NEW LEBANON, NY.- Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon
has been awarded a $750,000 Responsive Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to create a publicly accessible electronic catalog for its preeminent collection documenting Shaker art and design, and to photograph a portion of the collection. The two and a half year project, which begins July 1, 2016, will result in catalog records for an estimated 17,000 artifacts and 16,000 supporting archive and library materials. This project is the largest effort of its kind to bring images and artifacts of Shaker life into view, on a digital platform, with enormous impact for the research community, for teachers and students, for artists and craftspeople employing Shaker design, and for the general public. The object records and accompanying images will be made freely accessible to everyone online at www.shakerml.org.
"This is transformative for our effort to illuminate the story and the extraordinary legacy of the Shakers," said Lacy Schutz, the museum's executive director. "I'm so grateful to the Luce Foundation for this tremendous investment in the future of Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon."
The museum's object records currently consist of mostly handwritten paper records and catalog cards. An electronic catalog will allow Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon to expand its institutional capacity for curatorial and research work, both in-house and from visiting scholars, other museum professionals, and craftspeople working in the Shaker vernacular. Making the collections available online will allow public access to the collection during a time of transition, when exhibition space is limited. This project also positions Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon as a leader in the field of Shaker design and history, setting the standard for documentation of and access to Shaker collections nation-wide.
"I appreciate the Luce Foundation's support of smaller museums like ours located across this country, said Jeff Daly, chairman of the museum's board. "Such museums add to the richness of our nation and make for interesting discoveries and excursions."
The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. It seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious, and art communities.
"We are excited to support Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon in its renewed effort to study, document, and share the unparalleled permanent collection that is absolutely central to its mission," said Dr. Teresa Carbone, program director for the American Art Program at the Henry Luce Foundation. "Under the direction of Lacy Schutz, the staff is poised to make pivotal progress, and we are confident that this project will be one of many important steps forward."