“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.

Fiber Arts Nights Resume on June 7

Attention knitters, crocheters, embroiderers, rug hookers/braiders, needle felters, and everyone else who indulges in a fiber-related craft!

Fiber Arts Nights are returning to FASM starting on Tuesday, June 7, from 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Come join the regulars for a weekly evening of camaraderie while you work on your projects.

Beginners are welcome! Help is available for novice knitters and embroiderers.

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.

Museum & Gift Shop Open December 10

The Alfred Shaker Museum will be open this Saturday, December 10, from 10 AM – 4 PM. Come visit, have a cup of hot cider, and say hello!

Come visit the Museum gift shop for gifts or stocking stuffers!

May we suggest…

  • A good book for adults or children about the Shakers
  • A beautiful handcrafted wooden Shaker Box by Mark Jacobs
  • Art and crafts by local artists
  • Jams, pickles, and Shaker herbs
  • Brooms, walking sticks, scarves, sweaters, felted mittens…you name it, we might have it.

If we don’t have what you’re looking for, we might be able to order it. Just ask!

Looking forward to seeing you.

We make you kindly welcome!

Videos from the 2016 Speakers’ Series

Video: Tonya Shevenell’s The Home Road

Tonya_ShevenellWalk from srctv on Vimeo.

Video: Noah Binette’s The Saga of Malaga

Wool Fabric Sale, November 12

On Saturday, November 12th from 1 – 4 pm, there will be a Wool Fabric Sale at the Alfred Shaker Museum. This is new wool at more than reasonable prices. There is something there for everyone — rug braiders, rug hookers, penny rug makers and crafters, etc. who use new wool.

The Alfred Shaker Museum will be closing for the season that weekend, but will be open for special functions, which we will post on our website and the town website.

If you have any questions, contact Barbara Carlson at 207-651-6700.

Quillie Ornament Class Postponed

The November 5 Quillie Ornament class has been canceled due to some technical difficulties. The Museum will try to reschedule it for sometime in 2017. If you signed up for the class and pre-paid, contact Linda for reimbursement.

Final Speakers’ Forum Talk of the 2016 Season

Adam Nudd-Homeyer speaking at our final Speakers' Forum session for 2016. His subject was the making of Shaker chairs.

Adam Nudd-Homeyer speaking at our final Speakers’ Forum session for 2016. His subject was the making of Shaker chairs.

Museum Hours:

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

Closing for the season on November 15.

Admission: Free. Donations are gratefully accepted.

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.