Explore America’s First Shaker Settlement

Fun educational activities for kids in grades K-6.

Students explore the site of America’s first Shaker settlement while learning about life in a 19th century farming community. The tour begins in the 1848 Meeting House with an introduction on the history of the local Shakers. Students will learn and perform the Shaker song and dance “Simple Gifts” before continuing on their tour. Students will have an opportunity to try a number of hands-on activities as they learn about Shaker life and industry, like weaving on a loom, spinning wool with a drop spindle, and crushing herbs with a mortar and pestle. The tour includes stops at the oxen pasture, chicken coops, and herb garden, followed by a visit to the 1915 Barn.

For students in grade 3 and up, the tour also includes a visit to the Shaker cemetery, where Shaker founder Mother Ann Lee is buried. This program is adapted for each class so that it is presented at an appropriate level for the students.

We will be walking outside over grass (a paved walkway is available for those with mobility issues). Please plan to wear sneakers or other appropriate footwear and clothing appropriate for the weather.

BOCES Approved Artist/Presenter, eligible for funding – ID 1587A

Booking a Program

To book a program, please contact Michelle Arthur, Education Director, at (518) 456-7890 x23 or shakereducator@gmail.com with the following information:

  • School name, address, phone, and district
  • Teacher(s), grade, and number of students
  • Program requested
  • Preferred dates and times
  • Special needs

When can my visit take place?

Programs are available Tuesdays through Fridays beginning at 9:30am, with the latest program beginning at 3:00pm. We offer the “Explore America’s First Shaker Settlement” program from September through mid-October (please call for dates) and April through June. Other on-site programs may be available at other times; please call for availability and details. Please arrive on time for your scheduled visit. Groups arriving more than 20 minutes late may not be able to be accommodated.

Is the museum handicap accessible?

The Meeting House has an entrance with a wheelchair ramp. All of our programs will take place on the ground floor and our bathroom is also handicap accessible. We offer our programs to groups of all abilities and backgrounds.

What is the cost of a program?

Our programs are $4 per student, with no fee for teachers or chaperones up to one chaperone for every ten students. Additional chaperones are $4 a person. A 50% deposit is required to book your program and is due at least one week (5 business days) prior to your scheduled program. If a deposit is not received by that time, the museum reserves the right to cancel your program. The remaining fee is payable the day of your visit. Payments may be made by check, credit card (Visa/MasterCard), or cash.

How long is the program?

For grades K-2, please plan 60-90 minutes for your visit. For grades 3-6, please plan 90 minutes to 2 hours for your visit.

Are there chaperone requirements?

Please plan for one teacher/chaperone for every ten students.

What if we need to cancel our program?

Programs must be cancelled no less than three business days prior to the scheduled visit in order to receive a full refund of your deposit. Deposits will not be returned for programs cancelled after this time.

What if there are hazardous weather conditions?

In the case of inclement weather, you may reschedule your program and any deposits or payments made will be put toward that program. If rescheduling is not possible, the school will receive a fully refunded deposit. Please be advised that the museum may choose to reschedule programs due to weather even if your school is not closed. We are part of the school closings network and all of our closings or late openings will appear there (News Channel 13, Time Warner Cable News, etc.).

Can my group eat lunch at the museum?

We do not have a dedicated lunch space. An indoor space may be available to groups upon request but is not guaranteed. During nice weather, groups are welcome to picnic on the grounds. We have lovely grassy lawns with plenty of shade. There are no picnic tables, so groups may want to bring blankets if they don’t want to sit directly on the grass. We are a carry in, carry out facility and do not have a dumpster available for trash. Please bring your own trash bags and plan to take your garbage with you when you leave.



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