Shaker museum logo on a white background.

Shaker Museum

Installation view, 2018.

A collection of baskets on display in a museum.

Utility basket with rawhide-bound rim. Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1840-1860. "Z &" was a building code used at Mount Lebanon to indicate that the basket was used in the Sawmill.

A wicker basket with the letter z on it.

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

Online Exhibition

Marked Baskets

Baskets could be found everywhere in Shaker communities. They were found in dwelling houses and wash houses holding dirty and clean laundry; in fields and orchards for carrying fruits, vegetables, and grains; in saw mills for transporting chips, kindling, and sawdust to start fires; in carding mills and spin shops for holding raw wool, carded wool, and yarn; and in the hands of individuals as personal work baskets.

A number of baskets are clearly marked to designate where they belong. The “Z&” is thought to have meant the basket was used in building “Z” which may have referred to the sawmill, and the basket marked “SXX” is thought to have been used in the Sisters’ Workshop.