Francis Cape - Utopian Benches
Seven benches sit in an austere room. At first glance, they appear to be similar in design. A closer look reveals this to be far from the case. Each bench possesses its own unique qualities, owing to their creator, Francis Cape, and his utilization of designs from seven different intentional communities from both past and present.
Presented in the North Family Wash House at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village, Utopian Benches places the work of Francis Cape in the context of a Shaker village; three of the benches are based on designs from Shaker villages (South Union, Sabbathday Lake, and Mount Lebanon itself), while the rest are sourced from other communal societies such as the Community of True Inspiration in Amana and the Harmony Society. All visitors receive a gallery guide, "We Sit On the Same Bench," and are invited to sit on the benches and engage with the ideas they express - community, cooperative work, simplicity.
Utopian Benches is paired with a second exhibition, From The Collections, which consists of a series of Shaker items specially selected by Francis Cape from the Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon's extensive collections. The items, ranging from a bed to a lap desk, all speak to the Shaker way of thought which inspired the artist's work.
Utopian Benches and From The Collections are both open to the public during operating hours at the North Family historic site (Friday - Monday, 11AM-4PM, from June 13 through October 13). Admission by donation - all donations directly support to the Museum's ongoing preservation work and educational programs.
From Mount Lebanon to the World
June 14, 2014 - January 4, 2015
Farnsworth Art Museum
In close collaboration with Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon and Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, theFarnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine is opening a major exhibition on the Shakers. The exhibit draws primarily on the broad collection of items from Mount Lebanon, and focuses on the community as the spiritual and administrative center of Shaker life. Using this lens, the show will present a historical overview of Shaker religious, social and economic life. It is the first major exhibition to focus to such an extent on the Mount Lebanon Shaker society.
While celebrating the history of the Shakers at Mount Lebanon in New York, the Farnsworth is also exhibiting objects from the communities of Maine in recognition of the state's own Shaker heritage. The Shaker villages of Alfred, Gorham, and Sabbathday Lake all produced remarkable works during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Sabbathday Lake continued into the 21st century, and today stands as the sole active Shaker community in the United States. Its members have been involved in the exhibit in order to tell their story, and Brother Arnold Hadd will officially open the show with a lecture in the Farnsworth Auditorium on June 14 at 1:00PM.
Farnsworth Art Museum
16 Museum Street
Rockland, Maine 04841
For more information on this exhibit, please click here. Visit the Farnsworth website here. If you have additional questions, please contact us.
The Great Stone Barn Project
Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon
The Great Stone Barn was the North Family's iconic structure, and the largest Stone barn in America when built in 1859. In 2013-14 the Museum will be undertaking a stabilization of the massive stone remains. The exhibition, in the Poultry House, traces its history, functioning and current restoration. To view the accompanying online exhibition please click here.
Please join us on June 2 at 7:30PM for a presentation at the Stephentown Historical Society with creator Peter Watson. For more information, contact us.
The Shaker Retiring Room
Permanent Collection at
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Before the North Family Dwelling House was taken down in the 1970s, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City purchased an entire retiring room from the Shaker building. It is now part of the permanent exhibition Period Rooms at the museum. You can learn more about the MET's Shaker room in this article. Or hear from one of the MET's curators on why she goes to the Shaker room to "escape."
Celebrate National Women's History Month:
An Online Shaker Sketchbook
Everyone has a story. Whether profound achievements or simple acts, great stories have something unexpected that is worth telling. In celebration of March, National Women's History Month, we feature the strange, funny, moving, yet not often told stories of 21 Shaker women. Read for yourself how extraordinary the stories of ordinary women can be. Each weekday a new Shaker biography will be featured.
Click on each of the images below to read the biographies of the Shaker women they represent.
Note: Some women may have more than one image associated with them.
All the image information is available in the biographies.