Celebrities, others shake up 50th anniversary of Hancock Shaker Village

  • Hancock Shaker Village

    Hancock Shaker Village

Thirty guest curators, including celebrities who collect Shaker furniture and objects, were recruited to help shape the Hancock Shaker Village's exhibition "True and Honest Before the World" in the Berkshire Mountains.

Filmmaker Ken Burns, architect/designer Michael Graves, television host Al Roker, furniture maker Thomas Moser, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and others, each chose an object from Hancock’s vast collection of Shaker art, furniture, tools, and textiles that for them best illustrates the Shakers’ enduring influence.

One of the guest curators was videotaped playing the Shaker song "Simple Gifts" on cello, but it wasn't Yo-Yo Ma. His choice was a Shaker oval box for its simple, timeless beauty.

This living history museum, a collection of 18 historic buildings, including the 1826 "Round Stone Barn", and 22,000 objects, is situated on the site of a Shaker village, active from 1790 to 1960, in Pittsfield, Mass. The Shakers were a religious sect, which dwindled in numbers after 1840, known for pacifism, celibacy, and communal living and celebrated now for their fine craftsmanship.

The exhibition is on view now through Oct. 31, 2010.

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