The Museum’s textile collection is extensive and includes costume, household linens, rugs, personal accessories, and a variety of items made for sale.
Considering how many Shakers there have been, their clothing is scarce in museum collections. Clothes were passed down until they were useful only as rags – and the Museum does have a number of rugs made from those rags.
The Museum dress collection includes examples from the early 1800s through the 1940s and 1950s and has been used by costume scholars to help set a chronology of Shaker Sisters’ costume. The collection includes a number or rugs, woven, braided, hooked, knitted, and shirred.
Of special note are three knit rugs attributed to Sister Elvira Hullet, of the Shaker Society at Hancock. These three rugs comprise nearly half of Sister Elvira’s extant rugs.