Located on a country road in rural Canterbury just 20 minutes outside New Hampshire’s state capital in Concord, Canterbury Shaker Village sits on nearly 700 acres, delighting visitors from across the region and beyond.
“The history here is just incredible,” said Executive Director Leslie Nolan, who said the property features thirty historic buildings and an extensive network of nature trails, ponds, and gardens for outdoor exploration.
Established in 1792, Canterbury Shaker Village is one of the oldest, most typical, and most completely preserved of the Shaker Villages. Subscribing to a revolutionary Christianity that shocked their contemporaries, the Shakers challenged nearly every mainstream ideal of American society, believing in communal ownership, pacifism, dancing in worship, equality of the sexes, celibacy, and living simply.
“They thrived here for 200 years,” explained Nolan, who said the last Shaker sister in residence, Ethel Hudson, died in 1992. “Our mission here is to preserve and interpret the legacy of the Shakers, while providing a place for learning, reflection, and renewal of the human spirit.”
This mission is achieved in multiple ways, including indoor and outdoor guided tours that begin on May 14. “On these tours, you will learn about how Shakers impacted agriculture, technology, modern architecture, and design in America,” said Nolan. “The Shakers were very creative and quite unorthodox.”
Another highlight from this year’s season includes Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me, an Exhibition by renowned artist Lesley Dill, that will run May 28 – September 11. Featuring a uniquely inspired selection of sculptures and two-dimensional works more than a decade in the making, the exhibition represents Dill’s ongoing investigation into the significant voices and personas of America’s past.
“This is a fantastic exhibit in our beautiful new gallery space,” said Nolan. “We are thrilled to show her work.”
On Thursday, June 23, Canterbury Shaker Village will host Simply Shaker Annual Fundraiser where guests will enjoy an open house, dinner, and celebration under a tent overlooking Turning Mill Pond. An accompanying online auction will also take place June 10 – June 20.
In partnership with New Hampshire Academy of Science, Canterbury Shaker Village will offer Introduction to Scientific Research Program on July 18 – 22 and July 25 – 29 for students, grades 8 – 10.
“This program takes place in our brand new STEM Lab,” said Nolan. “Here, students will learn about scientific planning, instrument techniques, and analytic approaches scientists use in an advanced ethically run research lab.”
In talking about their membership in the New Hampshire Heritage Trail, Nolan said she hopes Canterbury Shaker Village can inspire visitors to explore other member institutions.
“The Trail is a wonderful resource for the state, as each member museum works diligently to not just preserve history, but actively interpret and present it to audiences of varying ages and interests,” she said. “We invite you to experience all The Trail has to offer this season.”
To learn more about Canterbury Shaker Village, visit https://www.shakers.org.
In addition to Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, member institutions on The Trail are located in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, Merrimack Valley, and Seacoast.