Many life-long Shaker experiences begin with a tour of the Shaker Museum. Our staff will treat you like family, our story will have you yearning to dig deeper, and the landscape will keep you dreaming of your return.
May 27, 2023 – October 9, 2023 The Shaker Museum is open Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday) through Indigenous People’s Day.
Our Visitors’ Center has a free self-guided exhibit on the second floor, the gardens and grounds are walkable, and our stores are open for in-person shopping.
Guided tours leave our Visitors’ Center throughout the day and tickets are available in-person upon arrival.
Special Exhibit - Self-Guided
The 1816 Granary has an exhibit titled “Creating Chosen Land: Our Home Since 1783.” The exhibit tells through the Shaker buildings’ histories the story of the establishment, change and growth of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village (the village’s spiritual name is Chosen Land) from its establishment in 1783. The story is ongoing as Sabbathday Lake remains an active Community of Shakers.
Using current and historic photographs as well as dozens of artifacts, visitors will see the dynamics of a religious community as a place of residence, work and worship. The exhibit is self-guided following a brief introduction by a docent. Gallery guides are available for use in the Granary. An exhibit catalog is for sale.
A History of the History
The Shaker Museum was first organized in 1931 by Sisters Iona Sedgley and Ethel Peacock in hopes of educating the public about the truths of Shakerism. The Shaker Museum’s collection is the only one created by Shakers to represent their culture through firsthand interpretation, the largest Maine Shaker collection representing the longest timeline (1740s ‐ present), and the world’s only anthropological collection; far exceeding that of only Shaker design.
Direct representation museums are nearly unheard of, yet the Shakers have successfully run their own for nearly a century. It has long been open to visitors, who come to tour its historic buildings and learn about traditional Shaker crafts, or to picnic, hike, or enjoy the land.
Throughout the museum buildings there are twenty‐seven period exhibit rooms which explore a continuum of over 200 years of Shaker heritage in the Maine Shaker Communities.
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.
The most extensive Shaker collection in existence today— nearly 75,000 pieces of Shaker furniture, folk art, tools, fancy goods, artifacts, historical records and manuscripts, photographs, maps and drawings, artwork, and extensive archives. 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 Michael Graham, Director of the Shaker Library, Shaker Museum, and Shaker Herb Department.
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, Museum Visitors’ Center, and Granary access to any building is by guided tour only.
Museum Visitors' Center
The Museum Visitors’ Center is housed in the 1850 Boys’ Shop. It is open to the public, free of charge, during the regularly scheduled season. Come and browse through a unique selection of books, Shaker-related 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.
We specialize in local artisan handmade items. You’ll find unique one-of-a-kind treasures perfect for your own use or as a special gift. You can also order online year round!
The Museum Visitors’ Center (Boys’ Shop) second floor features the exhibit “Come Little Children, Come to Zion: Growing Up at Shaker Village”. This exhibit was created with the interests of all young people in mind. Come explore unique aspects of nineteenth century living and learn about the lives of Shaker children in Maine, right in the rooms they grew up in!
Hear a recording of Sister Mildred telling her story of growing up at Alfred Shaker Village, deciding to become a Shaker as an adult, and moving to Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. Sing along with her to “Come Little Children.”
Another long-standing tradition that carries on today is the Shaker Store, continuously run by the Shakers.
Sitting on the roadside and welcoming driver-bys to the Trustees’ Office, the Shaker Store has been a favorite destination of visitors for generations. Traditionally carrying Shaker-made fancy goods to entice local resort visitors like Shaker Cloaks, horsehair brushes, pincushions, oval carriers, poplar boxes, and costumed dolls, the Shaker Store now carries modern Shaker-made items like 100% wool yarn from the farm, handmade soap, herbal infused oils and vinegars, dried wreaths, wool knit goods, honey, and soy candles. Those traditional Shaker-made fancy goods are even still available to the lucky finder for sale in the Shaker Store’s Antique Goods, where each item comes with a certificate of authentication from Shaker Village.
In addition to that vast selection are handmade items by local crafters, woven ash baskets by Michael Silliboy, Micmac, hand-turned wooden bowls made from Shaker trees by Peter Asselyn, replica oval boxes, quilts, and much more.
Group Tour of the Shaker Museum can be arranged in advance by calling (207) 926-4597 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We love having groups of all ages visit Shaker Village! Whether you are a school group, homeschool group, family reunion, or bus tour, we’d love to hear from you.
In general, our guided group tours begin at 10am and last one hour. We recommend allowing at least one hour afterwards for the self-guided exhibits and stores.
We do offer special add-on experiences and free tours for school and homeschool groups. Please inquire FMI.
Please note that this is a historic site and, as such, the 1-hour tour is not handicap accessible. There are many stairs and inclines and it is a full walking tour. We are happy to offer our self-guided special exhibit (handicap accessible) as an alternative to part or all of your group if they can not do the walking/stairs.
For a complete list of our group tour recommendations, click here.
Accessibility & Lodging
The Shaker Store, Shaker Library, Museum Visitors’ Center, Self-Guided Exhibit, and rest rooms are all wheelchair 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. Our staff are more than happy to give you their top suggestions and directions for local seasonal treats. Cyndi’s Dockside is just down the road with scenic views of Range Pond, boat rental, and space to accommodate large groups.
We recommend one-stop lodging and eating at our long-time friends, the Poland Spring Resort, who offer discounts to our guests. Please email or call us for the coupon code.