Building News

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.

Carpenters Wanted!

The Alfred Shaker Museum is looking for folks who are able to do carpentry. We are working on the upstairs library and could use the help, if anyone is interested in working on an old Shaker Barn. The volunteers who are working on the library meet every Tuesday at 9:30 AM until 3 PM, with time out for lunch. We hope to finish that project by spring.

Please contact us if you are able to help.

Museum News and Updates

Endowment Funded Boosted by Morrisons’ Gift

As many readers may know, Elizabeth Morrison of Alfred, who contributed so much in service, ideas, knowledge, and effort to the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum (FASM), died last April. It has since been disclosed that she made the museum’s two-year-old Endowment Fund the beneficiary of her $10,000 life insurance policy. Betty and her husband, Earl Morrison, have both held offices in FASM and have chaired the group’s largest annual fundraiser, an Apple Festival in September, in recent years. This year’s fest, on September 13 and 14, was a great success once again. FASM has been so rewarded by their volunteerism.

Museum Awaits Feedback from Teachers in York

The Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum (FASM) eagerly await feedback from York County school teachers of third through 12th graders about the video FASM produced on the history of the Shaker community in Alfred from 1783 until 1931. Alfred’s Shakers were the root community of Shakers in Maine. They also have been credited with enabling Shakerism to continue to the present time, since the Shakers who left Alfred in 1931 to merge with their fellows at New Gloucester imbued new life in the community there due to their youth and zeal. Three Shakers still live there. The video, done by Westside Audio Visual of New Hampshire, targeted two audiences: visitors to the museum and the area’s schoolchildren. FASM distributed DVDs of it as the school year ended last June to be used in history, civics, English, art, and music classes.

Shaker Museum Slide Show on YouTube

A slide show of Alfred Shaker Museum’s now-annual Simple Gifts concert, held in July, has been posted on YouTube. The concert takes note of the song composed by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett of Sabbathday Lake’s Shaker community when he visited Alfred in early summer 1848. The concert series was spearheaded by Portland-area violinist and music teacher Andy Happel, and it includes a jam session with some of his students and others who wanted to join in. The series is expected to continue for another eight years, culminating with the song’s 175th anniversary. Greg Hall of the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum put the slide show together.

Watch the slideshow here:

Shaker Friends to Begin Last Phase of Renovation

The Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum (FASM) expect to begin the last phase of their renovation of a mid-19th century Shaker Carriage House into their museum building at the end of this museum season in November. The work will turn a half-floor on the building’s second level into a library, reading room, and museum office. It is hoped the work will be completed by Fall 2015. The Davis Family Foundation has given FASM a grant for building materials for that renovation and to purchase and install storm and light-filtering windows to protect its collections in other parts of the structure.

Brothers Transfer Museum Building to FASM

Excerpted from the Shiretown News

The Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum (FASM) and the Brothers of Christian Instruction jointly announce the recently completed transfer of the museum building and its contents from the Brothers to FASM for a nominal fee to house the museum. Under the terms of the transfer agreement, the Brothers also provide an easement for FASM over an acre of land on the northeast side of Shaker Hill Road, which is the present site of the museum.

Obtaining greater security for its tenure and investment in the building have long been goals of FASM, which has been renovating the structure for years using its own effort and labor. The work has been done under a long-term agreement with the Brothers, which gave FASM the confidence to move forward with its founding of the museum, as well as work on the building. Tha work and confidence have now been significantly rewarded.

“We are very appreciative of the support and confidence the brothers have shown over the years. They too recognize the value of preserving the Shaker history in the Town of Alfred and in Maine,” said James Boyle, FASM president. He thanked, in particular, Brother Jerome Lessard, Provincial Superior of the Order that bought the former Shaker property in 1931. Boyle also thanked Al Carlson of Alfred, who negotiated the terms of the agreement with the Brothers over a period of months and saw it to completion.

The renovation of the first floor of the building is substantially completed. FASM expects to finish the second floor as a reading room and office by the end of next year, if grant monies are forthcoming for the required building materials.

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.

FASM News:

Find Us on Facebook

Keep in Touch!

Sign up here for the FASM email list.