Sue Muskat

Curatorial Projects
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HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE celebrates the 250th anniversary of the Shakers’ arrival in America!`

Apr 13
Aug 31, 2024
Hancock Shaker Villiage
Pittsfield, MA

To honor the 250th anniversary of the Shakers’ arrival in America, Hancock Shaker Village celebrates the many contributions of Shaker leader Ann Lee and her followersExhibits throughout the Village honor not only Mother Ann and the Shaker Sisters who lived at Hancock but also the many women who have brought the Shaker story to life since Hancock’s inception as a museum in 1961.

Historical narratives are presented through images, writings, recordings, drawings, samplers, correspondences, music, and objects used and made in their day-to-day lives. Contemporary reflections on the contributions of these women are featured in work by women artists who are influenced and inspired by Shaker women.

Chace Gallery Instruments of Inspiration April 13-August 31

During the 1840s and 1850s—an era known as “The Era of Manifestations”--  Believers experienced visions from Mother Ann. Described as “Mother’s Work,” these visions were often depicted in visual forms known as gift drawings. This exhibit will showcase a selection of gift drawings in the Hancock Shaker collection alongside drawings of contemporary artists Alyssa Sakina Mumtaz, Sue Muskat Knoll, and Julia Whitney Barnes.

Organized by
Kathleen Lynch, Ed.D
Curator and Director of Collections

Artist Statement

Sue Muskat Knoll

After studying the Shakers’ Gift Drawings, I made a new drawing in the same way Shaker women put ink and paint to paper, intuitively and intentionally. The recurring images of doves are up high representing the bounties in heaven. The tables containing holy feasts remain close to the ground as worldly delights. The trees of life, the clock marking time on earth, and the Bible hover centrally. 

Many of the illustrations in my Gift Drawing are inspired by the extraordinary work of Sarah Ann Standish. In her drawings, symbols held power: the star infused circles represented unification and reconciliation, and the nearly ripe fruit tree signified the interdependence between earth and heaven. 

This painting is a celebration of the Shakers indelible legacy, one infused with deep admiration. The title, “Every Gain Divine”, while steeped in patriotism (a line from America the Beautiful), speaks to the Shaker's indomitable choir of heavenly spirit and profound belief in our earthly paradise.

Many thanks to a great friend of the Shakers, Marsha Norman, who kindly lent "Every Gain Divine" for this celebratory exhibition. 

Press Release