Today we'll be talking with David Stocks, the President of the Shaker Museum in Mount Lebanon, New York.
The Shaker Museum is the premier site for collecting and exhibiting Shaker artifacts and for educating New Yorkers about the history and culture of the Shakers. The museum currently has a number of major exhibitions ongoing, as well as new publications forthcoming on Shaker art and design.
Rachel Urquhart's debut novel, The Visionist, is based in real life: the Visionists were young Shaker girls who began to suffer mysterious fits, thought to be in communication with the spirit world.
The Visionist tells the story of 15-year old Polly Kimball who kills her abusive father in a fire. Her mother leads them to seek shelter in The City of Hope, a nearby shaker Settlement. She is anointed a visionist upon her arrival, where she is - by turns - worshipped and questioned.