I visited the Shaker Museum in my home town of Enfield on Sunday. It was marvelous. My brother met me there and we were given a tour of the great stone dwelling by a very informative, interesting guide. The great stone dwelling has 6 floors and is the biggest dwelling house the Shaker's ever built.
Our tour started in the basement, a fine place to be with company and some lights but I'd hate to get caught down there alone when the lights went out! We ascended floor-by-floor up to the 4th story and saw the big meeting hall and many very large bedrooms. The light coming in from the many enormous windows is just splendid. It must have been a wonderful place to live.
I came to the museum knowing beforehand about a collection of spinning wheels in the attic. As far as I know this room is not part of the regular tour so I inquired about the wheels and wondered if we might be allowed to see them. So after giving us the rounds up through the 4th floor we were guided to the 5th floor where I had an opportunity to draw the bell rope. Fun! The last flight of stairs brought us to the top, just below the bell tower and directly ahead was the room full of spinning wheels. Several of them need a bit of TLC, but I'm sure all of them could be brought up to working order.
My favorites are the double wheels.
From the gift shop I purchased a paperback entitled "Growing Up Shaker", a first-person account by Sister Frances A. Carr. It was such a good read I've already finished it! I will need to go back and pick up a few more reads. They have a lovely shop with books, music, craft kits, handiwork, cards, etc.
The Shaker system is fascinating and I wouldn't mind learning more about it. Most interesting to discover that their god is not an all-male trinity, but a male-female duality, and that they strove after equality of the sexes in all matters. Wow.
It's a shame they are down to only 3 living members, but it seems this could have been foreseen seeing how they shun procreation.