Focus On: Shaker Woodenware (Part 1)
December 3, 2016–August 27, 2017
M. Stephen and Miriam R. Miller Shaker Gallery
Oval Carrier Box, ca. 1800, Maple, made in New Lebanon, NY, Courtesy of Steve and Miriam Miller
The Shakers believe that manual labor is a form of worship, an act of serving God, and that it should be accomplished flawlessly and efficiently. This belief and lifestyle permeates throughout the enduring objects showcased in this exhibition. From the collection of Steve and Miriam Miller, Focus On: Shaker Woodenware (Part 1) demonstrates the highest quality of Shaker-crafted woodenware from communities in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Ann Lee (1736–84), known to Believers as “Mother Ann,” was the leader of the Shakers in America, after emigrating from England in 1774 with a small group of followers. Several objects in this collection—including a cherry work box, select rectangular boxes, the four fancy pails, among others—were made at the peak of Shaker growth in the mid-1800s. At this time, spiritual revelations of Mother Ann were revived and Believers’ commitments to perfection of themselves and their work was renewed.
Other objects in this exhibition, created during the late-1800s to the mid-1900s, reveal the same level of thoughtful execution. Viewers can become immersed in Shaker culture within this exhibition’s variety of carefully constructed sewing spools, oval boxes, poplarware, carriers, fancy pails, swifts, and much more. Some of these objects were made for sale to the outside world, while the rest were for the Shakers’ own use. Part 2, a continuation of this exhibition, will follow beginning September, 2017, in the Steve and Miriam Miller Gallery.
May 25, 2017
The Shakers (60 min.)
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Explore 200 years of Shaker life in this PBS documentary by Ken Burns, an American filmmaker known for his use of historical footage and ...