Janice Tauer Wass has worked for thirty years in museums and spent eighteen years as the Curator of Decorative Arts at the Illinois State Museum. Although she has been sewing since childhood, her interest in textiles and their history was nurtured at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where she earned a B.S. in Textiles, Clothing and Design in 1972. After receiving a Masters Degree in Library Science in 1973, she worked at the Rochester Museum and Science Center where, as Curator of History, she wrote books and organized exhibits on samplers, wall stenciling, and historic clothing. In 1980 she earned a Master’s Degree in American History at the State University of New York at Brockport.
In 1986 she joined the staff of the Illinois State Museum and continued to curate many exhibits on historical subjects as well as textiles. In Illinois she worked on exhibits of quilts including those registered with the Illinois Quilt Research Project, the pioneering quilt artistry of Bertha Stenge, and the contemporary quilt artistry of Caryl Bryer Fallert. Before she retired in 2004, she had the pleasure of researching a collection of over 160 Amish quilts newly acquired by the Museum. This work resulted in a book and two traveling exhibitions.
Jan has served as Vice President for Education for the International Quilt Association. From 2001 to 2007, she served on the Board of the Quilt Alliance and continues to assist them with the Quilt Index, a joint project with Michigan State University. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the American Quilt Study Group. Since retiring she has served as a consultant on quilts for the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana and the University of Texas at Austin. She has also lectured and taught quilt design workshops at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. She currently resides in east Tennessee.