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Beginning this Friday, Jan. 29, Lafayette College's Skillman Library will hold two exhibits celebrating Shaker design, culture, and craftsmanship.

“Shaker Sketches,” pencil sketches by June Sprigg, Shaker scholar, author, and 1974 Lafayette graduate, will be on display in the Skillman Library Reading Room from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The library's lobby gallery will showcase “Shaker Scenes,” photographs of Shaker culture and architecture by Paul Rocheleau, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Both exhibits will run through July 31.

“I was a Teenage Shaker: Simple Gifts from America's Last Shakers,” an exhibit opening, reception, talk, and book signing for Sprigg's show, will be held 4 p.m., Friday, January 29. In addition, the 1984 documentary The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns will be shown at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, February 3, in the Skillman Instruction Room.

Sprigg began her study of Shaker culture during the early 1970s while still a student at Lafayette. She spent three summers at Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire, serving as a tour guide at one of only two active Shaker villages remaining in America. Sprigg's sketches of Shaker scenes and objects is a visual recollection of those summers when, as she states, “a mini-skirted Lafayette sophomore and six Shaker sisters in their 70s, 80s, and 90s” formed friendships that would last their lives.

Her sketches later formed the basis for her award-winning book, By Shaker Hands, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1975. Other works by Sprigg on Shaker life and culture include Simple Gifts: A Memoir of a Shaker Village (1998), Shaker Built (1994), Shaker Woodenware: A Field Guide (1991), Inner Light: The Shaker Legacy (1985), and Domestic Beings (1984). Sprigg has served as curator of collections at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass., the premier museum of Shaker life in America. She currently teaches history at Berkshire Community College.

Paul Rocheleau, a Massachusetts photographer known for his images of architecture, historic homes, and landscapes, first began photographing Shaker materials in 1979. He has collaborated with Sprigg on a number of projects, including the catalog for the Whitney Museum of American Art's Shaker exhibit in 1986 and Shaker Built, which was honored in 1995 by the American Institute of Architects as best in its class. Rocheleau is a senior photographer for The Magazine Antiques and Smithsonian New England Guides and has been principal photographer for a number of notable books on art and architecture. His photographs for the Lafayette exhibit are available for purchase.

For more information, call Diane Shaw, special collections librarian and college archivist, 610-330-5148. This exhibit is made possible, in part, by the Friends of Skillman Library.

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