Life and Community

First “gathered” into a community in the 1780s, the Hancock Shakers grew into a prosperous, agrarian village, reaching a population of 300 in six “families” by the mid-19th century. Each “family” had a dwelling, work buildings for the Brothers, Sisters and children, and barns for the animals and farm machinery. The Shaker occupancy, which ended in 1960, reflected broad cultural and social changes within and outside of the Shaker community. The Shakers built, moved, adapted and removed buildings to meet their changing needs. The present day museum interprets the Shakers on the site of the Church Family’s buildings, gardens, fields, and trails. A visit to the Village reveals how men, women and children lived in a communal village, where everyone worked and shared a simple, secure way of life.