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The Shaker Museum To Display 100 Shaker Objects at Winter Antiques Show
2008 Winter Antiques Show loan exhibition: The Shaker Museum and Library. Collection of chairs. Last quarter of 19th century, Mount Lebanon, N.Y. Shakers have become best known for the simple grace of their furniture. These chairs are excellent examples of successful Shaker design that is both functional and elegant. Mount Lebanon Shaker Village had a popular chair manufacturing business for more than 150 years, filling individual orders as well as wholesale orders for hotels, restaurants, and department stores.

OLD CHATHAM, NY.- The Winter Antiques Show announces today that The Shaker Museum and Library in Old Chatham, New York, which is home to the most important and largest collection of Shaker materials in the world, will display nearly 100 Shaker artifacts during the renowned 54th annual Winter Antiques Show, January 18-27, 2008 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. The loan exhibition, An Eye Toward Perfection, which will include quintessential Shaker chairs, chests and pails, as well as a rare hand-knit wool rug, was designed by Stephen Saitas and is sponsored by Chubb Personal Insurance for the twelfth consecutive year. This is the first major exhibition of a Shaker collection in New York City in more than a decade.

An Eye Toward Perfection: The Shaker Museum and Library includes some of the best existing examples of objects that demonstrate the Shaker principles of faith, community, industry and design. Shaker designs are widely admired for their simplicity, innovative joinery, quality, and functionality – embodying the “form follows function” principle long before it was associated with modern architecture and industrial design of the 20th Century. Whether sacred or temporal, everything created by Shakers was done with the understanding that it reflected a commitment to earthly perfection. Shakers made furniture for their own use, as well as for sale to the general public.

Murray Bartlett Douglas, a Life Member of the Board of Directors for the Shaker Museum and Library, has been named Honorary Chair for the museum’s Special Committee for the Loan Exhibition. She has served the Museum for more than 30 years, including as President of the Board. Ms. Bartlett Douglas recently retired as Vice Chair of Brunschwig & Fils, her family's business, and has served as a faculty member of the New York School of Interior Design. She was honored by House Beautiful in 2003 as a Giant of Design.

Peter Flynn, Vice President and New York Manager, Chubb Personal Insurance, said, “Our sponsorship serves two wonderful purposes. First, it provides Chubb with an opportunity to help raise money for a worthy cause, East Side Settlement House. Second, it enables Chubb to provide our customers, agents, brokers and other art and antique aficionados with a unique experience.”

The Shaker Museum and Library’s collection was amassed by John S. Williams, Sr., who began collecting in the 1940s by traveling to America’s remaining Shaker communities in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and acquiring examples of their arts, industries, domestic life, spiritual artifacts and manuscripts. His goal was to preserve the breadth and depth of the Shaker story, which is one of the most compelling religious and social movements in America. Shakers were members of a Protestant monastic sect who lived together in communal villages. They carefully documented their domestic, economic and spiritual life in community journals, account books, and personal diaries that commented freely on their relationships with “the World.” John Williams turned his private collection into a public museum in 1950. The collection has been featured in major exhibitions across the country, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1986), Paine Webber Art Gallery (1999) and the Seattle Art Museum (2000).

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