SOUTH UNION SHAKER VILLAGE

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Furniture Friday: Settee - This week we are looking at an early settee that was purchased at the 1922 auction. While we do not know if the Shakers made this or if they bought it, we do know that it was used here in the village.

Furniture Friday: Settee

This week we are looking at an early settee that w...

Furniture Friday: Washstand - This newly acquired piece is only one of two washstands from South Union known to exist. It is also unusual because it is constructed of decorative figured maple.

Furniture Friday: Washstand

This newly acquired piece is only one of two washs...

Furniture Friday: Unique Cupboard - This piece is unlike any other in the museum, though it has an identical mate in an unknown private collection.

Furniture Friday: Unique Cupboard

This piece is unlike any other in the museum, thou...

Furniture Friday: Yellow Built-In - This built-in is unique in many ways, in that it retains much of it’s original color, seems to have had porcelain knobs from the time it was made, is the only example of raised panels on a built-in. We are unsure of which building this came out of, though it can probably be dated to the middle of the 19th century.

Furniture Friday: Yellow Built-In

This built-in is unique in many ways, in that it r...

Preservation Month: Room in Progress - Continuing on with #NationalPreservationMonth, we are taking a look at a room in progress as part of an ongoing project to restore each room in the Centre House. This project started because of a generous donation from Jack and Betty Kesler.

Preservation Month: Room in Progress

Continuing on with #NationalPreservationMonth, we ...

Furniture Friday: Dated Drop Leaf Table - This drop leaf table is unique in that it is the only table in the collection with this style of turning on the legs. It is also dated “August 1839” on the underside.

Furniture Friday: Dated Drop Leaf Table

This drop leaf table is unique in that it is the o...

Furniture Friday: New Child’s Chair - This week we are glad to feature a recent acquisition to the collection, this ca. 1830s child’s chair. It is nearly identical to two other chairs in the South Union collection.

Furniture Friday: New Child’s Chair

This week we are glad to feature a recent acquisit...

National Preservation Month - As we continue to celebrate National Preservation Month, we are highlighting the progress of the 1854 Wash House window restoration. Thank you to our many generous donors who have supported this on-going project!

National Preservation Month

As we continue to celebrate National Preservation ...

Furniture Friday: Worldly Wardrobe - This wardrobe that belonged to Elder Harvey Eads is an example of the Shakers buying worldly furniture, especially in the later years. We know this piece belonged to Harvey Eads because he painted his initials on the inside door.

Furniture Friday: Worldly Wardrobe

This wardrobe that belonged to Elder Harvey Eads i...

Furniture Friday: Work Table - This ca. 1830s work table is an example of simplicity in the early days of furniture making at South Union. This same table was also used in the Shakertown Revisited play for many years before it was donated to the museum by Deedy Hall in 1970.

Furniture Friday: Work Table

This ca. 1830s work table is an example of simplic...

Furniture Friday: Work Table - This week are featuring another recent acquisition. Margaret Huff donated this work table that her grandparents purchased at the 1922 auction. After nearly 100 years it is back at South Union.

Furniture Friday: Work Table

This week are featuring another recent acquisition...

Furniture Friday: Ironing Chair - This week’s feature is a chair that purchased at the 1922 auction and was used for ironing. It is unique because the chair has an added base and footrest. The chair also has its original seat with traces of bittersweet paint.

Furniture Friday: Ironing Chair

This week’s feature is a chair that purchase...

Furniture Friday: Laundry Table - This laundry table, acquired by Oscar Bond after the village closed, was a style originally used in the dining rooms by the Shakers. In the 1830s, they adapted the trestle table for use in the dining rooms, and the tables like the one featured here were used in the Wash House.

Furniture Friday: Laundry Table

This laundry table, acquired by Oscar Bond after t...

Furniture Friday: Sugar Desk - The piece featured this week corresponds with our #internationalwomensday post that spotlighted the museum’s founder, Deedy Hall. This sugar desk, while not Shaker, belonged in the private collection of Mrs. Hall, which she considered to be her “best” piece.

Furniture Friday: Sugar Desk

The piece featured this week corresponds with our ...

Furniture Friday - This “step-back” cupboard is certainly one of the tallest pieces in the South Union collection. It is one of many objects that was sold at the 1922 auction that have made its way back to the museum.

Furniture Friday

This “step-back” cupboard is certainly...

Furniture Friday: Dwarf Case Clock - This week we are taking a look at one of the finest pieces in the museum collection - the dwarf case clock. The brass works and face were made by a prominent clockmaker, Benjamin Youngs, in Watervliet New York. He gifted this to his nephew, Benjamin Seth Youngs, who brought it with him to Kentucky while serving as Elder at South Union. In 1835, a craftsman in the village made the cherry case for the clock. The case is an excellent example of southern Shaker design sensibilities.

Furniture Friday: Dwarf Case Clock

This week we are taking a look at one of the fines...

Furniture Friday: A New Addition - Making its #FurnitureFriday debut is this cherry bureau which was recently donated to the museum by Margaret Huff. Her family acquired this piece, along with several others, at the 1922 Auction. The feet on the bureau relate to a bed and footed blanket box in the collection, though the casters are a later addition.

Furniture Friday: A New Addition

Making its #FurnitureFriday debut is this cherry b...

Furniture Friday: Figured Maple Candlestand - This ca. 1820s candlestand is the subject for this week’s Furniture Friday.   It is very characteristic of South Union candle stands, but also unique in that it has an oval top with a beveled edge, and is made of figured maple. The piece was given to Deedy Hall by Nell Childress, a school teacher in Auburn.

Furniture Friday: Figured Maple Candlestand

This ca. 1820s candlestand is the subject for this...

Furniture Friday: Miniature Bureau - This ca. 1840s bureau is made of walnut with poplar secondary wood, with burled walnut drawers. The Shakers gave this piece to their doctor, Dr. Willilam Burr, as a form of payment. The Museum acquired this bureau in 1960, making it one of the earliest pieces in the collection.

Furniture Friday: Miniature Bureau

This ca. 1840s bureau is made of walnut with popla...

Furniture Friday: Children’s Chairs - Today we are taking a comparative look at a South Union child’s chair and a Number 0 chair produced at Mt. Lebanon.

Furniture Friday: Children’s Chairs

Today we are taking a comparative look at a South ...

Furniture Friday: School Desk - Because the Shakers were a celibate society, many people wonder how there came to be children in the village. Many of the earliest converts were entire families, and often times single parents would join with their children. This school desk is an example of Shaker furniture made for the children in the village.

Furniture Friday: School Desk

Because the Shakers were a celibate society, many ...

Furniture Friday: Kitchen Built-In - The kitchen of the 1824 Centre House houses the largest bank of built-ins in the building. Installed soon before the completion of the building in 1833, this has six individual cupboards. Underneath the shelf of the bottom right cupboard are remnants of the original white oak flooring the Shakers laid.

Furniture Friday: Kitchen Built-In

The kitchen of the 1824 Centre House houses the la...

Furniture Friday: Desk Restoration Update - Happy New Year! For our first Furniture Friday of the year we are starting with an update on the restoration of this ca. 1830s desk.

Furniture Friday: Desk Restoration Update

Happy New Year! For our first Furniture Friday of ...

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: The Last Shakers - As we close out this series, today we are looking at the last Shakers at South Union. There are more stories to be told, so we hope you all will make it out to visit our new exhibit and learn more about the remarkable women of South Union.

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: The Last Shakers

As we close out this series, today we are looking ...

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Women-led Industries - The women at South Union played a vital role in the economy of the village. From the garden seed industry to raising silk worms, the Sisters contributed to the financial prosperity of the village in an equal capacity as the Brothers.

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Women-led Industries

The women at South Union played a vital role in th...

Furniture Friday: Corner Cabinet - While this corner cabinet may not be original, it was built using existing cupboards in the dining room as a template. The paint is the authentic color the Shakers would have used, along with the historically accurate makeup of the paint.

Furniture Friday: Corner Cabinet

While this corner cabinet may not be original, it ...

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Malinda Buchanan - Malinda Buchanan came to South Union as a child in 1807, and by 1835 had risen to the rank of Eldress. Her leadership role was significant because she was the first Kentuckian to hold this position within the Commonwealth. 
You can learn more about Malinda and the other remarkable women of South Union by visiting our new exhibit.

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Malinda Buchanan

Malinda Buchanan came to South Union as a child in...

2020 Volunteer of the Year Award - Each year the museum honors one person who exemplifies the volunteer spirit of our founder, Deedy Hall. This year the award goes to Carter Jackson for his work in researching Mrs. Hall and the early days of the museum. Carter spent many hours conducting research this summer before starting his doctoral degree at Boston University. We owe Carter gratitude for his hard work.

2020 Volunteer of the Year Award

Each year the museum honors one person who exempli...

Furniture Friday: South Union Bureau - This week we have another South Union bureau with some unique features.

Furniture Friday: South Union Bureau

This week we have another South Union bureau with ...

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Lucilla Booker - The role of deaconess was vital to the day-to-day operations of every Shaker village. Lucilla Booker filled this role for many years, both in the Centre House and the Trustee’s Office.

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Lucilla Booker

The role of deaconess was vital to the day-to-day ...

Furniture Friday: Nurses’s Room Built-In - Happy Friday! Today we are looking at a built-in that is smaller than most in the Centre House. The Shakers made great use of space, and this built-in is an excellent example of this.

Furniture Friday: Nurses’s Room Built-In

Happy Friday! Today we are looking at a built-in t...

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Eldress Nancy Moore - Our feature this week is Eldress Nancy Moore, who was a prominent woman in the village. Her diary recorded the events of the Civil War from 1861-1864 and serves as an invaluable resource to the museum.

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Eldress Nancy Moore

Our feature this week is Eldress Nancy Moore, who ...

Furniture Friday: Wardrobe - This week’s Furniture Friday is a large wardrobe made by the Shakers at South Union.

Furniture Friday: Wardrobe

This week’s Furniture Friday is a large ward...

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Molly Goodrich - Molly Goodrich was the first Eldress of South Union and served alongside Elder Benjamin Seth Youngs. She was a pioneer in helping establish the Western villages, and was much beloved by the members of the society at South Union. You can learn more about Molly and many more remarkable women in our exhibit, “Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Shaker Women at South Union.”

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Molly Goodrich

Molly Goodrich was the first Eldress of South Unio...

Furniture Friday: Blanket Chest - This week’s feature is a unique object in the collection, a footed blanket chest.

Furniture Friday: Blanket Chest

This week’s feature is a unique object in th...

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Lucy Shannon - Our new exhibit, “Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Shaker Women at South Union” highlights different women in the village and the opportunities they had that many in “the world” were not afforded. 

Today we are looking at Lucy Shannon who, as journal writer Harvey Eades notes, “stood as chief nurse and physician for some 30 or 40 years.”

You can learn more about Lucy, see original medicinal “receipts” and read about the other remarkable women of South Union by visiting our new exhibit. 

Many thanks to the Ridley and Hull Group of Wells Fargo Advisors for sponsoring this exhibit.

Equality is Stamped Upon Them: Lucy Shannon

Our new exhibit, “Equality is Stamped Upon T...

Furniture Friday: Drop Leaf Table - This week we are back in the kitchen with a drop leaf table made here at South Union.

Furniture Friday: Drop Leaf Table

This week we are back in the kitchen with a drop l...

Furniture Friday: Food Safe - With the holidays fast approaching it’s time to start making your pies! Today we are looking at a piece the Shakers used for storing their pies and baked goods. Food safes, now called pie safes, were an important part of the American household before ice boxes came into regular use. This piece is one of two safes in the South Union museum collection.

Furniture Friday: Food Safe

With the holidays fast approaching it’s time...

Furniture Friday: Slab or Hunt Board - This week we have another Southern piece for you: the slab, or hunt board. Watch to learn about the Shakers and alcohol.

Furniture Friday: Slab or Hunt Board

This week we have another Southern piece for you: ...

Furniture Friday: The Victorian Shaker Era - The Victorian period of the Shakers is often overlooked because it does not fit the “simple” characteristic. This period room exhibits how the Shakers adapted and changed over time, specifically in the latter half of the 19th century.

Furniture Friday: The Victorian Shaker Era

The Victorian period of the Shakers is often overl...

Furniture Friday: Child’s Chair - Many people ask about children at the Shaker village and the furniture made for them. This child’s chair is an excellent example of how the Shakers made smaller versions of chairs for the children in the community.

Furniture Friday: Child’s Chair

Many people ask about children at the Shaker villa...

Furniture Friday: Back Where it Belongs - This is one of several pieces photographed in the front hall of the Centre House in the 1920s that has returned to its original home.

Furniture Friday: Back Where it Belongs

This is one of several pieces photographed in the ...

Today we have another comparative look at architecture and furniture. This staircase and a dining table, both featured in the Index of American Design, show close relation to one another. 

Both drawings of the stairs and table will be posted in the comments.

Today we have another comparative look at architec...

Furniture Friday: Painting the Restored Desk - This week for #FurnitureFriday we have an update on the progress of the desk restoration. We'd like to thank the many people who have made this possible along the way: Ernie and Elaine Ezell for donating the desk and funding the restoration; Roger Ryan for completing the restoration of the desk; Susan Buck of Colonial Williamsburg for the paint analysis that revealed this brilliant yellow to be the original color; Erica Sanchez-Goodwillie for creating the paint in the same fashion the Shakers would have; and Jack Perry for painting the desk.

Furniture Friday: Painting the Restored Desk

This week for #FurnitureFriday we have an update o...

Furniture Friday: Corner Cabinet - Today’s subject is a corner cupboard that shows the relation between furniture making and architecture at South Union.

Furniture Friday: Corner Cabinet

Today’s subject is a corner cupboard that sh...

Furniture Friday: A Comparative Look - While you may not think of a staircase as “furniture,” this week we are taking a comparative look at the back stairs of the Centre House and a South Union table. When you look at specific features of both, it is clear that the two are related, and possibly even made by the same carpenter.

Furniture Friday: A Comparative Look

While you may not think of a staircase as “f...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: SUGAR CHEST - This week we are looking at a traditional southern form, the sugar chest. In the 19th century, sugar was packaged and sold in cones called a sugarloaf. When you needed sugar, you simply broke a piece off. This particular sugar chest was made here in the village and was acquired by the museum in 1996.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: SUGAR CHEST

This week we are looking at a traditional southern...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: DOUBLE BEDS! - Many people don’t think of double beds in a Shaker village, but here we have an early example of one.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: DOUBLE BEDS!

Many people don’t think of double beds in a ...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: DESK RESTORATION WITH HISTORICALLY ACCURATE PIGMENTS - This desk, which has origins here at South Union, has been restored and is ready to be painted using historically accurate pigments and techniques. Stay tuned for the final product!

FURNITURE FRIDAY: DESK RESTORATION WITH HISTORICALLY ACCURATE PIGMENTS

This desk, which has origins here at South Union, ...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: A RARE, SOUTH UNION ARMED ROCKER - We hope you will enjoy this week’s examination of a rare, South Union armed rocker.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: A RARE, SOUTH UNION ARMED ROCKER

We hope you will enjoy this week’s examinati...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: WALNUT TABLE THAT HAS BEEN IN THE COLLECTION SINCE THE 1960s - A piece of furniture having simple lines does not always always equate to that piece being Shaker.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: WALNUT TABLE THAT HAS BEEN IN THE COLLECTION SINCE THE 1960s

A piece of furniture having simple lines does not ...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: STONE TABLE WHICH FUNCTIONED AS AN OUTDOOR WORK SPACE - This week we have a bit of an unusual but interesting piece. A stone table now placed over underground drains discovered through archaeology.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: STONE TABLE WHICH FUNCTIONED AS AN OUTDOOR WORK SPACE

This week we have a bit of an unusual but interest...

ARTIFACT FINDS + MYSTERIES FROM THE 1854 WASH HOUSE - Today we are looking at some great finds from the 1854 Wash House!

ARTIFACT FINDS + MYSTERIES FROM THE 1854 WASH HOUSE

Today we are looking at some great finds from the ...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: SOUTH UNION SHAKER MADE BED - This week’s feature is an original South Union bed.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: SOUTH UNION SHAKER MADE BED

This week’s feature is an original South Uni...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT - Today we are looking at a piece that traveled both near and far with the Shakers on their peddling trips.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT

Today we are looking at a piece that traveled both...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: A PRISONER MADE ROCKER IN OUR COLLECTION - Today’s feature is a penitentiary rocker that was used here at South Union Shaker Village.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: A PRISONER MADE ROCKER IN OUR COLLECTION

Today’s feature is a penitentiary rocker tha...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: CLEANER + BETTER THAN EVER - Enjoys today’s feature of a built-in cupboard in the 1824 Centre House!

FURNITURE FRIDAY: CLEANER + BETTER THAN EVER

Enjoys today’s feature of a built-in cupboar...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: EARLY BUREAU - Today’s piece is a bureau with a unique secret compartment

FURNITURE FRIDAY: EARLY BUREAU

Today’s piece is a bureau with a unique secr...

HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH: WASH HOUSE UPDATE - To finish out #HistoricPreservationMonth, today we are giving a small tour of the Wash House boiler room.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH: WASH HOUSE UPDATE

To finish out #HistoricPreservationMonth, today we...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: TRESTLE TABLE - Today for #FurnitureFriday we are looking at three trestle tables in the collection.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: TRESTLE TABLE

Today for #FurnitureFriday we are looking at three...

FROM THE COLLECTION: NEWLY DISCOVERED SILVER SPOON - From the Collection: a silver spoon recently discovered in the 1854 Wash House.

FROM THE COLLECTION: NEWLY DISCOVERED SILVER SPOON

From the Collection: a silver spoon recently disco...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: RESTORED DOCUMENT CHEST - This week’s feature is a document chest that has been restored thanks to Roger Ryan!

FURNITURE FRIDAY: RESTORED DOCUMENT CHEST

This week’s feature is a document chest that...

FROM THE COLLECTION: ELDRESS NANCY MOORE'S COTTON KERCHIEF - Today we are looking at a cotton kerchief that belonged to Eldress Nancy Moore.

FROM THE COLLECTION: ELDRESS NANCY MOORE'S COTTON KERCHIEF

Today we are looking at a cotton kerchief that bel...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: LINEN PRESS FORM UNIQUE TO SUSV - This week we are taking a look at one of six linen presses in the collection.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: LINEN PRESS FORM UNIQUE TO SUSV

This week we are taking a look at one of six linen...

HISTORIC PRESERVATION UPDATE: MAY 2020 - To celebrate Historic Preservation Month, today we are featuring the last of nine restored windows in the 1846 Ministry Shop. This project was made possible by a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION UPDATE: MAY 2020

To celebrate Historic Preservation Month, today we...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: CHERRY SEWING DESK - Today we are looking at a cherry sewing desk with some very unique features!

FURNITURE FRIDAY: CHERRY SEWING DESK

Today we are looking at a cherry sewing desk with ...

INSIDE THE COLLECTION: Snuff Box - Today we are looking at an object in our collection that belonged to Malinda Buchanan, the first Kentuckian to become an Eldress in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This snuff box was donated to the museum last year by Cheryl Kline. You can see this object, and others relating to the women of South Union, in a new exhibit opening later this year.

INSIDE THE COLLECTION: Snuff Box

Today we are looking at an object in our collectio...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: ICONIC FOOD SAFE - This week we are looking at one of the pieces that never left South Union.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: ICONIC FOOD SAFE

This week we are looking at one of the pieces that...

RESTORATION AT SOUTH UNION: 1854 Wash House Update - Thank you all again for your support and interest in the 1854 Wash House. We will provide updates as we continue with our progress in restoration.

RESTORATION AT SOUTH UNION: 1854 Wash House Update

Thank you all again for your support and interest ...

RESTORATION AT SOUTH UNION: 1854 Wash House Renovation Update - Thank you all for your continued support of our Wash House renovation! Here is a brief update on the current state of restoration of the building.

RESTORATION AT SOUTH UNION: 1854 Wash House Renovation Update

Thank you all for your continued support of our Wa...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: CASE PIECE - Today we are looking at case pieces and built-ins in the Centre House. 

#southunion #shakervillage #susv #kyshakers #kyhistory #shakerhistory #materialculture #museumcollection #shakerfurniture #shakercabinets #shakermade #thisplacematters

FURNITURE FRIDAY: CASE PIECE

Today we are looking at case pieces and built-ins ...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: SHAKER CHAIRS - This week for #FurnitureFriday we are in the 1846 Ministry Shop comparing two styles of Shaker chairs. 

#southunion #shakervillage #susv #shakerfurniture #shakermade #kyshakers #kyshakervillage #museumcollection #materialculture #shakerchair

FURNITURE FRIDAY: SHAKER CHAIRS

This week for #FurnitureFriday we are in the 1846 ...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: CHERRY TABLES - This week’s #FurnitureFriday video will compare two cherry South Union tables. We hope you all enjoy this!

FURNITURE FRIDAY: CHERRY TABLES

This week’s #FurnitureFriday video will comp...

FURNITURE FRIDAY: Shaker vs “Worldly” - Here is this week’s #FurnitureFriday! Enjoy this comparison of a Shaker candlestand and a “worldly” candlestand made around the same time.

FURNITURE FRIDAY: Shaker vs “Worldly”

Here is this week’s #FurnitureFriday! Enjoy ...

A Bird's Eye View of SUSV - This glorious footage was created by Jon Fleenor as a gift to the South Union Shaker Village.  If a bird had flown over the village in the 19th century it would have seen about 150 more buildings.  Today there are only ten structures remaining, but don't they look like jewels on a carpet of green?

A Bird's Eye View of SUSV

This glorious footage was created by Jon Fleenor a...

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