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Museum

The museum is open to the public Memorial Day through Columbus Day

Monday through Saturday (Closed Sundays)
10:00 to 4:30 (EST)

Historical Context
The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum is located within the perimeters of the only active and functioning Shaker Community in the world. The museum was first organized in 1931 by Sisters Iona Sedgley and Ethel Peacock in hopes of educating the public about the "truths" of Shakerism. Thousands of visitors have come to explore this unique and sacred place of work and worship.
Six of the 18 existing structures at Sabbathday Lake are open to the public. Throughout these buildings there are twenty-seven exhibit rooms which explore a continuum of over 200 years of Shaker heritage in the Maine Communities.

Shaker Museum Tour Schedule and Description
We are pleased to offer our visitors guided tours of the premises at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. These tours provide valuable insights into the Maine Shaker heritage and culture of the past as well as the present.

Introductory Tour: 75 minutes

* Available Memorial Day through Columbus Day
*Adults $6.00; Children, ages 6 - 12: $2.00; under 6: free


Extended Tour: 2 hours

* Available Memorial Day through Columbus Day
* Adults: $7.50; Children, ages 6 - 12: $2.75; under 6: free

TOURS WILL BEGIN AT

* 10:30 a.m.
* 11:30 a.m.
* 12:30 p.m.
* 1:30 p.m.
* 2:30 p.m.
* 3:15 p.m. (Introductory Tour Only)

GROUP TOURS OF THE MUSEUM ARE AVAILABLE BY ADVANCE RESERVATION.

About the Tours
Tours depart from the Museum Reception Center, which is housed in the 1850 Boys' Shop. The 1794 Meetinghouse, designed by Brother Moses Johnson, is the architectural jewel of the Village and continues to be used by the Shakers for their current worship services. The exhibits in the upper chambers of this building explore the organization of the Shaker Church and describe developments in the Maine Shakers' lifestyles, architecture, furniture and costume into the eve of the Civil War.

From Memorial Day through Columbus Day of the 2000 Summer Season, the Shaker Museum is featuring an exhibit entitled "They Do Not From the Truth Depart, In Word or Work in Hand or Heart: Sabbathday Lake in 1800, 1900, 2000". This exhibit highlights Sabbathday Lake Shaker history at the turn of three centuries. Shaker membership, forms of outreach, means of industry, as well as architectural developments are comparatively examined to survey the continuum of Shaker life at Sabbathday Lake. Historical written accounts, photographs and artifacts are used to highlight aspects of this Shaker history. This exhibit is offered as part of the Introductory Tour and Extended Tour during the regular summer tour schedule.

The final destination of the Introductory Tour is a special gallery in the Ministry's Shop which will feature an exhibit focused on the lives and contributions of Elder William Dumont and Eldress Lizzie Noyes.

The Extended Tour continues from the Ministry Shop into the 1821 Sisters' Shop. Once the location of nearly 20 work rooms for dozens of Shaker Sisters, it is still used by the Sabbathday Lake Shakers for the production of handmade goods. Exhibits in the Sisters' Shop survey the wide array of goods, such as candy and comestibles, along with sewing notions and other "fancy goods" that the Shakers manufactured for sale during the Victorian Era and into the 1960s. In this building, many visitors find themselves surprised by the Shakers interest in progressive technology. Telephones, electricity, central heating and even the automatic washing machines (the earliest example built from two and a half tons of granite!) attest to their belief in modernization and technology throughout their history. In this same building, visitors will have the opportunity to view the "headquarters" for the modern culinary herb and herbal tea business. Workers pack herbs as they have been packed by the Shakers for nearly 200 years.

The Extended Tour concludes in the 1816 Spinhouse, once primarily used as a manufacturing center for the Shakers' woolen goods as well as other Village activities. In the 1998 Summer season, the 1816 Spinhouse will feature an installation titled The Fruitage Will Never Fail: The Sabbathday Lake Shakers' Apple Orchards. This exhibit will highlight the historical development and commercial viability of the Sabbathday Shakers' 35 acre apple orchard from the 1830s into the present day. Special emphasis has been placed upon the management of the apple orchard under the direction of Brother Delmer C. Wilson (1873-1961). The exhibit also explores the industries which developed as a result of the orchard, including the sale of produce, cider, apple sauce, and honey. A wide variety of artifacts and historic photographs are used in conjunction with original research from the Shaker Library to convey the Shakers' widespread contributions to commercial agriculture in Maine.

Please Remember
During our scheduled season, we welcome all visitors to the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village to share in the experience of this active site of work and worship. We request that all visitors remember that this site is a home and to respect the privacy and work schedules of the Shaker Community. With the exceptions of the Shaker Store and Museum Reception Center, access to any building is restricted by guided tour only.

Visitors' Facilities
The Museum Reception Center and Shaker Store are open to the public, free of charge, during the regularly scheduled season. Come and browse through a unique selection of books, Shaker-made goods, locally-produced handicrafts, woodenware, baskets, and the wide selection of culinary herbs and medicinal teas which are still packaged by the United Society of Shakers. The 1850 Boys' Shop (also the Museum Reception Center) features the exhibit "Come Little Children, Come to Zion: Growing Up at Shaker Village". This exhibit was created with the interests and curiosities of all young people in mind. Come explore unique aspects of nineteenth century living and learn about the lives of Shaker children in Maine. This exhibit is open to visitors at no cost.

The Shaker Store, Shaker Library, Museum Reception Center and rest rooms are all wheel chair accessible.Please contact the museum with any further concerns.

Meals are not available at the Village. A wide selection of restaurants are located nearby in the towns of Gray, New Gloucester, Poland, Lewiston, and Auburn.

Museum Research Facilities
We encourage any scholar, researcher, author, or Shaker enthusiast to explore the vast wealth of information, history, and culture represented at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. The collection at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum is available year round to researchers and scholars by appointment only.

This Museum is the largest repository of Maine Shaker culture. Fine examples of furniture, woodenware, oval boxes, tin and metal wares, tools and technology, "fancy" sales goods, textiles and costume, visual arts, as well as medicinal and herbal products are among the 13,000 artifacts currently housed in the Sabbathday Lake collection. Although the collection represents every Shaker Community known to have existed, special emphasis has been placed upon preserving the heritage of the Maine Shaker Communities, including Sabbathday Lake, Alfred, Gorham and Poland Hill.

Museum research appointments should be made with Leonard L. Brooks, Director of the Shaker Library and Shaker Museum.

Shaker Museum
707 Shaker Road
New Gloucester, ME 04260
Telephone: (207) 926-4597

Office email: usshakers@aol.com

Monday through Friday 8:30 to 4:30 (EST)

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