Shaker Stories Press Release

Media Contact:
Michael Coats
Coats Public Relations
Shaker Stories
from the Collection of Benjamin H. Rose III
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
February 14 – May 16, 2015
‘Tis the gift to be simple,
‘Tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down
Where we ought to be.

SONOMA, CA - Dreamers, visionaries and utopian pilgrims, the Shakers lasted for more than two hundred years. Shaker joiners and coopers, blacksmiths and tinsmiths, wheelwrights and tanners, tailors, weavers and dyers turned out an amazing variety of objects for their own use and to sell to the “world’s people.” All reflect “the gift to be simple.” Benjamin H. Rose III has assembled an exceptional, world-class collection of Shaker material.

“I’ve been enamored with the look of Shaker furniture and objects for as long as I can remember and started collecting it some forty years ago. The more I collected, the more interested I became in the remarkable manifestations of human endeavors that are the unique results of Shaker craftsmanship. In the hands of Shakers, practical objects transcend the ordinary,” said Benjamin Rose.

Many of the significant pieces from the Rose collection, recognized as one of the foremost private collections of Shaker furniture and artifacts, include a New York Shaker tall case clock (Watervliet, 1810) made by the earliest and one of the two most important Shaker clockmakers, Benjamin Youngs; an Infield, New Hampshire meeting house bench; a cast-iron super heater stove with original tools; a rare child’s sewing desk; and, of course, several ubiquitous oval painted boxes. Visitors to this exhibition will learn about the work and deeply held beliefs of the Shakers.

“Ben Rose has assembled an incomparable collection of Shaker chairs and benches, desks and tables, boxes and baskets, a stove and yarn swifts. We are honored to be able to learn more about this unique American community which has had a profound influence on designers, architects, artists and craftspeople throughout time,” said Kate Eilertsen, Executive Director of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.

The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art will host programs for people of all ages including historical lectures and craft workshops.

About the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art:

Established in 1998, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is a membership supported 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides seasonal exhibitions of contemporary and modern art and educational and public programming for children, youth and adults. Its mission is to be, “a magnet of creative energy and cultural inspiration with exhibitions and educational programs that engage the community in the art and ideas of our time, encouraging curiosity and innovation.”

The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is located at 551 Broadway, one half block up from Sonoma’s historic Plaza. Regular Museum hours are 11am–5pm Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults. Children k–12 are admitted free, as are SVMA members. Additional information is available at or by calling (707) 939-7862.







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