Past Exhibitions

Break Every Yoke: Shakers, gender equality, and women's suffrage


Mount Lebanon, June 16 to October 9, 2017

When Mother Ann Lee outlined her theology for the community that would become known as the Shakers, she placed equality at its heart. As the nature of God was dual, both male and female, the children of God were to be brothers and sisters, each representing a share of God's image. This fundamental precept shaped gender relations within Shaker communities, leading to dual offices in which men and women worked in tandem. But it wasn't enough for the Shakers to enact gender equality in their own communities. Called to serve their fellow man, the Shakers took to heart the call for women's suffrage.

This exhibition traces the roles of women in Shaker society, from the earliest prophecies of Mother Ann to the battle for universal suffrage.

Exhibition made possible through the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts, the Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation, and private funding.

Access by guided tour only. Plan your visit.



Photo: "Freeing of Pride." Image courtesy of The Trustees - Archives & Research Center, Fruitlands Museum.