Yearly Archives: 2017

Our Newest Acquisition

The Alfred Shaker Museum is proud to announce its latest acquisition; a Thomas Cushman spinning wheel with attached plate. Come and see it!

Did you know that the Museum accepts donations of Shaker items, and that donations are tax-deductible? The Museum also has a new Acquisitions Fund, to be used exclusively for purchasing Shaker artifacts and related materials. For more information, look here.

Biographer, Military Sleuth, and Historian: Don Deignan’s Talk at Shaker Museum on October 15

He’s written a book that is a double biography, a World War 2 mystery, and a book about family, industrial and local history. Even more, it is a story of inspiration overcoming disability. Rhode Island author Don Deignan spoke at Alfred Shaker Museum at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, the last of four speakers in this season’s Sid Emery Memorial Forum sponsored by the museum and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society.

His book recounts a tale of personal commitment that is a repayment of a “debt of honor” to the uncle who helped him overcome enormous physical disabilities. And part of his story is set in Alfred during the years of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression.

Deignan’s book is titled The Shadow of Sacrifice / The True Story of a Pearl Harbor Survivor and His Nephew and Namesake. Deignan has a doctoral degree in history from Brown University and is one of the primary forces behind establishment of Providence’s Irish Famine memorial.

In the Alfred portion of the book, he was helped to do research by Gus Hedden, director at Alfred’s Parsons Memorial Library, local historian and author John Cook, and Irish historian and author Mary Lee Dunn Maguire, a board member of Alfred Shaker Museum, who helped him tap records about the CCC at Alfred’s town museum, thanks to help from Allison Williams.

Deignan was born with serious disabilities affecting both his sight and his ability to walk. For years he was a student at the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts. There, at the Perkins School when he was 10 years old, on one anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was inspired by the service of his uncle who had died there on military duty.

It was his Uncle Donald whose life had most captured the boy’s commitment and imagination and given him the inspiration to press on despite his physical disabilities. With that early epiphany, he had developed a spiritual link with his late uncle that lasted and comforted him for a lifetime. But there were surprises as he focused on repaying his debt to Donald, the war hero. Don started to research his uncle’s war experience and encountered a record that presented questions that he set out to answer and mysteries he aimed to solve. Thus, he went up against the military bureaucracy in trying to find out how his uncle had died. And the answers, when he found them, did not comport with the family story he’d been told.

In the end he made peace with his Uncle Donald and satisfied his mission to repay the debt of honor that he felt he owed his uncle which he had undertaken so many decades earlier as a forlorn 10-year-old with overwhelming burdens.

Wool Felting Class October 28

Our next workshop will take place on October 28th, 2017, starting at 10:00 AM sharp.

Make this friendly Halloween witch to greet all the little hobgoblins that come to your door.

Cost: $30.00, paid in advance.

Class size is limited to 10 participants.

Register by contacting Pat Vertefeuille at 207-459-5155.

Speakers’ Series Updates

Our October 1 Speakers’ Series event with John Goff has been canceled due to illness.

However, our October 15 event with Don Deignan is still taking place.

Win a Raffle Basket!

Stop by the Alfred Shaker museum any Wednesday or Saturday (1-4) and buy chances on this basket packed with goodies — $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00. Drawing Dec. 13th.

Contents:

  • New Oprah Winfrey Cookbook
  • New Paleo cookbook
  • Bottle of Shaker Dipping Oil
  • Video all about the Alfred Shaker Community & Museum

Sold: Antique Shaker Spinning Wheel

Spinning Wheel Update: Our Walking Wheel has been sold.

Hammond Organ for Sale

organ

Hammond Electric Organ

$500.00 or BEST OFFER

Contact Linda at 207-490-5709

Scenes from “Simple Gifts”

Here are some photos from our 5th annual “Simple Gifts” concert.

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“Simple Gifts” Music Festival July 16

Come join FASM in celebration of the 169th anniversary of Alfred’s Town Song, “Simple Gifts.” The play-along begins at 5:00 PM. Bring an instrument (or your voice) and join in! At 6:00 PM, the concert commences. As usual, it will feature a variety of interpretations of “Simple Gifts” as expressed in various musical combinations and dance.

For more information: Contact Andy Happel.

Limerick Composer Discusses Maine Music History


Speaker John Secunde, right, and Brother Albert Heinrich discuss music history after Secunde’s presentation at Alfred Shaker Museum on Sunday (June 11).

Limerick music composer John Secunde engaged his audience at Alfred Shaker Museum on Sunday, June 11, with his history of early Maine composer Supply Belcher. He offered samples of Belcher’s music, which Secunde thinks has been “largely neglected today” and has “fallen by the wayside” despite his significant early role in music in America.

John Secunde, who recently graduated with a degree in music composition from the State University of New York at Fredonia and is headed to a master’s program at the Longy School of Music at Bard College in the fall, focused on Supply Belcher (1751-1836).

Belcher lived and worked in Farmington and Hallowell (now Augusta). He moved from Massachusetts to Maine after the Revolutionary War, in which he served and was designated a captain by George Washington. At one point, he also interacted with Paul Revere over payment for a town bell. In Maine, Belcher was a well-known civil servant.

The presentation was the second this season in the Sid Emery Memorial Forum, which is now in its third year of sponsorship from the Shaker museum and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society. Funding has been provided by the Davis Family Foundation.

Belcher, Secunde explained, was a member of the New England School of five musicians who banded together through common interests and geography and produced “tune books”. The school included William Billings and Justin Morgan (for whom the Morgan horse is named). In 1794, Belcher published a book called Harmony of Maine, with a preface that Secunde termed “important” for its redefinition of music’s place in contrast with the European position. Belcher’s view was that music was about “bringing communities together.” There was a “trend toward sacred music… to be used in churches.”

Secunde played samples of three Belcher pieces, including a “Sacred Harp Performance,” “Heroism,” and “Majesty.” In “Majesty,” Belcher employed chance as a controlling factor over which notes are played. A member of the audience, who seemingly was skeptical about that piece, questioned whether chance could actually produce good music. Secunde said the approach was interesting, “colorful,” and “not sacred music,” and that chance “removes the influence of intuition.”

Secunde also talked about the strong influence on American music of the influx of German immigrants to the United States about 1800. And he praised Belcher as one of the “few musicians who is completely American and unique but… largely neglected today.”

The final two talks in the Memorial Forum, by book authors, will take place in October. For more information, see Speakers’ Series.

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.

Become a Friend of the Alfred Shaker Museum!


FASM meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 PM at the Alfred Shaker Museum. The public is invited to our meetings (unless announced otherwise).

We welcome new members! To join FASM, see our Become a Friend page.

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