Sister Lillian Barlow challenged gender norms when she began working in the chair shop at Mount Lebanon. From early on the Shakers divided work between men and women, and the chairs were men’s work. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, Barlow ran the Mt. Lebanon Woodworking Co. alongside Brother William Perkins. This prominent business created patterns and models, produced cabinets and woodcarvings, and restored antiques. Little is known about how Barlow, who was born in Mississippi, came to live with the Shakers as a child. Before moving into the chair industry, Barlow worked in the more traditionally female commerce of raising and drying sweet corn and canning other vegetables.
Shane Rothe (they/them) joined Shaker Museum in July 2023, working with independent curator Maggie Taft on an exhibition for the new museum space in Chatham. Shane is an artist as well as a curator and continues to create in the mediums of painting, sculpture, writing, and performance. Shane holds a BFA from CalArts and an MA in art history and curatorial studies from the University of Chicago.