Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
Today Sabbathday Lake is the only remaining active Shaker community. It is made up of the 18 well maintained buildings of the Church Family. Known as "Chosen Land" to the Shakers, it was established in 1794. The museum was first organized in 1931 by Sisters Iona Sedgley and Ethel Peacock in hopes of educating the public about the "truths" of Shakerism. Thousands of visitors have come to explore this unique and sacred place of work and worship. Featured at this site are Museum, Shaker Store, Library, Exhibits, Guided Tours and Special Programs. Exhibits include: Shaker furniture, tin and woodenware, folk art, textiles, early American tools and farm implements.
THE SHAKER LIBRARY
The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing (Shakers) has been printing and publishing since 1790. Many of the books, tracts, broadsides, and periodicals automatically became part of the libraries at each community. In 1881, Elder Otis Sawyer, a native of Portland and chief chronicler of Maine Shakerism, conceived the idea of establishing complete libraries at both Sabbathday Lake and Alfred. In two years time he had collected and cataloged everything written by or about the Shakers. Elder Otis died in 1884. The work progressed in the ensuing years under the direction of several Shakers, even though the integrity of the collection was often challenged. When Alfred Believers moved to Sabbathday Lake in 1931 their collection of books and archives came also. The Alfred collection had been maintained by Sister R. Mildred Barker. From her Alfred days until her death at Sabbathday Lake in 1990, Sister Mildred was a vital force for the preservation and use of the Library and Archives.
From 1960 to his death in 1986, Brother Theodore Johnson was Director of the Library. He worked diligently expanding the collection from one tiny room to nearly three rooms in the Dwelling House. Through Br. Theodore's efforts, cataloging is under the Library of Congress system and standard archival practices are in use. The maintenance and use of the collections persisted in the Dwelling House at Sabbathday Lake for over 100 years. Just prior to his death, Br. Theodore had been successful in taking a major step toward securing a new and proper home for the Library. The Shaker Library is in its new home in the restored 1880 New Gloucester Shaker Schoolhouse .
In 1986, the United Society of Shakers at Sabbathday Lake began the process of completely renovating the schoolhouse returned to its original site with a new foundation. The ell at the back is now a two-level fireproof vault for safely enclosing the Shaker Library's printed and archival collections. The school room itself serves as a research center.
At present a full-time librarian/archivist with the assistance of Shaker community members is in charge of the Shaker Library,
Shaker Museum: The 2016 season runs from Friday, May 27, 2015 through Columbus Day, October 10, 2016. The Museum is open open Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm EST. Please note that the Museum and grounds are closed on Sundays but Sunday Meeting worship is open to the public.
Museum Research Facilities: We encourage any scholar, researcher, author, or Shaker enthusiast to explore the vast wealth of information, history, and culture represented at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. The collection at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum is available year round to researchers and scholars by appointment only. Museum research appointments should be made with Michael Graham, Director of the Shaker Library, Shaker Museum, and Shaker Herb Department.
Guided Tours: The Shakers are pleased to offer their visitors guided tours of the premises at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. These tours provide valuable insights into the Maine Shaker heritage and culture of the past as well as the present. Guided tours take approximately one hour. Tours are available Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Tours begin at 10:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. 3:15 p.m. Adults $10.00; Family pass (parents and children): $30.00; Children, ages 6 - 12: $2.00; Under 6: FREE
"Creating Chosen Land: Our Home 1783-2010" (included free with guided tour above, or purchase alone for the following prices) Adults $7.00; Family pass (parents and children): $20.00; Children, ages 6 - 12: $2.00; under 6: FREE
Shaker Herb Garden Tour (included free with guided tour above, or purchase alone for the following prices). Tuesdays & Thursdays - July through September 10th 2:15 PM - reservations suggested. Adults $7.00; Children, ages 6 - 12: $2.00; under 6: FREE.
GROUP TOURS OF THE MUSEUM ARE AVAILABLE BY ADVANCE RESERVATION. Call 207-926-4597 to schedule.
LOCATION & DIRECTIONS
The Shaker Village is located on Route 26, approximately 8
miles north of Exit 11 of the Maine Turnpike in Gray, Maine, and 8 miles west
of Exit 12 (Auburn).
The Village is 25 miles north of Portland, and 12 miles west of Lewiston-Auburn.
From the South (Portland, Boston): Take Gray Exit 11 off the Maine Turnpike. Turn right at the toll booth and go up to the traffic light in Gray Center; turn left at the light onto Route 26 North, then turn left at the second light to follow Route 26 North approximately 8 miles to the Shaker Village (watch for road signs).
From the North (Augusta, Bangor): Take Auburn Exit 12 off the Maine Turnpike. Turn right at the toll booth onto Routes 100, 4, 202. Follow that route for one mile and turn right onto Route 122. Follow Route 122 over hill and dale until you come to Route 26. Turn left onto Route 26 South. Follow Route 26 South for about 2 miles and you will be at the Shaker Village. The Village is about eight miles from Exit 12 (watch for road signs).
Meals are not available at the Village. A wide selection of restaurants are located within 10 minutes of the Village in the towns of Gray, New Gloucester, Poland, and Auburn.
For information about area accommodations, call the Maine Office of Tourism at 1-888-624-6345.
United Society of Shakers
707 Shaker Road
New Gloucester, Maine 04260
Web Site: www.maineshakers.com
For information on activities and events
at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village,
please go to our Calendar of Shaker Events