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Shaker Oval Boxes

2023 Shaker Collectors Weekend

August 5, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - August 7, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

$40.00 – $750.00

2023 Shaker Collectors Weekend

August 5-7, 2023

An engaging multi-day program designed to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of collecting Shaker furniture and objects. Featuring talks, interactive discussions, and behind-the-scenes experiences with Enfield Shaker Museum’s collection, 2023 Shaker Collectors Weekend is a rich opportunity to connect with fellow enthusiasts and learn from experts on Shaker material culture and history.

The focus of the 2023 Collectors’ Weekend is Shaker Boxes, encompassing oval pantry boxes, seed boxes, and even boxes designed and built to live in! Through presentations, moderated conversations, and participatory experiences, attendees will delve into the history, significance, and connoisseurship of Shaker boxes, as well as strategies to conserve and collect these remarkable objects.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS of the 2023 Shaker Collectors Weekend

Master Class | Shaker Oval Boxes: What We Know & What We Don’t

 Jerry V. Grant, Director of Collections and Research, Shaker Museum, Chatham, New York

This illustrated Master Class includes a history of the Shaker oval box industry and tips for identifying a box’s community of origin. During the presentation, Jerry will make an oval box with Elder Daniel Crosman (1810-1885).

Master Class | Wood Movement & Solid Wood Construction

Christian H. Becksvoort, woodworker, author, restorer, and curmudgeon, New Gloucester, Maine

Basic wood tech, the joys of quarter-sawn wood, smart case construction, why moldings come loose, why door panels shrink or crack, and why antiques survived.

Material + Meaning Dialogue | Shaker Color

Part 1 – Technical Color

Brece Honeycutt, visual artist and Winterthur Maker-Creator Fellow

Historically, the Shakers lived in a prismatic world, painting their objects and buildings with “adorning and beauteous colors,” as noted by Elder Calvin Green.  Honeycutt will discuss both the temporal and the spiritual uses of color, concentrating on two ‘new pigments’ Prussian Blue and Chrome Yellow.

Part 2 – TBA

Erika Sanchez Goodwillie, historic paint specialist

Details to follow.

Material + Meaning Dialogue | Shaker Seeds

Shaker Seed Industry: From the Ground to the Road

Sharon Duane Koomler, independent researcher and curator, Chatham, New York

The Shakers’ seed industry was not an accident. It was an intentional, cultivated, and often negotiated industry that produced and distributed quality garden seed throughout much of the eastern United States. Trade routes were established, sometimes violated – even among Shakers – and ultimately arranged to the best outcome for customers and Shakers alike.

Shaker Seed Boxes: Sowing the Seeds of an Important Industry

Tom Queen, purveyor of American antiques, especially Shaker Design, curator of museum exhibitions, Columbus, Ohio

The Shakers were among the first to package garden seeds for sale in small paper envelopes, which were sent out to consigning merchants in lidded wooden boxes emblazoned with stenciled or printed paper labels. Drawing from a range of ephemera from the marketing and distribution of Shaker seeds, this talk explores the way seed boxes played an important role in one of the longest-lasting, most profitable, and wide-reaching Shaker industries.

Presentation | ‘Well done is better than well said’: Presenting American Art Anew at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Alexandra A. Kirtley, Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In May 2021, the Philadelphia Museum of Art opened nearly 90,000 square feet of additional gallery spaces—the culmination of two decades of planning, design, and construction. As the first expansion and reinstallation since 1976, this so-called “Core Project” was completed in 2021 after four years of construction, and the newly reimagined spaces are the result of the renovation, reorganization, and interior expansion of the museum’s landmark 1928 Frank Gehry building. The nine new galleries are painted in vibrant colors and emanate off a central spine with an enfilade, and museum collections have been reinstalled to tell a more authentic and inclusive history of the art—the artists and artisans who made it and the patrons who commissioned it.  This presentation will explore the Core Project, highlighting the process by which curators choose what to display and, most importantly, how the new narratives evolved after close looking at the collections.

Presentation | Restoring a Shaker Office

Robert Adam, preservation architect, woodworker, and founder of the Preservation Carpentry program, North Bennet Street School, Boston, Massachusetts

In 2002, Robert Adam purchased a dilapidated building from the site of the former Shaker community in Shirley, Massachusetts. Originally a Shaker office and more recently a single-family home, the structure was in dire need of restoration. Adam, as a preservation architect and fine woodworker, took on the challenge of moving the structure to a new site and restoring it–every slate roof tile, clapboard, and peg–to it would have appeared in the early nineteenth century. This talk explores Adam’s 6 year endeavor to restore a Shaker office.

Conversation | Maine Shaker Perspectives on Material Culture

Brother Arnold Hadd, United Society of Shakers, Sabbathday Lake, Maine

Michael Graham, Director, Shaker Museum & Library, Sabbathday Lake, Maine

Part 1 – A Carrier in Every Collection

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Brother Arnold Hadd and Director Michael Graham will present a narrated slideshow of historic images highlighting the many contributions of Elder Henry Green and Brother Delmer Wilson as some of the most prolific Shaker oval box makers.

Part 2 – Everything but the Cross

Brother Arnold will explore how the popularity of the Shakers’ material objects has endangered Shaker culture.

Conversation | Painted Boxes and Iconic Stacks: The Collections of Dr. Marvin & Natalie Gliedman and Watt & Jan White

Chip Gliedman, retired technology analyst, philatelic research volunteer, stamp collector, and son of Dr. Marvin and Natalie Gliedman, Ridgefield, Connecticut

John Keith Russell, antiques dealer specializing in authentic, historic Shaker material and other objects of fine design, South Salem, New York

This conversation explores the mind of the collector and the opportunities and challenges of stewarding a collection that was thoughtfully assembled by someone else. Chip Gliedman spent most of his life living with an inveterate Shaker collector. This talk will discuss his family’s experience assembling, preserving, and exhibiting the iconic stacks of painted Shaker oval boxes from Shaker Design (1986) at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In dialogue, John Keith Russell will share his recollections of the Gliedmans, as well as the story of Watt & Janice White of Stamford, CT, and their remarkable collection of painted Shaker oval boxes, which were collected out of a different set of interests and intentions.

A Glimpse into the Past: Discussion on Building an Archive of Shaker Symposia

George Kohrman, independent Shaker researcher, former Director of the Office of information Technology, Western Michigan University

This presentation will discuss what could happen with recordings from many Berkshire/Hancock Shaker Seminars. George will share two important clips: the first from a 1992 presentation by D. J. J. Gerald McCue (1913-2011) about his early years collecting Shaker material, and the second from the last interview with Sister Ethel Hudson (1896-1992), the last member of the Shaker community in Canterbury, NH, who passed away six weeks after the recording was made.

Pop-up Exhibition | Bring Your Own Box

Participants are invited to bring their favorite Shaker box to include in our Sunday afternoon Pop-up Exhibition.  When you register for the weekend, let us know what you are planning to bring so we can have a label prepared for your box.


Meals will be catered by Catherine Erving, The Rustic Gourmet, highlighting seasonal and local ingredients including items foraged from the gardens at Enfield Shaker Museum. A Welcome Lobster Bake/Barbecue will be held on Saturday evening in the historic Stone Machine Shop.

Lodging is available in the Great Stone Dwelling on a first come, first served basis.


On Monday, August 7 we have scheduled an optional tour in Manchester, NH of the Zimmerman and Dr. and Mrs. Kalil houses, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This tour is specially organized in partnership with the Currier Museum, Manchester, NH. Tour participation is limited to 14, tickets are available on a first come, first served basis at $40/person.

Click here to download 2023 Shaker Collectors Registration


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Enfield Shaker Museum
447 NH Route 4A
Enfield, NH 03748 United States
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(603) 632-4346