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Shaker Museum

Medicine Packaging Room, Center Family, Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1880. Shaker sisters and young girls work at packaging A. J. White’s Mother Seigel’s Curative Syrup. Sisters bottled, labeled, and packaged the medicine.

A group of people sitting around a table.

Vat with bottles and carrying case, Center Family, Mount Lebanon, NY, ca 1860s. This vat was used for mixing medicinals made from barks, flowers, leaves, and chopped roots of various plants soaked in a solution.

A wooden barrel with a lot of sticks in it.

Break every yoke: Shakers, gender equality, and women’s suffrage (2017)

Online Exhibition

The Medicinal Industry 1880-1940

Shaker sisters were an integral part of manufacturing botanical medicines at Mount Lebanon, filling, corking, labeling, and boxing bottles for shipping. After the Civil War, when the medicinals business flourished, many outside manufacturers subcontracted with the largely female Shaker workforce, finding them well trained, disciplined, and honest. Among other products, Shaker sisters produced nearly 24,000 bottles of Norwood’s Tincture of Veratrum Viride, one of the largest selling medicinal preparations in the world at the time.

A black and white photo of a person smiling.

Shane Rothe

Curatorial Associate

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.