Yearly Archives: 2015

Merry Christmas from FASM


The Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum would like to wish all our Friends and Members the Love, Peace, and Happiness that the true meaning of Christmas brings.

FASM Welcomes In the Holiday Season

The Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum held their annual Christmas party with a potluck dinner and gift swap. A short business meeting followed, followed by the drawing of the winner of the Maine Native American basket filled with Shaker-related items. The winner is Ken Shaw, who purchased the winning ticket while visiting the Museum at the Apple Festival in September.

The Museum would also like to thank those who came and shopped on 12/12 as part of Alfred’s “Christmas in the Shire.” The Museum will be open again in March 2016 during Maple Sugar Sunday, and will open for the season in May.

Christmas in the Shire, December 12

The Alfred Shaker Museum will be open on Saturday, December 12th from 10 AM until 4 PM to participate in the town of Alfred’s “Christmas in the Shire.”.

Our Gift Shop will be open for your Christmas shopping. Come and support your local Shaker Museum. We make you kindly welcome.

Letter to the editor: Shaker museum sharing videos of forum speakers

From the Portland Press Herald, Nov. 16, 2015

Full-length videos of three talks in the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum’s recent series of speakers — the Sid Emery Memorial Forum — are posted on our website at We encourage teachers to incorporate them in their course curricula and the interested public to view them.

The series of talks started Aug. 3 and ended Oct. 25. It included talks by:

  • Anita Sanchez, author of Mr. Lincoln’s Chair, who discussed how the Shakers obtained conscientious objector status from President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
  • Richard Judd, co-editor of the new Historical Atlas of Maine and a professor at the University of Maine, who related the history of the book and talked about a “renaissance of Maine history” since the 1990s.
  • Native American historian and artist George Neptune of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, who tells the stories of early peoples in Maine and used his own artistic baskets in weaving the tale. He is an educator at Maine’s Abbe Museum.

Unfortunately, filming of the first talk in the series was unproductive because of technical difficulties.

That talk was by James Harmon, director of the Sanford International Film Festival and teacher at Sanford High School. He described his developing interest in filmmaking since childhood and how Sanford established the festival.

The Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum are grateful to Harmon’s student film club and to Patrick Bonsant of Saco River TV for filming the presentations in the series.

We also thank the Maine Humanities Council, Kennebunk Savings Bank Foundation, Alfred Historical Society, and two private donors for supporting the series. We also appreciate the collaboration of the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society in co-hosting these events.

Barbara Carlson
President, Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum

Shaker Museum to Show Film on Buxton’s Local History


In an addition to this summer season’s programming, the Alfred Shaker Museum will screen Buxton, Maine: An American Story on Sunday, Nov. 15 , at 1:30 p.m. at the museum. The video is a production of Saco River TV’s director, Patrick Bonsant, and Matthew Fletcher, with support from the Narragansett Number One Foundation.

Bonsant will provide an introduction to the film before the screening. He and Fletcher taped, produced, and edited the film.

The film involved three years of work for Bonsant, who grew up in central Maine. He holds a BA in communications and media studies from the University of Southern Maine and enrolled in a seven-week program on video and film at Media Workshops in Rockport. He has worked as an evening editor at an ABC affiliate and has served as a media specialist for community tv networks in Portland and Gorham. He joined Saco River in Hollis as its director in 2007. Another documentary he produced, Saco River Indian Cellar, was a community film selection for MPBN three years ago.

While the current film focuses on Buxton, “the personal stories and the historical narrative will resonate with anyone who grew up in a small New England town,” he said. The narrative captures the distinctive history and development of much of Maine and its people. Since the full video is more than 2½ hours long, the Alfred museum’s screening will excerpt roughly the first 95 minutes for this presentation.

The film begins in the 1700s with the Native Americans and the first settlers and their families. With beautiful photography and a strong narrative, the film shows the emergence of dominant individuals and families, livelihoods, and industries over centuries and presents interviews with experts and current residents to capture its past and comments on its future. Many cultural institutions cooperated in the effort.

There will be no charge for viewers to see the film, but donations will be accepted with appreciation.

“We are very grateful that Patrick Bonsant offered us this program,” said Barbara Carlson, president of the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum. “It is both insightful and enlightening.”

Museum Curator Linda Aaskov, who has ancestral roots in Buxton, noted that the production “might be said to be part of that ‘renaissance of Maine history’ that Sid Emery Memorial Forum speaker Richard Judd of the University of Maine recently cited in his Forum talk as a development of the last 20 years or more.

Videos of three presentations in the Forum series are now posted on the museum’s website. They include talks by Authors Anita Sanchez and Judd, and one about the history of Maine’s Native Americans by George Neptune of the Passamaquoddy tribe. The Forum co-hosts — Alfred Shaker Museum and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society — hope that schools in Southern Maine will incorporate viewings of these talks in curricula for their students.

Historian George Neptune Speaks on October 25


Shaker Museum Curator Linda Aaskov, right, introduces George Neptune to his audience on Sunday at the museum. Neptune, a Native-American historian and basket-maker, was the last of four speakers in the Sid Emery Memorial Forum. The Speakers’ Forum was held this summer by the museum’s Friends organization and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society. Neptune’s artistic basketry is displayed on the table before them. Videos of two of the earlier lectures in the series are posted here as well. Patrick Bonsant of Saco River TV filmed Neptune’s talk on Sunday, and it will be posted when ready.

Video: Author Richard Judd’s Presentation

Richard W. Judd speaking at the Shaker Hill Museum in Alfred, Maine, Sunday, October 4, 2015. from srctv on Vimeo.

Scenes from Shaker Hill Apple Fest

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Judd Tells History and Development of New Maine Atlas

After his talk, Dr. Richard W. Judd, left, talks with local historian Bruce Tucker of Alfred.

After his talk, Dr. Richard W. Judd, left, talks with local historian Bruce Tucker of Alfred.

Dr. Richard W. Judd gave a free-flowing account Sunday, Oct 4, at Alfred Shaker Museum of the how and why behind the production of a Historical Atlas of Maine. He and geographer Stephen J. Hornsby are the co-editors of the lavish volume that came out late last year from the University of Maine Press and sold out in weeks. A second printing is now available.

His talk is the third of four in a series sponsored by the museum’s Friends organization and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society. The series, titled the Sid Emery Memorial Forum, is named in memory of a member of both organizations who died last spring.

Dr. Judd is a professor at the University of Maine who teaches Maine and New England history, as well as environmental and labor history. He made use of all of his expertise in working on the book.

For context, he explained that he arrived in Maine in 1984 and taught courses on the state’s history for some years without a textbook. There was none. A couple of simple substitutes were used, including a compilation of important Maine documents, but they were not the needed textbook. He eventually collaborated with two others and produced The Pine Tree State: From Prehistory to the Present. Soon Amy Hassinger did a book for middle- and high school students, called Finding Katahdin, which met state requirements for those grades. Then the Folklife Center at the University of Maine delivered oral histories in the wake of Stewart Hall Holbrook’s Yankee Loggers: A Recollection of Woodsmen, Cooks and River Drivers, and the Maine Memory Network was developed with old photos of many Maine people, sites, and events. The American and New England Studies department was organized at the University of Southern Maine, but has since been discontinued.

All of these projects constituted a kind of “renaissance in Maine history,” Judd said. As the new millennium started, he was confident “that Maine (despite its comparatively small population) was better documented than almost any other state.”

The new atlas was the brainchild of Burton Hatlen, a dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, he said, and Hatlen drew together a steering committee for the project. “We had no idea what we were doing,” Judd said. “We were dreaming.” The committee members had no real familiarity with an atlas.

But their ideas gradually developed, and they worked with cartographers to produce maps with short text blocks and overlaid the maps with information produced by new technologies, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) material. The editors included colored art works and old photographs in the book too. They included bird’s-eye view maps as well, which Judd favored.

The short text explanations (about 500 words) were a new approach for Judd who, as a historian, favored narrative, but he came to see the power of keeping the narratives short, “letting the readers go into the maps and imagine the history” documented in them. For instance, readers could see the way port cities were planned: docks near the water, then warehouses, then a financial district, then the governmental and commercial sectors. It was a one-shaped pattern of development followed in most seaside urban areas, he said. Judd presented a slide show of “plates” from the book, illustrating his points.

In the question-and-answer session that followed, a woman in the audience said that she worked for Sen. Angus King and appreciated Judd’s presentation. About 35 people attended the event.

The next speaker, on Oct. 25, will be Native American historian and artist George Neptune whose work will be included in the Portland Museum of Art’s new Biennial exhibition opening on Oct. 8. His artistic specialty is basket-making, which he learned from his grandmother. Neptune graduated from Dartmouth a few years ago and works at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. His talk will begin at 1:30 and is free to the public.

The series began with James Harmon, director of the Sanford International Film Festival and Sanford high school film teacher, and Anita Sanchez, a botanist who also writes and is the author of Mr. Lincoln’s Chair, a Shaker Civil War story. The series has been funded by the Maine Humanities Council, the Kennebunk Savings Bank Foundation, the Alfred Historical Society and two local donors. A video of the Sanchez talk in this 150th anniversary of the Civil War is now posted at the museum’s web site at, a product of Harmon’s student film club. Unfortunately, an unusual technology glitch thwarted the film-making of the first event in the series. The Judd talk was filmed by Patrick Bonsant, the director of Saco River TV.

Author Richard Judd Speaks on October 4


Museum Hours:

Museum Hours: 1 PM – 4 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and by appointment.

Closing for the season on November 11.

Admission: Free. Donations are gratefully accepted.

We are dog-friendly. Well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome in our building.

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