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Shaker Museum│Mount Lebanon Creates Digital Archive of Historic Photographs

AASLH Member Since 2001

The Shaker Museum│Mount Lebanon has launched a newly digitized online catalog of historic photography as a part of its ongoing effort to make available online a full catalog of its collections. The project has been supported by a $25,000 grant from the Leon Levy Foundation.

The museum’s catalog records and presents the richest historical information, including scenes of Shaker villages from the mid-late 19th Century, as well as a collection of stereograph images from this early period by James Irving, a Troy, NY-based photographer. Viewers are able to see a larger version of each image with accompanying historic information and details and from links in the online catalog can share the records with friends or contact the museum with comments or questions.  “We want to create an ongoing dialogue about these photographs, which are so important to understanding Shaker history,” said, Jerry Grant, the museum’s director of collections and research who oversaw the project.

The goals of the project included the digitization of 2,450 historic photographs. The catalog is made available using the PastPerfect platform, accessible from the library page on the museum’s website. In utilizing PastPerfect, the museum joins Hancock Shaker Village, Canterbury Shaker Village, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village Museum, and the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in an effort to make catalog collections available online.

“The Leon Levy Foundation has been a leader in supporting efforts to make digital museum and archival information available online, and we are grateful to them for their funding of this project,”  said museum president, David Stocks.  “Our goal for this project is to create a dynamic tool that will be used by the general public, as well as scholars, researchers, and curators.”

The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from the estate of Leon Levy, an investor with a longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The Foundation’s overarching goal is to support scholarship at the highest level, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large. More information is available at www.leonlevyfoundation.org

The Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, located in New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York, is dedicated to engaging and inspiring local, national, and global audiences by telling the story of the American Shakers. The museum’s collections span over 60,000 objects and it stewards the North Family historic site at Mount Lebanon, a National Historic Landmark. The museum is open seasonally at the site from June to October, and offers programs year-round.  Please visit www.shakerml.org for more information.

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