Hancock Shaker Village
Hancock Shaker Village, Inc., is a private, not-for-profit educational organization that preserves and presents to the public the Shakers' legacy at their community in Hancock, Massachusetts. The Shaker Central Ministry closed the community in 1960 and sold the buildings and surrounding 900 acres to a group of Shaker enthusiasts, collectors and scholars who formed the not-for-profit corporation that eventually became Hancock Shaker Village. The museum opened to the public on July 1, 1961.
Over its history, the Village has steadily continued a program to restore the site and buildings, acquire and preserve adjacent land, assemble and care for the premier Shaker collection, and add innovative educational programs that bring the Shaker story to life. The Village is a National Historic Landmark and accredited by the American Association of Museums.
My daughter loves this place with it's unfamiliar structures/architectural designs that help her to step into the past. I brought my mother (who is in a wheelchair) here and while many of the buildings would be difficult if not impossible for her to get into, there is much to be enjoyed from the exterior of the buildings. The wooden paths are easy enough to get a wheelchair over.
A nice outdoor museum / historical site. There is a visitors' center with artifacts, a film and lots of furniture. Man, those Shakers knew how to design and build things. Since the shakers existed into the 20th century, the buildings are well documented and there are MA NY photographs. The main attraction is the central barn. And the have a adjoining Manger with cows and goats and Pig's. My only beef with the site is that too many of the buildings aren't accessible. Most don't have ramps to get into the first floor, much less any of the floors above that. As an outdoor site, it's good for rowdy children, plus you can discuss how the Shakers took in orphans and poor families and all the chores that children were expected to do to contribute at an early age. Recommended.
The farm animals are so fun to see and pet for any age group. Great humans too!
Eric H. Doss
An unexpected gem. My wife and I visited and expected to spend a few hours poking around in the middle of the day. Instead, we spent the entire day here and loved every minute. We easily could have spent another day checking out all the exhibits and classes. We enjoyed a discussion about medicinal plants, about the Shaker use of hydro-power, and explored the working barn. We also visited with the blacksmith, the basket maker, the weaver, and the woodworker. What was great about these artisans is they are actually artisans, not guides who have been trained to do one or two things. You encounter people who are truly passionate about their art and it shows in their conversations. If you're in the area, you have to visit the Shaker Village.
Hancock Shaker Village is a wonderful place to learn about and experience the history of the Shakers. Just outside of Pittsfield it’s a great place to stop on your way through the Berkshires or visit for the day. I would definitely recommend it to ANYONE who hasn’t been there yet.