Student Essays

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.

2016 Speakers’ Series Announced

Shaker Museum, Sanford-Springvale Historical Society to Offer New Speakers’ Series

ALFRED – Alfred Shaker Museum and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society will offer a second year of the Sid Emery Memorial Forum this coming season. It will again be a four-event program that focuses on both Maine history and culture.

The series will begin on May 22. Each event will be held at 1:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon at Alfred Shaker Museum and is free to the public though donations will be gratefully accepted. The speakers and their dates are as follows:

May 22: Noble High School student Noah Binette will describe his research on the tragic story of the evictions of 40 legal residents of Malaga Island, off the Maine coast, in 1912. The victims were a poor ethnic community who had little ability to fight for themselves. Some were sent to mental institutions and even the island cemetery was removed. Binette, who will be a high school senior in the fall, has won state and national awards for his account of their story.

Aug. 21: Filmmaker Tonya Shevenell takes up migration issues in The Home Road, her film of her father’s trek for nearly 200 miles from Canada to Biddeford where his father became the first French Canadian immigrant to settle permanently in that Maine community. At age 19, Israel Shevenell made the trip in 1845. The film captures the grit, commitment and persistence of emigrants and immigrants as they made their bid for a better life. It is a timely subject, given the migration struggles that beset the world today.

Oct. 16: Speaker Ron Romano is fascinated by cemeteries and by the life of Bartlett Adams, one of the earliest stonecutters in Portland whose work graces cemeteries all over southern Maine. Romano is a board member of Spirits Alive, the Friends of Portland’s Historic Eastern Cemetery. He guides the interested through summer cemetery tours and his work shows Adams’ products in 133 southern Maine burial grounds. Romano has lectured around the country on this history and his book, Early Gravestones in Southern Maine: The Genius of Bartlett Adams, is to be published in summer 2016.

Oct. 23: Adam Nudd-Homeyer will discuss his craftsmanship, which marries history, woodworking, and metal work. A 7th-generation craftsman at Tappan Chairs in Sandwich, N.H., and an experienced educator, he works with both early historical tools and techniques and modern methods and materials as needed. Under a pact with Maine’s Shakers and Chilton furniture company, his prototype of a Shaker chair originally produced in Alfred’s Shaker village has been selected for reproduction and will be sold to the public by Chilton.

The Speakers’ Series, introduced last year, is named for Sid Emery, a longtime member of both sponsoring organizations who lived in Springvale, had strong ties to Alfred, and died in 2015 at the age of 101.

The sponsors hope to videotape the speakers’ presentations, as was done last year, to build archives for future programming. Last year, both Saco River TV, a public access station, and the Sanford High School video club videotaped the programs, which are available on Alfred Shaker Museum’s web site at http://www.alfredshakermuseum.com/events-workshops/speakers-series/.

The Shaker Museum formally opens for the season on Saturday, May 14, unveiling a new exhibit on Shaker inventions and awarding top prize in its student essay contest to East Waterboro student Sarah Bouley. She will read her essay, titled “The Causes of Decline of the Shakers in Alfred,” at the ceremony, which is open to the public. Sarah is a seventh grader at Massabesic Middle School and is the daughter of James and Char Bouley of East Waterboro.

As in past years, the museum will be open to visitors on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons from 1 to 4 pm this summer season, coinciding with hours of the town’s museum in the village center. For more programming information, see the museum’s web site at www.alfredshakermuseum.org.

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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.

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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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