Robert Anderson and the Leo and Florence Shay Collection

Image of a basket above the title of the exhibit: Robert Anderson and the Leo and Florence Shay Collection

Robert Anderson (1929-2020), a Penobscot tribal member, was the grandson of Leo and Florence Shay. The Shays were and continue to be one of the pre-eminent basketmaking families on Indian Island and were renowned for their basketry. Starting in 1930, the Shay family went to Lincolnville Beach and set up their Indian Camp Basket Tent to sell brown ash and sweetgrass baskets and novelty goods. Bob and his wife Jackie took over the tent in 1965 and continued to run the iconic shop until 1999. In 2002, they closed the tent and opened the Ducktrap Basket Shop from their home in nearby Lincolnville. The shop sold Wabanaki contemporary and antique baskets, handmade baskets from around the world, moccasins, and other traditional wares. Bob was an avid collector of Wabanaki baskets, as well as tools used to make baskets, such as splint gauges, crooked knives, blocks, and splitters and scrapers. He scoured antique shops, yard sales, and auctions for baskets and tools for his museum to preserve and document basketmaking traditions for future generations.

Robert Anderson bequeathed the contents of his museum to the Hudson Museum to hold in trust until such time that the Penobscot Nation has a museum facility. This exhibit presents an overview of his collection.