“We Make You Kindly Welcome”
Maine’s Shaker roots began in Alfred around 1793. It was at Alfred that Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett wrote what is perhaps the best-known Shaker song, “Simple Gifts,” in 1848. The composer Aaron Copland later made this melody famous in his the score of his ballet “Appalachian Spring.” “Simple Gifts” is now the Official Town Song of Alfred, Maine.
The Shakers at Alfred farmed and tended their orchards, gardens, dairy, kitchen, and shops. In time, hundreds of Shakers called Alfred home.
Shaker life is valued for its simplicity, respect for nature, and prowess in art, furniture design, architecture, agriculture, music, and invention, and for its philosophy of life. The Shakers sought harmony in all things.
In 1931, the remaining Alfred Shakers merged their community with the sister group to the north, Sabbathday Lake. Sabbathday Lake is the last Shaker community in Maine and the last home anywhere of living Shakers.
Local residents decided that southern Maine and the town should not lose its Shaker history. They formed the Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum, and renovated a Shaker carriage house as a museum and educational center. FASM makes the Museum and its resources available to residents, tourists, scholars, and schoolchildren in order that the might learn and value the rich history that is still present in local memory.
The Alfred Shaker Museum is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1-4 PM from May till October. The Friends of the Museum mount exhibits, hold events and craft workshops, run a museum shop, build the museum’s collection of Shaker artifacts and resources as well as its library, and create school programs.
Visit, and as the Shakers would have done…
We Make You Kindly Welcome.
Our 2016 Season
Sarah Bouley of East Waterboro read her winning essay, “The Causes of the Decline of Shakers in Alfred,” at the awards ceremony, scheduled for 2:00 PM on May 14 at the Museum. For more information about this year’s essay contest, look here.
Also, our first craft workshops are planned for 2016, with more to come. See our Workshops page for more information and to sign up.
Our second annual Speakers’ Series will also begin in May. We have a very exciting lineup planned, so check the Speakers’ Series page periodically for more information.
Won’t you please consider becoming a Friend of the Alfred Shaker Museum this year? More member-volunteers are needed, and many hands make light work. If you would like to become a Museum docent and share the history of the Alfred Shakers with the public, we’ll gladly train you. Contact the Museum for details.