The collection of Shaker furniture and crafts at The Art Complex Museum is widely recognized among authorities for its fine examples of classic Shaker design. The initial interest in things Shaker came from Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Sanborn, whose home in the Berkshires was close to the Hancock and New Lebanon Shaker communities. Mrs. Sanborn passed this enthusiasm on to her son Carl and his wife Edith, who recalls their first purchase of Shaker was a sister’s sewing desk from Paine’s Furniture in the 1940’s.  This piece survives and is part of the current collection.

Mrs. Sanborn became active with the restoration of Hancock Shaker Village through her friendship with its president, Amy Bess Miller. Carl’s mother asked him to promise to continue to look after Hancock Shaker Village.

As Amy Bess Miller stated, “It is rare that three generations in a family are so committed to the same enduring interest. Carl Weyerhaeuser’s desire to have a more intimate knowledge of Shaker craftsmen has enriched the history of this revered sect and brings us to a deeper understanding and empathy for an uncommonly industrious, practical and gifted people”.

There are several works in the ACM’s collection that have been borrowed for important exhibitions and reproduced in definitive books on Shaker furniture and design. Outstanding among them is the Dwarf Tall Clock crafted by Benjamin Youngs, Sr. in Watervliet, New York, a Shaker community active from 1806 to 1910.