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. 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 museum is open to the public Memorial Day through Columbus Day, Monday through Saturday (Closed Sundays). 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Library: The Library is open year round. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Closed for lunch 12:00 to 1:00). Appointments are required.
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 75 minutes. Tours are available Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Tours begin at 10:30 am, the last tour is at 3:15 pm.
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).
View (and print) a map courtesy of Mapquest.
Web Site: www.shaker.lib.me.us
For information on activities and events
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