Enfield Shaker Museum

Museum in Hanover

Set in a valley overlooking Mascoma Lake (11 miles southeast of Dartmouth), the Enfield Shaker site dates back to the late 18th century and grew into a small but prosperous community of Shaker farmers and craftspeople in the early 1800s. The museum centers on the Great Stone Dwelling, the largest Shaker dwelling house ever built.

Exhibition galleries contain Shaker furniture, tools, clothing and photographs, and visitors can explore the herb and flower gardens, browse the crafty gift shop and hike to the Shaker Feast Ground, which offers spectacular views (particularly in autumn) over the former village and Mascoma Lake.

At its peak, some 300 members (divided into several 'families') lived in Enfield, farming 3000 acres of land. They built a handful of impressive wood and brick buildings in the area, and took in converts, orphans and children of the poor – who were essential for the Shaker future, since sex was not allowed in the pacifist, rule-abiding community. By the early 1900s the community had gone into decline, with the last remaining family moving out in 1917.