Shaker Village Capital Campaign

Phase One

Herb House
Herb Gardens
Recreational Trails & Preserve
Farmers’ Market & Café
Onsite & Virtual Programming
Repairing Existing Buildings

Shaker Herb Garden

Priority Projects

The Shakers prioritized their projects into three phases. Phase One consists of the most critical and urgent needs. These are the near-term projects starting in 2021 and scheduled for completion within the next 3-5 years depending upon funding. Historic preservation for the betterment of community is the goal.

Phase One celebrates, preserves, and promotes the Shakers’ agrarian society and connects people in harmony with the land. Their herb business, historic gardens and orchards, land stewardship and natural environment are the lead priorities.

These programs will expand Shaker Village’s capacity to provide a fuller range of educational programs related to agriculture, ecology, and natural sciences to complement and broaden the Shakers’ well-established curriculum of history and ethnography.

Herb House

The Herb House is the fourth oldest structure at Shaker Village and the only remaining example of its kind in our nation. It stands as a monument from the 19th century when the Shakers pioneered and led the commercial distribution of medicinal herbs in the United States.

Sadly, the building is also the most derelict and dilapidated among Shaker Village’s eighteen structures.

Since the 1970s, it has been the Shakers’ dream to restore the building as the headquarters of their ongoing herb business.

To stabilize and preserve the structure, it will be placed upon a full foundation, which will also create much-needed space for new programs. The building will be weather-tight, insulated, and heated as a year-round public facility. The original historic surfaces and materials throughout the building will be preserved by some of Maine’s leading experts.

This project will be Shaker Village’s largest and most extensive historic rehabilitation project to date.

Shaker Herb House - Old Woodshed Exterior
SHaker Herb House Frame Drawings -Red Dot Studio
Shaker Herb House Frame Drawings -Red Dot Studio
Shaker Herb House Renovation from the Rear

The Shakers’ herb business will be relocated and expanded into the second floor and attic of the building. Production, enterprise, and volunteer opportunities will increase dramatically. Through the Shakers’ existing community program partnerships, the new Herb House will deliver many more occupational and therapeutic experiences for at-risk youth and people with intellectual uniqueness.

The large woodshed on the main floor will become a learning lab where, for example, entire classrooms of students can learn through hands-on activities about the Shakers’ role in agriculture. An adjacent museum gallery will feature artifacts and accounts of the Shakers’ long-standing contributions to farming in Maine.

The new basement level will contain a kitchen classroom, where Shaker culinary master classes will be taught, as well as a production kitchen for Shaker baked goods and preserves. A large workshop room will share space in the basement where valuable, at-risk traditional arts will be taught through hands-on workshops.

The rehabilitation of the Herb House represents a successful and scalable example of Shaker Village’s model for sustainability. It connects audiences to important spaces and experiences while generating income and engagement.

Shaker Herb House - Planned Interior

The Herb House will be open free-of-charge, year round and will welcome and accommodate nearly 8,000 visitors and students annually, increasing Shaker Village’s total onsite visitation by 30%.

Production and sales of culinary herbs and herbal teas are projected to quadruple through increased onsite retail sales and the development of an updated distribution strategy for Shaker goods, providing revenue as much as $200,000 to support expanded employment opportunities and program development.

Master cooking classes and workshops will serve onsite and virtual audiences surpassing 1,000 people annually and generate a minimum of $50,000 in program income.

Realistic and achievable business models for the rehabilitation of the Herb House and its new programs predict as much as $270,000 in total new income for Shaker Village, representing almost a 40% increase in the annual operating budget for the United Society of Shakers.

Shaker Herb House - Planned Interior
Shaker Herb House - Planned Interior

Herb Gardens

The Shakers’ herb gardens will be expanded to meet the demands of the new herb business in the Herb House.

New crops and more efficient methods of cultivation will optimize garden production. Supplemental stock will be sourced through programs with compatible social missions and philosophies. For example, all Shaker herb garden seedlings will come from local high school vocational greenhouse programs to provide experience, education, and income to students. Satellite crops of popular Shaker herbs will be grown through partnership with the nearby Somali Bantu Community Association, which provides important income programs for local refugees and immigrants seeking new opportunities to continue their agricultural heritage.

The gardens will become the centerpiece of a new welcoming, outdoor visitor-experience design that will encourage regular and repeat visitation to Shaker Village.

Visitors will have the opportunity, free-of-charge, to quietly stroll through the gardens, use a custom-designed app to learn about the plants and their historic uses among the Shakers, talk with staff and volunteers, or even join the ongoing work right there on-the-spot.

Specialty fee-based master classes and tours will be offered in the garden setting, using the cultivated plants for learning, study, and production.

The garden, farm, and grounds will also be the basis of new, permanent school programs, such as Gray-New Gloucester’s ongoing yearly Shaker Studies class, and new progressive learning programs for more than 200 students in grades K-8 at the local Fiddlehead School of Arts & Sciences, a student-centered curriculum that uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments.

Nature Trails and Wildlife Preserve

The Shakers wish to promote good land stewardship, conservation, and preservation by establishing a wildlife preserve and year-round recreational trails upon 1,200 acres of their land to showcase its varied cultural and ecological significance. Education, awareness, and recreation will be developed hand-in-hand with equity, inclusion, and diversity.

Since 1783, the Shakers have prized the beauty, harmony, and tranquility of the natural world around them. For generations spanning centuries, this has helped the Shakers define and understand their faith and calling. This is Chosen Land.

The Shakers’ support the conservation of resources. Their farm and its open spaces remain virtually unchanged since the establishment of the Shaker Community, and the forest lands have only ever been used for selective harvesting to ensure proper regeneration for the future.

As forerunners of the movement to open private lands for public access decades ago, the Shakers developed a limited trail network and outdoor programs to celebrate and share the uniqueness of Shaker Village, its habitats, geology, and diverse wildlife.

An historic conservation easement struck in 2007 with New England Forestry Foundation ensures that Shaker Village remains in perpetuity a place where people can come to experience and enjoy the unspoiled, intact outdoors. While this easement provides public access to Shaker lands, the next phase of purposeful programs will guide appropriate use.

New, extensive, year-round trail networks and recreational programs will shift the patrons of Chosen Land and assist with monitoring, protecting, and enforcing the standards of good stewardship and conservation while displacing intentional misuse.

Families, residents and non-residents, local students, and municipal parks and recreation programs will use these trails free-of-charge, supporting new relationships, partnerships, and opportunities between Shaker Village and the surrounding communities.

Farm-to-Table Market and Café sketch
Shaker Village Farmers' Market produce

Farm-to-Table Market & Café

Just a short side trip from Route 26 where more than 3,000 travelers pass each day, a roadside farmers’ cooperative market and café harmonious in its design with the nearby barns will provide a year-round, onsite storefront for Shaker produce, baked goods, jellies, candy, preserves and more while offering retail space for local small farms and producers.

It will be open year-round with extended hours to accommodate commuters travelling the Route 26 corridor.

The farmers’ market and café will also serve regular visitors to the Shaker Museum, the Shaker Store, the Herb House, and the nature trails.

The on-hand seasonal vegetables, fruits, and fresh farm products will provide the ingredients for a farm-to-table, changing menu for a small café in the spring, summer, and fall. A large covered porch on the back of the building overlooking the farm and a 16-acre hayfield will provide outdoor seating and dining.

The business may attract as many as 200 people daily in peak summer season and year-round customers more than 30,000.

The Farm-to-Table Market and Café will also host a summertime series of fresh-air farmers’ markets at Shaker Village to promote local producers and connect Shaker Village with new audiences, including a neighboring population of more than 20,000 people that are significantly under-served by regular, firsthand experiences at Shaker Village.

During the wintertime, the Farm-to-Table Market and Café in conjunction with the new Herb House will welcome skiers, snowshoers, and hikers with a warm place for stews and soups, breads and baked goods, coffee and hot Shaker herbal teas.

Repairs to Existing Buildings

Crucial work to the following building:

1883 Dwelling House

Yellow Garage

Ox Barn & Stable

Shaker Library

Cinderblock Garage

Water Tower

Spring House

Site Work & Utilities

Phase Two will be starting in the next 3-5 years …

Shaker Village Capital Campaign Phase Two

Phase Three is our lasting legacy to preserve the vast collection and cultural wealth of Shaker Village in the next 7-10 years …

Shaker Village Capital Campaign Phase Three
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The past forward

Our Projects

Phase 1

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