To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hancock Shaker Village as an outdoor living history museum, a special exhibit, “True and Honest Before the World” is on view in the Beatrice O. Chace Galleries at HSV from May – October, 2010 and again from April – October, 2011.
We invited people from all walks of life to participate. Our guest curators included designer Michael Graves, television personality Al Roker, furniture maker Thomas Moser, and the most famous cellist in the world, Yo-Yo Ma. Shaker creations and innovations ranging from musical selections to buildings to works of fine art were selected by our curators. Watch a video of Guest Curator John Ott discussing his artifact choice, a Shaker-made seeder from the collection at Hancock Shaker Village.
We also reserved one guest curator slot for our friends and fans to apply for through an online contest. Applicants were asked to submit their responses to the question:
If you could pick any Shaker creation that for you, best illustrates the Shakers’ enduring influence, what would it be and why?
The response from applicants was both enthusiastic and inspiring. A group of top three finalists was reviewed by a panel of judges including Shaker scholars Jane Crosthwaite and Magda Gabor-Hotchkiss, Massachusetts senator Ben Downing and Berkshire Living senior editor Amanda Rae Busch.
We’re delighted to announce that the panel selected Peter Bergman, Executive Director of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony at Steepletop as the grand prize winner. Mr. Bergman selected the concept of “Borrowed Light”, accompanied by the following explanation:
The architectural advancement of the recessed window in a thick wall constructed with an increasing dimension to the interior space speaks volumes about the ingenuity and creative sense of the Shakers. Having found a way to open the room with exterior light while protecting the room’s environment is pure genius.
Then, to follow this simple scientific principle of expanding light with a second, interior window on a parallel wall to bring that exterior light source into the very middle of the next room or staircase is a mind-boggling idea that the Shakers perfected with such simplicity and ease.
After guests viewed the exhibit and read our Guest Curators’ choices, they were asked to offer their own reflections on the enduring influence of the Shakers. Here are some submissions from visitors to the exhibit:
-The (adult) cradle for the infirm in the infirmary reminds us what good care was given to all, especially the elderly and infirm. -Miriam Miller, CT
-I liked the book because it says so much, the chairs on the wall and the song “Simple Gifts” because it made me think of when I sang it to my baby Nathan. –Stephanie
-I like the red cloak because it meant something important and symbolized equality to women. –Linda Tined
-The painted furniture blows away the perceptions of what is “Shaker.” Specifically, the light blue blanket chest in the Brick Dwelling is a stunning example. –Anonymous
-I loved the kitchen in the Brick House! –Anonymous child
-Round Barn. –Claire, Age 5
-I liked the Ice House. –Anonymous child
-I love the house that all 100 people lived in (Brick Dwelling). –Anonymous child
-Red Cloak. –Eloise, age 6
-The round barn – a perfect integration of the circle and usefulness – brilliant! -Claudia Shuster
-My favorite thing was the animals. I got a chick on my head! -Love Olivia
-Celebrating our first year wedding anniversary at HSV! I love you, Stuart. -Your wife always, Lee Ann