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The mission of the Enfield Shaker Museum, an educational institution, is to preserve and share its historical structures, landscape, and Shaker cultural heritage with our multi-generational visitors, members, and the global community.

Enfield Shaker Museum in Enfield, New Hampshire has hosted an annual conference on the Shakers since 1997, known over the years as the “Spring Forum”, “Spring Forum on the Shakers”, and most recently the “Spring Shaker Forum”. It’s purpose has been to encourage new scholarship and, particularly, to welcome young scholars to the field of Shaker Studies. The Shaker Workshops Award for Outstanding New Scholarship is given annually.

For presenters: A call for papers appears in December, followed by a request for abstracts in February. Three independent readers not affiliated with Enfield Shaker Museum will select the presenters and read the papers to determine the award winner. Presenters may opt-out from the award process, if they wish.

Click the links below to view the program and presenter biographies for previous Shaker Forums.

Spring Shaker Forum 2024

The Spring Shaker Forum 2024 will take place on April 19 – 21, 2024. See you there!

Spring Shaker Forum 2023

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2023

Exhibit: “Shaker Fancy Goods in the Collection of Enfield Shaker Museum”

Friday, April 21, 2023
Exhibit Opening Gallery Talk: “Enfield Shaker Trustees: 1795-1904,” Mary Ann Haagen
“’Hands to Work’ Picturing the Shakers in the Popular Press,” Robert Emlen
“How Father Joseph Emerged as the Leader of the Shakers: A Closer Look at the 1780s and Beyond,” Stephen Paterwic
Keynote: “Exciting Opportunities That Lie Ahead for the Shakers in Maine,” Michael S. Graham, Director of the Shaker Museum and Library, Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

Saturday, April 22, 2023
“Wandering Star: The Use and Abuse of Richard McNemar,” Christian Goodwillie
“Mapping Sister Mary Hazard’s 1856 Journey to the ‘Eastern Societies of Believers’,” Sara Leach
“Mapping the Shaker Garden of Eden,” Douglas Winiarski
“‘Fall on the rock’: Excavating a Shaker Spiritual Motif,” Carol Medlicott
“Mother Ann Lee, Spiritual Evolutionary: a Consciousness-Based Psychological Approach,” Susan Curtiss
A Conversation: “Sharing What We Have Learned,” Nancy Lee – Conversation Facilitator
Shaker Book Signing
Keynote: “Shaker Fancy Goods: Shaker Survival Through Sisterhood and Craft,” Catherine Goldring

Sunday, April 23, 2023
“Searching for Sister Mary: The Legacy of Pleasant Hill’s Last Shaker,” Rebecca Soules
“The Grand Survivor: the Harvard Church Family’s ‘New Office’ of 1839-40,” Ned Quist
Shaker Songs & Readings – Mary Ann Haagen & Kevin Siegfried

Spring Shaker Forum 2022

Exhibit: “New Acquisitions Since the Last Spring Shaker Forum: 2019-2022”

Friday, April 22, 2022
“Good Foundations: Early Hancock Shakers and the Laundry & Machine Shop,” Jeffrey Brace
“The Picturesque Shakers,” Robert Emlen
“Shaker Meeting Houses of the West: Doing Their Thing,” Gerald Brewington
“Finding the Foundation Manuscripts for Beech Hill: The Reconciliation of Hervey Elkins and the Enfield Shakers,” Galen Beale

Saturday, April 23, 2022
“Henry Blinn’s Museum: A Shaker Cabinet of Curiosities,” Rebecca Soules
“Animism, Animals, and Agriculture,” Linda Johnson
“For the Benefit of Believers Only,” Kerry Hackett
“Shaker Ephemera: What is it? Where is it found? What use is it?,” M. Stephen Miller
State of Shaker Studies Roundtable – Stephen Paterwic and Glendyne Wergland, Moderators
“Visionary, Teacher, Mother: Revisiting our Relationships with Mother Ann,” Sharon Koomler

Sunday, April 24, 2022
“Celibacy and Sexual Scandal in Shaker Novels,” Richard Marshall
“Holes in the Fabric of a Shaker Village,” Ned Quist

Spring Shaker Forum 2021

In 2021, the Spring Shaker Forum was presented as an Online Lecture Series.

Thursday, April 29, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
“The Changing Face of Shaker Life: How Pictoral Images in the Popular Press Reflect the Growing Acceptance of the Shakers in the 19th Century,” Robert Emlen

Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
“Motive, Means and Opportunity: Amateur Shutterbugs Shoot the Harvard Shakers,” Ned Quist

Thursday, May 6, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
“First in the West: The Shaker Experience of Visionary Malcolm Worley and His Family,” Christian Goodwillie

Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
“Seen & Received: Continuing Reflections on the Shakers’ Private Art,” Sharon Koomler

Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
“Photographers and the Mount Lebanon Shakers,” Jerry Grant

Thursday, May 20, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
“Brother Philemon Stewart as Church Family Physican: Re-imagining a portion of his ‘toiling, stormy, industrious, valuable life’,” Kerry Hackett

Spring Shaker Forum 2020

The Spring Shaker Forum 2020 was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spring Shaker Forum 2019

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2019

Exhibit: “Rosetta Cummings: A Shaker Life of Consecrated Labor”

Friday, April 26, 2019

“A Tale of Three Tables and Other Recent Acquisition Stories,” Richard Dabrowski
“Portraits of the Shakers and the Illustrated Advertisements for Shaker Goods,” Robert P. Emlen
“Kentucky Shaker Furniture: A Southerner’s Interpretation of the Rules,” by Tommy Hines

Saturday, April 27, 2019
“The Transformation of Enfield, Connecticut Shaker Village, 1870-1880,” Stephen J. Paterwic
“Rejecting Celibacy: Shakers Who Fell in Love, Eloped, and Married,” Tom Sakmyster
“Photogenic Ghosts: Three Shaker Mills,” Ned Quist
“Supernatural Powers and Common Favours: Shaker Doctors and Medicines in the Early Church at New Lebanon,” Kerry Hackett
Talk and Guided Hike to the Enfield Shaker Feast Ground on Mt. Assurance led by Michael O’Connor
“Shaker Suicide: History or Fiction?”, Richard Marshall
“Twenty Years of Shaker Paint Research: Mysteries and Discoveries,” a special presentation by Susan Buck

Sunday, April 28, 2019
“Life at the West Family Watervliet Farm in the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries: New Archaeological Data,” Matthew Kirk
Shaker Readings and Songs in the Meeting Room led by Mary Ann Haagen

Spring Shaker Forum 2018

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2018

Exhibit: “Enfield Shaker Stereographs and the Photographers Who Published Them”

Friday, April 20, 2018
Preservation Tour with Richard Dabrowski and Paul Waehler
“Listening to That Still Small Voice; 25 Years on the Outside Looking In,” Sharon Duane Koomler
“Enfield Shaker Stereographs and the Photographers Who Published Them,” Carolyn Smith and Richard Dabrowski

Saturday, April 21, 2018
“The Last Testimony of Abijah Wooster (1745-1841),” Roben Cambell
“The Fur Was Flying: Shaker Coon Fur and Silk Gloves,” Jerry V. Grant
“Why Historians Should Examine Shaker Novels: Exposing Century-Old Misconceptions of Shaker Life,” Richard Marshall
“A Signature at the Wood Lathe: Fellowship and Woodwork in the Shaker Community at Enfield, New Hampshire,” Robert P. Emlen
“The Shakers as Originators of Fruit and Vegetable Varieties,” Darryl Thompson
Broom Making Presentation and Workshop with Larry Antonuk
“Rabbit Heads, Indian Maidens, and a Can of Peas: Entertainments with the Canterbury Shakers,” Rebecca Soules
“The Gospel Sound,” a special presentation of Shaker music and art by Mary Ann Haagen and Jane Crostwaite

Sunday, April 22, 2018
“The Apostate Stories of Hervey Elkins and Nicholas Briggs,” by Galen Beale
“Innovation, Ingenuity, and Insights: The Parallels of Christianity and Entrepreneurship,” Christine Mooney
Shaker Readings and Songs in the Meeting Room led by Mary Ann Haagen
Walk to the Feast Ground on Mt. Assurance with Museum Staff

Spring Shaker Forum 2017

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017
Preservation Tour with Richard Dabrowski and Paul Waehler
“Revitalizing Wisdom’s Valley: The Struggle to Save America’s First Shaker Settlement,” Starlyn D’Angelo

Saturday, April 22, 2017
“Picturing the Shakers in the 1850’s,” Robert P. Emlen
“‘A Blessing to Mankind’: the ‘Medicated Vapor Bath’ at New Lebanon,” Kerry Hackett
“Gender, Politics and Organizational Leadership Change: The Depoisition of Shaker Ministry Eldress from Pleasant Hill, Kentucky,” Marc Rhorer
“19th Century Childhood: The Lives of Children Among the Shakers and the World’s People,” Sharon Roth
The Enfield Shakers and the Railroad, with a hike to the Cut with Michael O’Connor
“Scribes in Israel: Shaker Church Histories and Isaac Newton Young’s ‘Concise View’,” Christian Goodwillie

Sunday, April 23, 2017
“Shaker Biographic Research, in Person and Online, with Online Access,” by Richard Roth
Shaker Readings and Songs in the Meeting Room led by Mary Ann Haagen
Walk to the Feast Ground on Mt. Assurance with Museum Staff

Spring Shaker Forum 2016

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2016

Exhibit: “Eclipse Corn Planter: Every Farmer Should Have One”

Friday, April 22, 2016
Preservation Tour with the Enfield Shaker Museum Preservation Committee
“Digital Preservation of Cultural Heritage Materials,” Lacy Schutz

Saturday, April 23, 2016
“The [Surprising] Charms and Wonders of  ‘A Holy, Sacred and Divine Roll and Book: From the Lord of Heaven to the Inhabitants of Earth’: Reconsidering Philemon Stewart’s Almost-Unreadable Sacred Text,” Jane Crosthwaite
“Picturing the Shakers in 1870: Joseph Becker Visits Mount Lebanon,” Robert P. Emlen
“Nineteenth Century Sectarian Medicine: Were the Shakers Thomsonians?”, Kerry Hackett
“My Shaker Home: Sister Lillian Phelps and the Last Shaker Song,” Roger Lee Hall
Explore the Shaker Mountain Pond (aka Smith Pond) with Michael O’Connor and John Roe
“Exploring Smith Pond Shaker Forest,” John Roe

Sunday, April 24, 2016
Shaker Readings and Songs in the Meeting Room led by Mary Ann Haagen
Walk to the Feast Ground on Mt. Assurance with Michael O’Connor

Spring Shaker Forum 2015

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015
“This has been Proved Among Believers with Great Success: An Exploration of an 1815 Book of Medicinal Recipes from the New Lebanon Shaker Community,” Kerry Hackett
“How the Shakers Came to Enfield, Connecticut,” Stephen J. Paterwic
Preservation Tour with Michael O’Connor, assisted by Richard Dabrowski, and Carolyn Smith
“Preserving Old Barns,” John Porter

Saturday, April 25, 2015
“The Feast is Spread: Twentieth Century Shaker Menus and Programs,” Laura Smith
“Picturing the Shakers in 1869,” Robert P. Emlen
“A Most Lamentable Tragedy: William Pennebaker and the 1871 Fracas a Pleasant Hill,” Aaron Genton
“An Examination of Organizational Commitment and Longevity through Demographics: The Case of the Shaker Community at Pleasant Hill,” Marc Rhorer
Tour of the 1854 Cow Barn with Michael O’Connor
“Archaeological Field Schools: What’s Involved A-Z,” David R. Starbuck

Sunday, April 26, 2015
“Give Good Gifts: The Meaning of Gifts in Two Shaker Songs,” Roger Lee Hall
“The Heavens and Earth are Blending: A Discussion of Shaker Gift Drawings,” Sharon Duane Koomler
Walk to the Feast Ground on Mt. Assurance with Michael O’Connor

Spring Shaker Forum 2014

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014
Preservation Tour with Michael O’Connor, assisted by Richard Dabrowski, and Carolyn Smith
“Jane Blanchard’s Journey to Enfield,” a performance by Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers of Pontine Theatre, Portsmouth, NH

Saturday, April 26, 2014
“Picturing the Shakers in the Era of Manifestations,” Robert Emlen
“James Hervey Elkins, the First Six Years as an Apostate,” Galen Beale
“Millennial Journalism: Shakers and the Progressive Periodical (1871-1899),” Sebastian Galbo
“Enfield’s Second Family: A Powerhouse of Personalities and Productivity,” Mary Ann Haagen and Carolyn Smith
Tour the Second Family site with Mary Ann Haagen and Carolyn Smith
Readings from The Visionist by author Rachel Urquhart

Sunday, April 27, 2014
Shaker Readings and Songs in the Meeting Room led by Mary Ann Haagen
Hike to the Feast Ground on Mt. Assurance with Michael O’Connor

Spring Shaker Forum 2013

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013
Tour of the Great Stone Dwelling with Michael O’Connor
“Insights into Harvard Shaker History,” Michael Volmar

Saturday, April 27, 2013
“Father Retains his Love of Shakerdom,” Galen Beale
“Mummy-jum: The Shaker-Pilgrim Encounter of 1817-1818,” Christian Goodwillie
“Loss of of Life & Loss of Faith: Young Leaders of the Harvard Shaker Village,” Roben Campbell
“‘Break Forth into Singing’ – Evolution of an Enfield Shaker Anthem,” Roger Lee Hall
“The Tate Family of Shakers and Non-Shakers,” M. Stephen Miller
“Canals, Dams, and Mills: a Walking Tour of the Water Power Industry of the Enfield Shakers,” Michael O’Connor
“Historic Sites at the Crossroads,” Lawrence J. Yerdon

Sunday, April 28, 2013
“The Discovery of an Enfield, NH Apostate Account: Introducing Zebulon Huntington, the ‘Exile of Connecticut’,” Cass Nawrocki and David Newell
Shaker Readings and Songs in the Meeting Room led by Mary Ann Haagen

Fall Forum on the Shakers 2012

Exhibit: “The Shaker Bridge”

Fall Shaker Forum Program 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012
Exhibit Tour with the Museum’s Curatorial Team
Discussion of A History of Celibacy with author Elizabeth Abbott

Saturday, September 8, 2012
“‘Elder Issachar seems to be continually at hand’: The Complicated Legacy of Shaker Pioneer Issachar Bates,” Carol Medlicott
“Through Their Stomachs: Shakers, Food, and Business Practices in the Nineteenth Century,” Ruth Ann Murray
“‘Boutez En Avant’: Interpreting The Enterprise, A 20th Century Shaker Literary Journal,” Laura Smith
“Powerful Agendas: Enfield’s North Family,” Mary Ann Haagen
Tour of the North Family Trustee’s Office with the Missionaries of La Salette
“Getting to Know the Enfield Shakers through Civic Records, Newspapers, and Historic Documents: An Update on Enfield’s Shaker Data Collection Project,” Carolyn A. Smith

Sunday, September 9, 2012
Shaker Readings and Songs in the Meeting Room led by Mary Ann Haagen

Spring Forum on the Shakers 2011

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2011

Exhibit: “Ties that Bind”

Friday, May 6, 2011
Exhibit Tour with Mary Ann Haagen
“Come Thou Fount: Thoughts on the Shakers,” a film directed by Christopher Maloney

Saturday, May 7, 2011
“Scenes of Horror,” Illyon Woo
“The Ties that Bind: From Neighbors to Interpreters,” Mary Ann Haagen
“Shaker Equality of the Sexes,” Glendyne Wergland
“The Story of the Harvard Cemetery,” Roben Campbell and David Fay
“Stillness at Last: Preservation of the Built Environment at Sabbathday Lake,” Adam Krakowski
“The Unique Architectural History of the Great Stone Dwelling,” Richard Dabrowski

Sunday, May 9, 2010
Shaker Readings and Songs at the Enfield Feast Ground led by Mary Ann Haagen

Spring Forum on the Shakers 2010

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2010

Exhibit: “Cumings: A Family Transformed by Shakerism”

Friday, May 7, 2010
Tour of the Laundry/Dairy with Richard Burley
“The Enfield Shakers’ Durham Cows and Other Stories of the Lowly Bovine in New Hampshire,” Steve Taylor

Saturday, May 8, 2010
“History of the Gathering Order 1799-1923,” Stephen J. Paterwic
“Shaker Monasteries: A New Avenue for Comparison,” Richard Burley
“An Unflattering Mirror: Market, Republic & Radical Tradition in James Smith’s ‘Shakerism Discovered,’ 1810,” Michael B. McCoy
“Civilly Dead,” Illyon Woo
“We live at a great distance from the Church”: Cartographic Strategies of the Shakers, 1805-1835,” Carol Medlicott
“From Yardley to North Homage: The Fictional Shaker in the Eyes of the World,” Brian Bixby

Sunday, May 9, 2010
Shaker Readings and Songs at the Enfield Feast Ground led by Mary Ann Haagen

Spring Forum on the Shakers 2009

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2009

Exhibit: “Shaker Yokefellows: Enfield Shakers from Vermont”

Friday, April 3, 2009
Exhibit Tour with Galen Beale

Saturday, April 4, 2009
“Material Evidence in a Gendered Landscape,” Paula Dennis
“Canterbury Takes the Lead, 1880-1912,” Stephen J. Paterwic
“Canterbury’s Mothers and Daughters,” Susan Maynard
“Branding: The Revival of the Cooperage Industry in Enfield, NH,” Robert P. Emlen
“A Mob on Enfield Village, NH,” Illyon Woo
“Window on the West: The Musical Documentation of the Shaker West at Watervliet, Ohio,” Carol Medlicott
“Yankee Shakers,” a presentation by storyteller Rebecca Rule

Sunday, April 5, 2009
Tour of the Great Stone Dwelling with Arthur Gagnon
Organ Music in the Mary Keane Chapel, a performance by Donna and George Butler

Spring Forum on the Shakers 2008

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2008

Exhibit: “Shaker Yokefellows: Enfield Shakers from Vermont”

Friday, April 4, 2008
“At Present I am Living in Vermont,” Willem Lange

Saturday, April 5, 2008
“The New Hampshire Bishopric,” Mary Rose Boswell
“Enfield Shaker Village and the Landscape of Gospel Order,” Robert Emlen
“Shaker Rugs with a Twist,” Roben Campbell
“The Spirit of Speculation: The Early Industrialization of the Enfield Shakers,” Galen Beale
“Tangled Skeins: Enfield Village and the Shakers,” Suzanne Hinman
“Journey to Heaven: The Shaker Way,” a performance by the Pontine Theater

Sunday, April 6, 2008
Tour of the Great Stone Dwelling with Tom Boswell and Paul Mirski
Spiritual Music Demonstration, an organ performance by Donna and George Butler
“Images of Enfield III,” Carolyn Smith

Spring Forum on the Shakers 2007

Spring Shaker Forum Program 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007
“The Shakers and the Rise and Fall of New England,” David H. Watters

Saturday, May 19, 2007
“Enfield and Canterbury Shakers Textile Industries,” Mary Rose Boswell
“Sisters’ Work, Reciprocity and Shaker Union,” Glendyne Wergland
“When the Church was at Ashfield,” David Newell
“Archaeological Excavations at Shaker Sites,” David R. Starbuck
Tour of the Great Stone Dwelling with Michael Gohl
Enfield Shaker Singers, an a cappella performance led by Mary Ann Haagen

Sunday, May 20, 2007
A Walk to the Feast Ground with Arthur Gagnon
“Bach to Jazz and Back,” an organ performance by Donna and George Butler

Spring Forum on the Shakers 1999
Cords of Union

Spring Forum Program 1997

Saturday, April 17, 1999
“Three Perspectives on the Shaker Society at Enfield: Part of the Larger Zion, Joint Seat of the New Hampshire Bishopric, and Long-Lived Shaker Community,” Stephen J. Paterwic
“Cords of Disunion: Shaker Apostates,” Elizabeth A. De Wolfe
“Love and Union in the Dance: Shaker Dances and Marches Described by Canterbury Sister Julia Briggs,” Enfield Shaker Singers directed by Mary Ann Haagen

Spring Forum on the Shakers 1998
The Great Stone Dwelling: Technical Masterpiece and Social Experiment

Spring Forum Program 1998

Exhibit: “Precious Gospel Kindred”

Saturday, April 25, 1998

“Building for Eternity: The Enfield Shakers Build a Stone House in 1837,” Robert P. Emlen
“Precious Gospel Kindred,” Mary Ann Haagen
“What Lies Ahead: The Importance of the Great Stone Dwelling and the Story of Its Acquisition by the Enfield Shaker Museum,” Galen Beale
“Architectural Details of the Great Stone Dwelling,” Richard Dabrowski
Tour of the Great Stone Dwelling with Richard Dabrowski, Charles DuPuy, Mary Ann Haagen, and Michael O’Connor

Spring Forum on the Shakers 1997
Shaker Joinery in New Hampshire

Spring Forum Program 1999

Saturday, April 12, 1997

“All we do is build: The Evolution of Shaker Architecture at Canterbury, New Hampshire,” Scott T. Swank
“The Evolution of Design in New England Shaker Furniture,” Jean M. Burks
Tour of the Enfield Shaker Community
“The World’s Simple Furniture: Identifying Non-Shaker Workmanship,” Philip Zea
Workshop on Enfield Shaker Furniture with Jean M. Burks

Enfield Shaker Museum
447 NH Rt 4A
Enfield, NH 03748