South Union Shaker Village and Museum
The 1824 Centre House/Shaker Museum
Symmetrical interior of the Centre House
Typical Shaker bedroom
Backstory and Context
While in South Union, the shakers constructed over 200 buildings and worked 6,000 acres, growing crops and raising livestock. They used the food to feed themselves and sold the excess to the outside communities. They also manufactured high-quality, hand-crafted goods, such as brooms, baskets, and clothing. However, the Shaker were best known for building simple, elegant and sturdy furniture, which they also sold to raise funds. The museum is now home to one of the largest collections of Shaker furniture within the United States.
The village and museum now displays that furniture as well as Shaker quilts, butter churns, and other items to reveal their day-to-day life. It is also home to numerous pages of Shaker journals which many wrote on a daily basis. These original manuscripts reveal a great deal about the Shakers and their community, especially as the Civil War raged around them as both Union and Confederate soldiers passed through their village in search of food and rest.
The village sponsors many special events to include broom making demonstrations, seminars, lectures, music days, a Shaker breakfast, and Christmas at Shakertown. They also rent the village out for weddings and other special occasions. Finally, there is also the 1869 Shaker Tavern and Inn that the Shakers built but leased to outside interests. It now serves as a bed and Breakfast.