COLLECTIONS



 


The Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon collects, preserves, and interprets the premier collection of Shaker artifacts in the world. The Museum's holdings span over 200 years of Shaker history and represent more than a half century of scholarship and collecting.

To see highlights from the museum's collection, click here.

(Click on each image for an enlarged view and full description.)

The strength and scope of the collection resulted from the relationship that developed between the Museum's founder, John S. Williams, and members of the Shaker leadership at Mount Lebanon, New York, Canterbury, New Hampshire, Sabbathday Lake, Maine, and Hancock, Massachusetts. With his interest in these people and their history, Williams recognized the need to collect and preserve Shaker artifacts and records so that future generations could learn about the Shakers. He collected objects from every facet of Shaker life, including machinery, tools and equipment, household furnishings, textiles, baskets, oval boxes and woodenware, books, and manuscripts materials that document the temporal and spiritual lives of Shakers. His relationship with Shakers resulted in the establishment of the Shaker Museum in 1950, the first institution devoted to Shaker history.



As a result of Williams' collaboration with the Shakers, more than 80 percent of the Museum's collection came directly from Shaker communities. Since the Museum's founding, the collection has continued to grow through gift and purchase. The collection is strong in all aspects of Shaker material culture and contains furniture, decorative arts, and objects of everyday life and work including stoves, woodworking tools and machinery, oval boxes, wooden carriers, buckets, poplar ware, seed boxes, textile equipment, baskets, brooms, clocks, transportation artifacts, architectural fragments, and objects related to the science and communication industries, and agricultural and medical equipment.



The Museum houses one of the finest Shaker textile collections that includes dresses, cloaks, men's clothing, footwear, bonnets, silks, rugs, household fabrics, dolls, and accessories. The Museum has amassed a diverse and eclectic collection that contains objects from every Shaker community including every size and form of Shaker chair; a tiger maple side chair with pewter tilters from Mount Lebanon; a 13 foot long trestle table from Hancock; a stunning blue work counter from the Meetinghouse at Canterbury; Thomas Corbett's electro-static machine and a 1822 fire engine, a rare marble fountain stone, and a Shaker washing machine, also from Canterbury.