Shaker Museum and Library

The Shaker Museum and Library was founded in 1950 by John S. Williams, Sr. on the site of his Old Chatham farm, in collaboration with the Shaker leadership then extant at Canterbury Shaker Village, NH, Sabbathday Lake, ME, and Hancock Shaker Village, MA.

The Shaker Museum was the first and, at that time, only public museum dedicated to preserving the life, work, art and religious history of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers.

The important artifacts that the Shakers made available to the Shaker Museum and Library reflect the role they expected the institution to play in the preservation of their history. Between 1950 and 1962, 70 percent of the collection was acquired. The capstone of the initial collecting effort was the accumulation of journals, printed material, manuscripts, and photographs in the care of the Central Ministry that were presented to the Shaker Museum and Library in 1962 by Eldress Emma B. King.

The Shaker Museum and Library has built a reputation as the premier study collection of Shaker life, culture and religion and as an essential resource for scholars and researchers. The Museum was first accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) in 1972. Upon the founder’s death in 1982, the institution evolved from a family-based collection to a professional institution. In 1990, the Board of Directors changed the organization’s name to the Shaker Museum and Library, in recognition of the dual nature of the institution’s collections.

Place Categories: Art MuseumPlace Tags: illustration, paintings, Photography, printmaking and sculptures

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