“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.”
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 2014 Season
The Alfred Shaker Museum began its 2014 Season on May 17 at 1 PM. The theme for this year’s exhibition is “Hands to Work, Hearts to God.”
Two events took place at our May museum opening:
- The première of our video project, Simple Gifts: the Shaker Community of Alfred, Maine. View the trailer here.
- Announcing the winners of our Student Essay Contest
FASM is also excited to announce the second annual “Simple Gifts” Music Festival, which took place on July 19.
As part of Alfred’s Apple Fest on September 13 & 14, FASM will hold its traditional Giant Yard Sale at the Museum. Donations will be gratefully accepted, and we’ll even pick them up!
Be sure to visit our News page for information on upcoming events at the Museum and our 2014 season.