Dedicated to preserving the heritage, teaching the student, inspiring the artist, and promoting a way of life that values the handmade, the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library has its origins in the early years of the Crafts Guild of Manitoba. The Guild was formed in 1928 as a branch of the Canadian Handicrafts Guild, and in 1933 that group established both a Permanent Collection and Library.
Over the years, volunteers worked to develop the collection, create exhibits, establish and deliver programming, and to care for the collection according to museum standards.
The Guild also established, in the early 1930s, a library of craft publications and patterns for use in workshops and by craftspeople.
The Library grew steadily over the years, and in 1948 was named the Gladys Chown Memorial Library in memory of a President of the Guild who died while in office. In the early 1990s volunteers worked to institute established library procedures and to develop the library into a more comprehensive resource.
In 1997 the Crafts Guild of Manitoba closed its doors, but the two collections were kept together and are managed by the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, an independent organization.
VISION: To inspire engagement with the art of craft.
MISSION: Providing resources and a meeting place connecting people to craft.
MANDATE: To collect, preserve and present historical and contemporary crafts within the cultural mosaic of Manitoba.
Respecting the handmade
The MCML Museum Collection currently comprises over 10,000 artifacts and archival materials, including both historical and contemporary pieces. Our collection includes bobbin lace, ceramics, crochet, embroidery, glass, knitting, needle lace, paper, quilts, rug hooking, sculpture, tatting, weaving, woodworking and more. The museum collection also has archival holdings of textual materials, photographs, and a slide collection.
The MCML museum collections are catalogued in an in-house database. Portions of this catalogue are available on Artefacts Canada.
Researchers may view portions of the Museum collection for research purposes. It is advisable to contact MCML staff two weeks prior to requiring access with a research request topic.
Donating to the Museum Collection
The Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library accepts donation of hand crafted items as outlined in our Collections Management Policy. MCML reserves the right to decide on each individual donation and may not approve all items offered. Individuals with items to offer for donation should contact MCML staff arrange a meeting to evaluate each item.
View selected artifacts in the MCML Collection
The Gladys Chown Memorial Library is a vital part of the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library. It was established in the 1930s as part of the Crafts Guild of Manitoba and officially named the Gladys Chown Memorial Library in 1948. The library is a unique collection containing materials dating back as far as the late 19th century; some foreign language books; and recently published books and periodicals. A significant portion of the holdings are unique in Canada.
The library collects and preserves archival material, manuscripts, books, periodicals, photos, patterns, CDs, DVDs and any other paper or digital items relating to the history and practice of crafts. There are currently over 3,500 books, 1,500 magazines and journals, hundreds of vintage patterns, and a vertical file of more contemporary patterns, booklets and miscellaneous materials.
The library is a lending library for eligible members of MCML and a research facility for all members of the public.
The books, magazines, vertical file material and patterns are catalogued with an in-house database which is available to the public during open hours. Its holdings can also be searched online through AMICUS, a free national catalogue that shows the published materials held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) as well as in over 1300 libraries across Canada.
Search the Gladys Chown Memorial Library Collection
MCML members may borrow up to fifteen (15) books for three (3) week borrowing periods.
Non-Members of MCML may borrow books via Inter-Library Loan (ILL) through their local public, university or special topic libraries.
These libraries must be over 100km from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to qualify for the ILL service. There is a $5 fee for all ILL loans
to cover the cost of shipping.
MCML accepts donations of books to the MCML library holdings. Only books related directly or indirectly to craft are accepted. MCML
only rarely accepts donations of magazines. Please call or email MCML prior to dropping off any library items.
Books donated to the MCML library might be:
The Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library offers a series of fun, hands-on, craft-based school programs with links to the Manitoba curriculum for grades 1-11. Students are able to interactively explore craft processes and histories using objects from the museum’s collection. Programs can be delivered on-site at the museum or in-classroom.
Fees: $5 per student. When you book a second class for the same day, receive 20% off the second class!
To book: send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 204-615-3951.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a museum? The Junior Curators program provides students with the opportunity to explore various aspects of Manitoba’s material heritage through fun hands-on activities while also engaging them in the basics of museum practice like collections management. This program has four presentation topics to choose from: Life on a Quarter Section, Natural Inspirations, Fun with Textiles, and Indigenous Textiles. Each presentation topic features a series of unique artifacts from the museum’s collection which students will learn how to handle, care for, and catalogue.
Using one-of-a-kind artifacts from MCML’s collection students will learn about symbols of Manitoba and the people who made them. This program examines the Manitoba Sampler, the Manitoba Tartan, and the Metis Sash, all of which have unique histories. From natural history to industry, the Manitoba Sampler showcases the symbols we use to represent the province of Manitoba. The Manitoba Tartan harkens back to the Scottish settlers who started the Red River Settlement and their impact on the province. We will also explore the rich Metis culture that grew along with the province with the help of the Metis Sash. This program will explore themes of symbolism, identity, and their relation to craft.
The Botany and Biology program allows your class to explore the science behind the organic materials used in craft! Through various hands-on activities and experiments, you may discover how plants are turned into fabric, how to make dyes from organic matter, or how to tell the difference between natural and synthetic fibres.