Shaker Museum

Installation view, 2018.

Knife basket with twill woven lids. Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1850.

Knife Basket. Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1875-1900.

Tub basket with twilled bottom attributed to Sister Cornelia French, Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1860-1890.

Basket of blanched splint. Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1850-1880.

Basket, Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1875-1900. These small baskets were attached to fancy boxes made for tourists. They held sewing notions.

Hexagonal weave basket with lid. Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1875-1900.

Durable beauty: Baskets from Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon (2018)

Online Exhibition

Fancy Baskets

As demand for utility baskets waned, Shakers began looking to new forms. Prevailing Victorian tastes favored frills and surface adornment over good construction. Shaker doctrine, however, forbade them from making items which “are superfluously furnished, trimmed, or ornamented.” By using quality materials and maintaining high standards of craftsmanship, Shakers incorporated decorative details without succumbing to excess.