, and exhibit knitted and crocheted objects, related tools, and supporting documents. CKC further plans to develop instructional programs for use by local historical societies, museums, guilds, informal groups, and private collectors on the special attributes of knitted and crocheted objects, how to identify and document them, how to clean them, decide whether to repair, repair as appropriate, store and maintain them, and share them, if desired, in local exhibitions or online at CKC. CKC will further create and share an index or resource list of pertinent conservation information published elsewhere, whether in print or online. CKC’s virtual museum will also feature a searchable repository for collecting narratives about knitting, crochet, and related arts, and for sharing news of local preservation efforts and exhibitions.
This public education initiative is essential to preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting, crochet, and related arts, and to prevent neglect, damage, or loss of important knitted and crocheted objects and the narratives associated with them. This will be an ongoing activity of CKC, first occurring in 2014 and continuing during the life of the organization.
4. Recruit Members
CKC plans to recruit individuals, groups, institutions, and businesses to become members of CKC. Members will have privileges determined by CKC’s Membership Committee and based on current practices among museums. Members may receive special privileges, such as upgraded access to some elements of CKC’s website, and/or reduced or free admission to CKC exhibitions and occasional members-only events, special newsletters, a membership directory, and special offers for discounts or free gifts from sponsoring businesses and publications.
CKC will use member recruitment and services to engage a community of supporters with many skills and abilities in helping CKC to preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting, crochet, and related arts. Members will be eligible to serve on CKC’s Board of Directors and Committees, and will be encouraged to become involved in developing and directing the CKC’s charitable activities.
CKC plans to develop, curate, and mount online exhibitions, as well as temporary and traveling exhibitions, juried shows, and design competitions. Such shows will be suitable for art associations, historical societies, university galleries and museums, libraries, and other similar venues. The exhibitions will, over time, examine many historical and contemporary contexts of knitting and crochet – as art, craft, process, material, technology, and social history, among other contexts.
CKC Board and volunteers, in cooperation with museum professionals, plan to organize the first exhibition by 2016. This activity, over time, will engage guest curators, academics, artists, graduate students, interns, staff, and others, as needed, on a paid and/or volunteer basis, as appropriate.
CKC will use these exhibitions to make fine or interesting examples of knitting and crochet, relevant scholarship, and related resources available to the public online and in person, and to interest a broader population in the CKC and in knitting, crochet, and related art forms.
6. Conduct Promotional Events
CKC plans to conduct promotional events that might include receptions, tours, contests, and the like. Many of these events will be revenue-neutral or fundraising events. Some of these events will be offered as member benefits or at discounted prices to members.
CKC plans to host events online, or in person at trade shows, guild meetings, fiber fairs, historical reenactments, educational facilities, exhibition facilities, and other similar venues.
Such events will serve CKC’s mission to preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting and crochet by increasing public awareness about the charitable work of CKC. They will provide the opportunity to connect with new and potential members, and to develop personal and professional connections between CKC Board and staff, members, donors, sponsors, and partnering institutions.
II. Mid-Term Activities – 3-5+ Years
The following activities will build and expand upon the activities described above. These activities will use the online platform and relationships developed in Section I to reach new audiences.
7. Develop Educational Outreach, Materials, and Programs
Once CKC’s virtual museum is in place, CKC plans to expand access to the resource, and the value of the content it delivers to the public, through educational outreach, materials, and programs. Delivery of educational materials and programs will likely be in print, in person, and online. Topics may include the history and social history of knitting and crochet; its materials and techniques; preservation methods; the work of notable artists, designers, or instructors; new scholarship; current advancements and events in knitting and crochet; and the like. Formats may include symposia, lectures, workshops, and demonstrations in addition to print materials in downloadable formats, or in pamphlets, study boxes, and the like. The intended audiences will vary in age from children to adults. Some content will be free; some content may be offered for a fee.
This activity will further CKC’s commitment to preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting, crochet and related arts by providing its members, the public, and other institutions with a wide range of formal and informal educational programs, materials, and resources specifically about knitting, crochet, and related arts.
8. Promote/Publish Research
CKC plans to share access to new and existing research on knitting, crochet, and related arts, whether funded by CKC or not. Such material may be presented in print or online, by direct publication, or in reviews, articles, abstracts, interviews, links, or other means permitted by law. CKC may also publish proceedings or papers from its educational programs, including symposia, lectures, workshops, and artist demonstrations or interviews. CKC may in the future also solicit, establish, designate, or endow funds for research, and/or publish exhibition catalogues, academic papers, or a journal. CKC will determine the timing of such activities according to the future needs and interests of CKC and its members and users.
9. Maintain a Research Library and Archives
CKC may, over time, desire to compile a research library on knitting, crochet, and related arts containing books, periodicals, videos and other materials relevant to the history of knitting and crochet, whether purchased or donated. CKC, in addition to keeping its own records, may become a repository for the personal and corporate papers of individuals, organizations, and businesses that are important to the development of knitting and crochet.
The library and archives will be a critical resource to develop over time to promote access to and scholarship on knitting, crochet, and related arts and to support CKC’s exhibitions and other programs. Collections and Gifts Policies, which will include provisions for collecting these materials, are expected to be in place in 2014.
10. Establish a Physical Collection
CKC may, over time, begin to collect fine or interesting examples of knitting, crochet, and related arts in accordance with appropriate standards for acquisition and care applicable to museums and similar institutions. CKC will then undertake to preserve, conserve, study, and display them.
The Board and/or a Collections Committee will need to approve any plans of CKC to acquire and care for objects, whether through donations or purchases, on a case-by-case basis. Collections and Gifts Policies are expected to be in place in 2014. In future, and based on funding, staff, the availability of a museum-compliant storage facility, donor interest, institutional need, and other factors, CKC may wish to begin to collect from private individuals and institutions.
III. Long-term Goal – 10-25+ Years
11. Establish a Physical Museum
CKC is committed to creating an online museum, study center and social networking environment that shares objects from multiple institutions as the cornerstone of its mission “to preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting, crochet and the related arts.” However, the CKC’s online museum may also form a reasonable basis for testing the efficacy of establishing a physical museum, with an exhibition space, lecture and classroom facilities, climate-controlled storage, a conservation lab, a research library, and a museum gift shop. This activity will require enthusiastic purpose-based fundraising reaching all corners of the knitting and crochet community.
If such a goal can be realized, it will advance the mission of the CKC in all the ways that are not possible to achieve online – most particularly to create regular and in-person public access to knitted and crocheted objects, and to related programs and services in the way that traditional museums do, but sustained by a robust and global online community of supporters that has been developed and maintained over some years.
Karen Kendrick-Hands is an attorney, community activist and lifelong, obsessive knitter: artisan, published designer, retailer and educational consultant. Inspired in part by quilt collections and study centers, and spurred by the limited access to knitting and crochet in existing museum and research settings, she is leading the effort to develop the Center For Knit and Crochet, Inc., as a knitting heritage museum and resource to collect, preserve, document and share knitted and crocheted objects and their cultural significance.
The Center for Knit and Crochet
517 Scott Street