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Shaker Museum

Monochord or piano-violin made by Brother Elisha Blakeman, Church Family, Mount Lebanon, NY

Monochord or piano-violin made by Brother Elisha Blakeman, Church Family, Mount Lebanon, NY

Jun 5, 2024


Kinderhook, NY – Shaker Museum announces its summer 2024 exhibition, Unexpected Shaker. True to its title, this pop-up exhibition at the museum’s gallery space in the Kinderhook Knitting Mill focuses on unusual, lesser-known, and one-of-a-kind objects in the museum’s collection of over 18,000 material objects of Shaker culture. 

Shaker Museum Director of Library & Collections Jerry Grant explains the inspiration for the exhibition’s theme: “In a 2019 article in Mortise & Tenon magazine, Brother Arnold Hadd of the Sabbathday Lake, ME, Shakers remarked that museums tend to exhibit Shaker objects universally agreed to represent excellence in Shaker design. These examples, however, fall short of telling the whole story of the Shakers. Unexpected Shaker presents examples from Shaker Museum’s collection that reflect the importance of function over aesthetics, the wear and tear of use, and the infiltration of worldly styles in Shaker life. Each vignette includes biographical information and, when possible, photographs of the maker.” 

Some of the objects in this exhibition include a monochord (or piano-violin) designed and built by Brother Elisha Blakeman of the Mount Lebanon, NY, Church Family, a Victorian tripod sewing stand built by Brother Thomas Fisher of the Enfield, CT, Shaker Community, and an oil painting of the Canterbury, NH, Shaker Meetinghouse by Sister Cora Helena Sarle. 

Read the full press release here.

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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.