The garden tool shed structure was built in 1922 as a summer house for the Shaker Sisters. At that time, it was located just west of the Brick Dwelling. It was originally screened in on all sides to allow breezes to pass through, and it served as a place to drink tea and for afternoon and evening relaxation. This building’s existence is indicative of how the Shakers’ approach to recreation changed over time. Earlier Shakers would not have devoted an entire structure to leisure time.
Since the beginning of the museum era at Hancock, the building has been re-purposed for staff use, first as a ticket booth situated to the west side of the historic grounds, and later as a tool shed and seed sorting house for garden staff. It is the first building that modern visitors to the Village encounter after they have passed through the Visitors Center and current ticketing area.
The herb garden that sits adjacent to the Garden Tool shed contains medicinal and culinary herbs raised by the United Society for sale to the “World” and for use by their own physicians in making extracts and medicinal preparations. Culinary herbs are regularly included in the shares distributed weekly to shareholders of Hancock Shaker Village’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, which began in 2011.