Shaker Museum Scheduled To Open in 2023

Posted in museums, the 18th century in the news by Editor on June 23, 2021

Rendering of the Shaker Museum in the village of Chatham, New York. Selldorf Architects is charged with the design of the $18million museum complex. Renderings are presented alongside select Shaker objects as part of a special pop-up exhibition The Future is a Gift, on view in downtown Chatham through August 29 (Image: Selldorf Architects/Shaker Museum). Additional views are available at The Architect’s Newspaper.

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From The NY Times . . .

Patricia Leigh Brown, “The Shakers Are Movers, Too,” The New York Times (20 June 2021). The country’s most significant collection of Shaker objects, out of public view for a decade, will relocate to an $18 million museum complex designed by Annabelle Selldorf.

In an earlier life, the moribund red brick Victorian at the foot of Main Street in this thriving Columbia County village [of Chatham, NY] had been a sanitarium, a hotel and tavern, a furniture store and an auto dealership. These were the warm-up acts for its latest incarnation: a permanent new home for the Shaker Museum, widely considered the country’s most significant collection of Shaker furniture, objects and archival material. The museum, set to open in 2023 and to include a new addition, is being designed by the architect Annabelle Selldorf, whose current projects include the expansion of The Frick Collection in New York and an addition for The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla. . . .

Nelson Byrd Woltz has been tasked to design a Shaker-inspired landscape for the complex, pictured here in the landscape site plan (Nelson Byrd Woltz/Courtesy Shaker Museum).

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The museum’s exhibitions are still in the nascent stages. Maggie Taft, a guest curator, said the permanent exhibition will address the fundamental aspects of Shakerism, which reached its Zenith in the 1840s with 18 villages from Maine to Kentucky, but also the unexpected subtexts. The sect—an international Protestant monastic community—was founded in 1774 by Mother Ann Lee, the charismatic illiterate daughter of an English blacksmith (a swatch of one of her aprons is among the museum’s most prized possessions).

Although the sect was known for gender equality, Ms. Taft noted that women and men were “divided in ways that resembled worldly labor divisions”—with men toiling outside on agriculture and other tasks while the women worked indoors. The exhibition will also explore the different generations of Shakerism, especially the third generation after Mother Ann Lee’s death in 1784, when young women’s ‘encounters’ with her were manifested in drawings and texts thought to be ‘gifts’ from the spirits. . . .

The full article is available here»

Tailor’s counter painted blue, pinewood, ca. 1815
(Shaker Museum)
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