Laura McDowell Hopper is a historian, curator, writer, and quilter. She works as the Associate Editor of Quiltfolk magazine, a dream job that combines her love of quilts with her skills in research and oral history. At Quiltfolk, Laura has profiled quilt scholars, museums, quilt industry professionals, designers, artists, and quilters from all walks of life.
Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in history and museum studies, a master’s degree in public history, and a certificate in textile preservation. She worked for nearly fifteen years as an award-winning museum curator with previous experience at the Newberry Library, the Michigan State University Museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, and more. Before starting her job with Quiltfolk, Laura was the curator at the Pick Museum of Anthropology at Northern Illinois University, an academic museum with a strong collection of textiles. Her exhibits won awards from the Illinois Association of Museums and the American Association of State and Local History and in 2018, she was the recipient of NIU’s Women Who Make a Difference Award in recognition of her work on a quilt exhibit. A community quiltmaking project she co-facilitated at NIU is the subject of a short documentary called The Women in Science Quilt Project.
Laura trained as a classical violist for a decade and stays connected to her musical past by making quilts inspired by music. Her quilts have been juried into QuiltCon, the International Quilt Festival and more. She currently serves as the President of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild and as a former board member of the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Born in Germany and raised in Michigan and Texas, she now lives near Chicago with her spouse and their dog Taco.