Shakers

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.

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.

Alfred Shaker Museum 2016 Events and Workshops

2016 Events

March 27 Open House on Maine Maple Sunday
April 2 Wool Sale from 10 AM – 4 PM
May 14 The Museum opens for the season with a new exhibit, “Shaker Inventions.” Winners of the Essay Contest will be honored with an awards presentation.
June 8 FASM Annual Meeting (FASM Members Only)
July 16 “Simple Gifts” Music Festival
September 24-25 Shaker Hill Apple Festival
November 19-20 FASM table at the Holiday Fair at Alfred Elementary School
December 10 Open House for Christmas in the Shire
December 14 FASM Holiday Party

2016 Workshops

To register for any of our workshops, call Linda at 490-5709.

Date/Time Workshop Cost
Saturday, May 28 Basket Making with Martha Chessie TBD
Friday, June 5 Women’s Drumming Circle TBD
Saturday, October 29 Needle Felting with Beva Meagher TBD

For detailed information on the workshops, visit the Workshops page.

Video: Anita Sanchez Discusses the Shakers and the Civil War

Shaker Dinner — A Rousing Success!

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Thanks to everyone who attended our first authentic Shaker Dinner on June 7. (Extra thanks to those who helped serve, clean, etc.!) This completely sold-out event was a rousing success! In addition, guests were invited to stay for a screening of our film “Simple Gifts” and to tour this year’s exhibit, “The Shaker Kitchen.”

Here are some of the comments we heard about the Shaker Dinner (and about the Museum):

“I had no idea what to expect.”

“The cucumber salad was my favorite. Thanks for the souvenir recipe booklet. Now I can make the salad at home!”

“Who knew this great place was here?!”

Mark Your Calendars Now!

On Sunday, June 7, the Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum will hold a first-of-its-kind event that you won’t want to miss: an authentic Shaker dinner!

shaker-your-plateBased on the recipes in Shaker Your Plate: Of Shaker Cooks and Cooking by Sister Frances A. Carr of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community and other Shaker cookbooks, the dinner menu features the simple-but-timeless cuisine of the Shaker communities. It’s not difficult to imagine the Alfred Shakers sitting down to a similar meal after a day of mindful labor. The dinner will be prepared and served by a local caterer who creates all of the dinners for FASM’s annual meetings.

Tickets are limited to 25 people. They will be available starting on May 1, and you can either get them from a FASM member or at DeWolfe and Wood in the center of Alfred Village. Only 25 tickets will be available, so get them early!

For more information, contact Museum Curator Linda Aaskov.

Town Song and Help Wanted

Fosters.com published a story about making “Simple Gifts” the Alfred Town Song.

If you have time on Tuesday afternoon, FASM could use some help adding Museum information to Sanford Growth Council information packets. About 1300 packets still need to be done. These packets will travel to New England trade shows to spread awareness about all that our area has to offer. If you have time and would like to volunteer, contact Mary Lee.

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.

Shaker Hill Apple Festival, September 13-14

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Come celebrate the annual apple harvest on Shaker Hill in Alfred next weekend! This year’s Shaker Hill Apple Festival features apple picking (of course) plus fun, fine food, crafts, history, good buys at the Giant Yard Sale, and historic craft demonstrations.

The Alfred Shaker Museum promises fun for the whole family with pony rides, children’s activities guided by Linda Hobbs, craft vendors and demonstrators, an outdoor grill plus cotton candy and snow cones, an indoor restaurant offering corn chowder and slices of homemade apple pie made from produce on the Hill. There will be a tented yard sale, an Amish quilt raffle, and a seafood raffle.

Member Lloyd Hunt will give guided wagon tours of historic Shaker Hill. The Museum and Museum Shop will be open, and you will be able to view the Museum’s new video. Showtimes will be listed at the museum.

The Shaker Hill Apple Festival is a collaboration sponsored by FASM, the York County Shelters, the Brothers of Christian Instruction on Shaker Hill, and Giles Family Farm.

Class on the Shakers and Museum Field Trip

Lloyd & Sue Hunt are instructors in a two-session course at the Senior College in Saco on October 14 & 21. The first session will be a lecture on the history of the Shakers in America. The second will be a full-day trip to the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland to view the special exhibit, “The Shakers: from Mount Lebanon to the World.” The field trip will be led by Dr. Cynthia Mowles.

The course fee includes admission to the museum. Car pooling will be arranged for the museum trip. Cost is $50. There is a fee of $25.00 to join the Senior College, and the course cost is $25. Location: McArthur Library, Biddeford. Day/Time 9:30-11:30 AM October 14 at McArthur; 8 AM – all day October 21. Starts: Tuesday, October 14. Class size: min 12/ max 20.

FMI: visit www.yorkcountyseniorcollege.org.

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.

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