Message from the Museum – Volunteer Appreciation Week

Dear Friends,

Of the many duties I have, this is one of the best.


We are grateful that you have enthusiastically volunteered your talents and your energy to Enfield Shaker Museum. Your devotion ensures that the Museum continues and increases its successes in telling the historically and culturally significant story of the stalwart Shakers who worked and worshiped here.

As you know, those who would become Shakers voluntarily did so. The French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville, who toured the United States to study its democracy, took note of Americans’ penchant for voluntarism. In Democracy in America (1831), he wrote:

Americans use associations to give fêtes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools. Finally, if it is a question of bringing to light a truth or developing a sentiment with the support of a great example, they associate.

Of course, I like to think Tocqueville was having a bad day when he wrote this, because he omitted “museums” from his list. Yet the sentiment prevails: Americans readily work together to achieve what each could not achieve alone. Beyond the structures of government, the health of our society depends on private citizens who volunteer. Everyone benefits!

In any other April, the Museum’s internal calendar would be filled with committee meetings, preservation work, and more, all in preparation for our annual May opening. COVID-19 has delayed our plans, but our mission continues. Staff members have shifted part of their duties to creating a more robust online presence on Facebook, Instagram, and soon, Twitter. We are adding content to the Museum’s website. Many have volunteered ideas, and we welcome your ideas, too.

We can’t wait until we can welcome you back to the Museum. In the meantime, stay well.


Shirley Wajda
Interim Executive Director