Curious Objects: The Shakers, Pt. 1: Faith and Furniture

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In 1750, a millenarian religious movement, the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming, arose in England. More commonly known as the Shakers for their ecstatic dance, today this movement can claim only two living exponents. But the legacy of Shakerism—ideals such as equality between the sexes and among races, sublime music, and simple furniture that seems to prefigure modernism—lives on. In part one of a two-part exploration, Curious Objects host Benjamin Miller considers the Shakers and their material culture in its historical context, with input from Brother Arnold Hadd of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in Maine, Shaker scholar Glendyne Wergland, John Keith Russell Antiques’ Sarah Margolis-Pineo, and Michael O’Connor, curator of the Enfield Shaker Museum in New Hampshire.