Shaker museum logo on a white background.

Shaker Museum

Fragment of dress believed to have been worn by Mother Ann Lee on her voyage to America in 1774.

A wooden frame with a checkered pattern.

Mother Ann’s name in spirit writing, undated.

A book with a calligraphy on the cover.

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

Online Exhibition

Mother Ann Lee (1736-1784)

Yea; do all your work as though you had a thousand years to live, and as you would if you knew you must die tomorrow.

“So great and God-like was the power of her spirit, that with a few words, and often with a single word, or touch of her hand, she would instantly raise individuals, and sometimes a whole assembly, from a state of the deepest tribulation and distress of soul, to a state of the most heavenly joy and comfort.” This charismatic, illiterate woman traveled throughout New England converting people to the Shaker faith and occasionally arousing the suspicions and sometimes violence of non-sympathetic locals who found her beliefs radical and dangerous, and who also suspected her of being a British spy. When Lee died in 1784, many attributed her death to the physical strain of her travels and the bodily abuse she encountered from angry New Englanders.

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.