Today we went to Hancock Shaker Village, which was once an active Shaker community until 1959. At that time, their numbers had declined so much that they had to sell their property to a local group committed to preserving the Shaker heritage. Their utopian village “continues its life today as a history museum with 20 authentic buildings, a working farm and significant collections of Shaker furniture and artifacts.” We learned about the Shaker spirituality and founding principles: celibacy (the men and women were kept separate and the community only grew by adult conversion or adoption of orphans), communal living (they shared all their material wealth in common), confession of sin, and equality (a principle which extended to all races; “the Shakers welcomed many African Americans into their communities from their eighteenth century beginnings”).
The most striking of all the buildings on the property is the Round Stone Barn (1862), “the only circular barn ever built by the Shakers. Widely recognized as an architectural icon and agricultural wonder, this unique dairy barn originally stabled 52 milk cows. It’s been attracting visitors – most notably Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, who staged a footrace in the structure – since its construction.”
Once again, the colors today have been amazing. The second photo below shows a funky ladder leaning up against a red building. That's part of an installation art exhibit that the Village had on when we visited called "Modern Wings & Shaker Roots." That piece is by Jon Brooks.