VIRTUAL TOURS AT THE VILLAGE

Let us bring the Village to you with our new virtual tours. Individuals or groups of any size can experience the Village without even leaving home. Choose from a selection of great topics (listed below), taught by one of our experienced interpreters via a Zoom session.

How does it work?
You and Village staff select a mutually agreeable time to host a live 45-minute Zoom session. You provide the Village with your own Zoom link and we’ll take over from there.

How do I sign up?
Choose a topic from the list below, select a few times to participate, and email Kristen Dominguez to secure your time.

How much does it cost?
$150 per Zoom program.

Choose from one of the following topics for your virtual tour:

The Shakers: Just Say No
The Shakers abstained from sex—and thrived. Their communal life, devoted to equality, humility, pacifism, and denial of self, resulted in 200 years of influence on America’s economy, society, and culture. Could this be the solution our world needs? Join us for a lively discussion of the tenets and legacy of this fascinating religious group, still active today, that made amazing advances in business (think seeds and medicinal herbs), worship practices (dancing in church?!), and coveted furniture—plus everything you always wanted to know about the Shakers and sex but were afraid to ask.

Farm Tour
As the oldest working farm in western Massachusetts, our farm is a living example of the Shakers’ innovative and entrepreneurial farm practices. At the heart of Hancock Shaker Village is the magnificent Round Stone Barn, a testament to more than 200 years of agricultural innovation. During this program, we’ll enjoy a virtual visit to this revolutionary structure (why is it round? Why is it an architectural marvel?), and meet the animals who live here today. We’ll also examine the vegetable and medicinal herb gardens, with more than 75 varieties the Shakers grew, and discuss the regenerative farming we practice today.

Gender and Racial Equality
Long before women had the right to vote or slavery was abolished, the Shakers embraced racial and gender equality. How can an understanding of their history and beliefs affect our contemporary conversation? In this program, we’ll explore the origins of Shaker ideals, especially of equality for women; the Shakers’ emphasis on female leadership in comparison to their counterparts in the “World;” and the changing role of women in the Shaker community as membership trended more and more female. We’ll also address the ideals and realities of racial equality within the Shaker society, with a special focus on Black Shaker Rebecca Cox Jackson, who established a Black Shaker community in Philadelphia in the late nineteenth century.

Shaker Architecture and Design
“I don’t want to be remembered as a chair,” Shaker eldress Mildred Barker said — perhaps a prophetic statement, given the fact that Shaker design is today considered one of the most iconic and influential forms of American design. In this program, we’ll explore the ingenuity and thoughtfulness behind the Shakers’ creation of a religious sect founded on values of equality, justice, community, and celibacy. By examining the architectural layout and development of the Village, you’ll understand the history and legacy of these fascinating designers who “managed to make objects so magically austere that they continue to astonish our eyes and our sense of form” (Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker). We’ll examine several iconic Shaker objects — including a chair and an oval box — to understand more about this “magical austerity.”

Shaker Song and Dance
The Shakers got their name, derived from “shaking Quakers,” from the ecstatic spiritual movement that characterized their early forms of worship. They also were prolific songwriters, creating more than 20,000 songs, about half of which exist today — including the famous “Simple Gifts.” Music and dance vitalized their spiritual selves. In this participatory program, we’ll share examples of Shaker song and teach you one or two “laboring” songs with motions that express Shaker values of unity, humility, and peace.