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Canterbury Shaker Village

Wood stacked for winter at Shaker Village / SeacoastNH


The Canterbury Shakers are gone, but their village lives on as a scenic museum nearby. No other village we know is more tied to the people who built it. The evidence of Shaker philosophy is built into everything they created. Here are a few simple pictures we grabbed while strolling the calming Canterbury campus.



Canterbury Shaker Village
288 Shaker Road
Canterbury, NH 03224
(603) 783-9511
Official web Site

And then there were none. The last time we visited the Shaker village museum just outside Concord, NH, Sister Ethel was in her 90s. The last of the New Hampshire Shakers, she still signed autographs, greeted children and offered tour information. Now she is gone, but the extraordinary museum is livelier than ever.

Shaker gatheringStarted in 1776, this English religious sect grew to nearly 6,000 United States members by theCivil War, in rural settings around the nation. Many villages survive as museums today. Officially they were known as the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing. The frenetic dances in their religious meetings led to the name Shaker. The Canterbury Village with 25 original buildings has been preserved as a nonprofit agency and working farm. Today, the simple functional lines of Shaker furniture and tools and architecture are a highly popular design motif.

The Shaker story -- one of deep religious conviction, hard work, striving toward quality and a strict separation of the sexes -- remains fascinating today. And the best place to learn the story is on a guided tour of the Shaker Village. Elements of functional Shaker design are everywhere, and visitors can wander through the rooms and fields where the members of the community lived.

Concord, NH is just an hour from Seacoast, NH, and Canterbury Village is another 10 miles up Rte 95. There's also a superb gift shop with a small museum display upstairs, a restaurant and frequent events on the campus of the beautiful 200-year old New England farm. In fall the sugar maples light up with color. But it's hard to take a bad photo -- in any season -- of this quiet, and now ghostly little village. - JDR


- Hancock Shake Village, Pittsfield, MA
- Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, KY
- Sabbathday Lake, New Gloucester, ME
- Enfield Museum, Enfiled, NH
- Mount Lebanon, NY
- Shaker Museum & Library, Chatham, NY
- Shaker Museum, South Union, KY

Canterbury Shaker Village/

Shaker Ingenuity, NH /

Canterbury Shaker Village/

Shaker Furnishings, Canterbury

Shaker Village, Canterbury, NH /

All photos (c) 2005 by


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