Massabesic Student Wins Shaker Museum Essay Contest

Sarah Bouley (center), shown with her family at the contest awards ceremony at the museum last year.

An eighth-grade student at Massabesic Middle School has won the student essay contest sponsored annually by the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum (FASM). It is her second consecutive win in the contest.

The winner is Sarah Bouley of East Waterboro with her essay titled, “How the Shakers Earned a Living in Alfred”. She will receive a $100 prize and a collectible from FASM. Her essay will become part of the museum’s archive.

Sarah will read her essay in an award ceremony at the museum on its opening day of the new summer season — Saturday, May 13, at 2 p.m. The museum will open to the public at 1 p.m. that day at no charge.

A memorial tribute to the late Shaker Sister Frances Carr of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community, who died in January, will follow the award ceremony, and then treats will be served.

The judges for the essay contest were Elizabeth DeWolfe, Harland Eastman, and Al Carlson.

The museum will introduce the new season’s exhibit — titled Donations a Museum Make — that same day. New donations to the Shaker Museum, which recently established a dedicated fund for acquisitions, given the high prices commanded by Shaker items on antiquity markets, will be displayed.

The museum also is undertaking an exterior paint job this season which is funded by a grant from the Davis Family Foundation. The work will begin as weather permits and will be performed by Greg Knight of Alfred.

Announcing the 2017 Student Essay Contest

The Alfred Shaker Museum Student Essay Contest is now open for entries! See the contest flyer for the rules.

To submit your essay, visit the Student Essay Contest page.

Deadline for submitting your essay is March 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM. Winners will be announced in early April, and awards will be presented soon thereafter.

FMI or to make arrangements to use the Museum library for research, call Mary Lee Dunn Maguire at 324-7088.

Sarah Bouley of East Waterboro Wins Shaker Museum Contest

The Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum are pleased to announce that Sarah Bouley of East Waterboro has won its student essay contest this year and a $100 prize and an art print. Sarah is a seventh grader at Massabesic Middle School and is the daughter of James and Char Bouley.

Her essay is titled “The Causes of the Decline of Shakers in Alfred”, one of a choice of seven topics FASM asked entrants to address in their essays. In her conclusion, Sarah wrote, “By the 1900s, the end of the Shaker way of life became evident. Their rigid rules, a changing economy, new and improved technology, and different religious views had led the way to the end of the Shakers. Today there is only a small group of them left here in Lake Sabbathday, Maine. We can’t deny that the Shakers left an unforgettable mark here in our country though, and hopefully we will continue to remember the lasting memory of them here in Alfred, Maine.” Her essay will be archived at the museum.

FASM thanks Elizabeth DeWolfe, Harland Eastman, and Al Carlson, the contest judges for their service.

Sarah will read her essay and receive her award in a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, the opening day of the museum’s new season. Treats will be available for guests after the awards presentation. The museum’s seasonal exhibit will also make its first appearance that afternoon. Museum Curator Linda Aaskov chose to focus on Shaker inventions in this season’s presentation. There is no charge for admission though donations are gratefully accepted.

Visitors to the museum may also ask the day’s docent to play any of several videos in its film archive. Among them are museum productions from last year’s speakers series and its video history about Alfred’s Shakers which was designed for all visitors. The collection also includes a range of commercial films about Shakerism.

Museum supporters have not been inactive in the off-season. They held an open house on Maple Sunday, which attracted a number of visitors in groups, and planned a wool sale for Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for fabric artists, including rug braiders and rug hookers.

2016 FASM Student Essay Contest

The 6th annual FASM Student Essay Contest is underway! Students in Grades 7 & 8 and Grades 9 & 10 may submit essays on certain Shaker history-related topics. Prizes of $100 and $75 will be awarded (at the judges’ discretion) for the best essays in each division. Deadline is March 1, 2016 at 12 midnight. See the Student Essay contest page for the complete rules and to upload essays.


Museum Honors Lyman Student as Contest Winner


Benjamin Levesque, center, and his parents, Dan and Kate Levesque of Lyman, checked out Alfred Shaker Museum’s mural of Alfred Shaker Village before Benjamin read his essay on how the Shakers made a living in Alfred. Benjamin’s essay took the prize in the museum’s student essay contest this year. Benjamin is a 7th grader at Massabesic Middle School. His prize? A check for $100 and a framed print of Springvale artist Robert Arsenault’s picture of the meeting house in the Shaker Village on a winter day. The award ceremony on Saturday, May 16, was part of the museum’s opening for the new season. Refreshments followed the award presentation.

Win a Cash Prize! 5th Annual Student Essay Contest is Open for Entries

The 5th Annual Alfred Shaker Museum Essay Contest is now open for entries. The two winning student essays will each win a cash prize. All the rules and details are below. To open and save a PDF copy of the rules to your computer, click the image below. Don’t forget to save the PDF file to your computer!

Alfred Shaker Museum Student Essay Contest

To enter an essay, visit the Student Essay Contest page at and use the upload link on the page.

Painted Chair Contest Winner!


Congratulations to Sharon Wood of Smithfield, ME, for her winning entry in the Alfred Shaker Museum’s Painted Chair Contest! Sharon won a prize of $100.00. Her chair will be on display in the Museum until the Museum closes for the season in November.

Come see all of the beautiful contest entries in the Museum next weekend at the Shaker Hill Apple Festival!

Contest judges Lucille Hussey of Alfred, Linda Migneault of Alfred, and Sandy Howe of Cornish

Contest judges Lucille Hussey of Alfred, Linda Migneault of Alfred, and Sandy Howe of Cornish

New Season Starts May 17

The 2014 season will open on May 17 at 1 PM with an exhibit titled “Hands to Work, Hearts to God,” a well-known Shaker expression. Each year, FASM develops a new exhibit with items from its collection and with occasional borrowed Shaker artifacts. Museum Curator Linda Aaskov supervises the displays.

Also premiering on Opening Day 2014 is the historical video Simple Gifts: the Shaker Community of Alfred, Maine. Read more about the video and view the trailer here.

On the opening weekend, FASM will also present the prizes to the winners of our Student Essay Contest, now in its fourth year.

FASM is also holding a Painted Chair Contest for patrons who want to try their hands at the decorative arts. The rules and entry forms are located on the Painted Chair Contest page.

FASM has scheduled its annual dinner meeting for Wednesday, June 11, at the Massabesic Lions Den. The meal will be catered.

FASM extends a welcome to all interested in the museum. The group meets once a month on the second Wednesday, at 7 PM.

Student Essay Contest Update

Don’t Forget! The deadline for the Student Essay Contest is Saturday, March 1.

See the Events and Workshops page for the rules and topics and for the handy File Uploader you can use to upload finished essays.

Painted Chair Contest


Enter the Painted Chair Contest & win a $100.00 Prize!

Let your hidden talents come alive with this contest — paint one of your own chairs, or let us supply one. The contest will be judged by local artists.

How to Enter

Download a contest entry form here, or you may pick up a contest sheet at the Alfred Shaker Museum at 118 Shaker Hill Road (Opening for the season in mid-May, open Wed. & Sat. 1-4 PM), OR call 490-5709.

If you supply your own chair, the entry fee is $5.00. FASM will supply a chair for you for an entry fee of $10.00.

The deadline to enter is July 31, 2014.

Completed chairs must be ready to be on display between August 16 and the contest judging date, which is September 6.

The winner will be announced at the museum on Saturday, Sept 6 at 2 PM (immediately after judging). The winner must be willing to leave the chair on display at the museum until it closes for the season in mid-November.

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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