Celebrating 50 Years

Shaker Village, the nonprofit organization, opened its doors to guests from around the world in April 1968. By the end of that year, some 50,000 guests were kindly welcomed to this site! In 2018, we celebrate those visionaries and trailblazers who came before us and continue to honor the legacy of the Kentucky Shakers who blazed their own trail more than 200 years ago. This Sunday, visit Shaker Village and enjoy FREE admission in honor of our 50th anniversary. Enjoy daily programming and tours, take a hike or visit with the animals.

A lot has evolved in the last 50 years to meet changing markets and customer preferences. But, one thing that hasn’t changed is what we’re accomplishing here at Shaker Village. This nonprofit organization was created to preserve and protect this property, and we continue to be good stewards of the legacy left to us not only by the Shakers, but by the visionaries who gathered in the early 1960s to save this village.

The Shakers are gone, their houses stand,
A beautiful memorial to a faithful band.
If stones could talk, I could hear them say,
Preserve me and keep me for another day.*


How can you keep this place going? You support Shaker Village every time you visit, stay, dine, shop or explore. Follow us on social media. Plan your next visit.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is on a mission to inspire generations through discovery by sharing the legacies of the Kentucky Shakers. Donate Now.

Text to Donate. Text INSPIRE to 501501 to donate $25. A one-time donation will apply to your phone bill. Wireless carriers remit 100% to charity. Message and data rates may apply.

Learn more.

*Poem by Mary Webb Gibson Robb, who was involved in one of the earliest preservation efforts at Shaker Village in the late 1930s – early 1940s. Published on a Shaker Village postcard

Grab Your Hard Hat!

When was the last time you visited Shaker Village? There’s A LOT happening around here. And we aren’t just talking about the new baby animals that have arrived at The Farm this spring (though they are pretty darn cute). Back in October, we told you about our exciting PRESERVATION@WORK project on Centre Family Dwelling and the Meeting House. We’ve been hard at work since then and things are really coming along.

Last year, Shaker Village undertook its largest preservation project since the 1960s. The preservation and rehabilitation of the Meeting House and Centre Family Dwelling will extend the lives of these two buildings, while preparing them for new interpretive experiences.

One of the most noticeable accomplishments has been the installation of the remaining window components after repairs. Many windows are still boarded up because of the additional exterior work that has to be done, but it’s nice to have windows going back in.

Before and After Window Repair

We continue working on the installation of siding on the Meeting House. The crew is focusing on the rear (south) wall and will be working on the west wall starting next week. Additionally, there is structural repair work being done to the attic floor level beam, but the crew anticipates completing the repair during the coming week.

Otherwise, plumbers, electricians and duct installers continue to place piping, electrical conduit and ductwork in both buildings. And as temperatures hopefully moderate in coming weeks, we will begin working on masonry.

Before and After Beam Repair

So, what’s next? We’re going to keep at it. We hope you’ll come by for a visit and see this history in the making. Look for the Meeting House to open this summer, with the Centre Family following later in the year.

Read more about the history of these buildings here.


We want you to be a part of this village@work project. Come see what’s happening! While you’re here, join us for a Hard Hat Tour. Explore the historical and architectural significance of the buildings, project priorities and how you can become a part of this important preservation effort. Tours available daily. Check the schedule for times and locations.

William Updike is the vice president for natural and cultural resource management…

Let’s Get Gardening!

As winters sits behind us (thank goodness!) and spring begins to show its face, it’s time to start thinking about the garden. Each year, as the weather tries to make up its mind, we are given plenty of opportunities to start the planning process for the garden. Here are some tips we consider each year at this time that you can put to use in your own garden:

  1. Start with the basics. Deciding what to grow is always the easiest place to begin. Consider what is most important to your diet and needs. Don’t forget to include your neighbors because each year a garden usually produces more than one family can handle. Gardening allows us to connect to our community through the food we grow.
  2. Prep the soil. As we’ve seen this year, these late winter months usually bring iffy weather, so watch for the dry days and get that soil tilled and ready for those seedlings to be tucked in!
  3. Mulch, mulch, mulch! You’d be surprised how far a little mulch will go to protect your plants, especially in an uncertain temperature fluctuation (we call that Kentucky). This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. As a matter of fact, most resources needed for your garden are usually readily available in your own yard. We use leaf mulch. It adds a blanket to our soil, helping insulate and protect sprouts as they reach up from the dirt toward the sun. Not to mention, it’s free!
  4. Get things in early. Just because we are still shivering, doesn’t mean our plants are. A lot of the things we grow are adapted to these uncertain cold snaps. For instance, peas and carrots should always be planted as soon as the ground can be worked. They can handle more than you’d think.

Cole crops, or brassicas, such as cabbage, kales, broccoli and collards are extremely cold hearty, but why wait for sprouts in the garden when you could have them growing in your window waiting for warmer days? (They have to be coming soon, right?) Seed the restnot all things like to be transplanted. Crops like lettuces, beets, radishes and turnips would all rather be directly seeded into our gardens. And don’t worry, they too are more cold hearty than given credit.

The view of The Trustees’ Table standing in the garden area. Music on the Lawn starts in May!

If gardening isn’t your thing, no worriesit’s ours and we invite you to come visit! Each year, we produce a high diversity of vegetables for The Trustees’ Table, where you’re served a seasonal and sustainable selection of vegetables from our farm to your fork. Visit The Farm any day of the week to see what’s sprouting (and even take a little taste), during our Spring Farm Tasting program where visitors sample seasonal selections from the greenhouse and garden, including our fresh herbs. Glean from the first flavors of spring while uncovering the Shaker practice of spiritual cultivation through preparing the fields for planting. Stop by and talk to us while you’re here. We’d love to hear about your own gardening practices. Then, make a reservation at The Trustees’ Table to see what our chef has created from our bounty.

Happy Plantings!


Mike Moore, Assistant Farm Manager

What’s that Noise?

NOTICE: PRESERVATION@WORK Geothermal drilling will commence no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and will cease no later than 6 p.m. each day Oct. 2-6. Noise and vibration are to be expected.

Work on the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House has begun! And with that comes chainlink fences, construction equipment and loud noises. Sounds lovely, right? Actually, it really is! It’s the sound of preservation@work—work that will extend the lives of these two buildings, work that will prepare them for new interpretive experiences, work that would make the Shakers proud. So, while your Shaker Village experience will be different for the next year, we ask that you embrace this project and use it as a learning opportunity. During the next 12 months, our daily adventures schedule will feature special tours and activities highlighting the work being done on both buildings. We want you to be a part of this village@work project. Come see what’s happening! Ask questions, take a tour or read more here.

First up on the to-do list is drilling wells for the geothermal heating and cooling system.

Q: What are geothermal wells?
A: Geothermal wells are wells that tap into the natural energy found beneath the Earth. These wells will be attached to water source heat pumps inside the buildings, which maintain stable indoor temperatures.

Q: How does a geothermal system work?
A: The surface of the Earth can get quite cold or hot at times. The area beneath the Earth’s crust has a relatively stable temperature and geothermal energy utilizes this heat to provide heating or cooling for structures.

Q: How many wells are we drilling?
A: 36 total—24 for the Centre Family Dwelling and 12 for the Meeting House.

Q: How deep are the wells?
A: 380-400 feet!

Q: How are the wells connected to the building?
A: Each well has “unicoil” of pipe inside the well, a “supply” and “return in the shape of a U.” Each well is inter-connected into a pipe system, known as the “loop.” The main supply and return pipes are connected to pumps inside the building. This is known as a “closed loop” system. The system is sealed so no fluid is exchanged with the environment.

Q: What’s in the pipes?
A: The pipes are filled with glycol, a fluid similar to antifreeze in your car. The fluid doesn’t freeze and can transfer heat better than ordinary water.

Q: So how does it all work?
A: In winter, the system collects the Earth’s natural heat through the loop. The fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the building. There, an electrically-driven compressor and a heat exchanger concentrate the heat and release it inside the building at a higher temperature. Ductwork distributes the heat to different rooms. In summer, the process is reversed. The loop draws excess heat from the building and allows it to be absorbed by the Earth.

Q: Isn’t it expensive?
A: The short answer is yes. Creating the infrastructure of wells and piping is a cost we have chosen to incur. We also have to create duct work and piping on the building interiors to distribute the heat or air conditioning. Our design team worked tirelessly to do this in ways that are sympathetic to the buildings so the systems are mostly hidden. When we are finished, you will have to look really hard to see where we added them.

Q: Why did Shaker Village choose geothermal?
A: Part of Shaker Village’s mission is to be good stewards of our resources. Geothermal helps us do this in two ways. First, geothermal heat pump systems are more than three times as efficient as the most economical furnace. Instead of burning a combustible fuel to create heat, a ground-source system uses the earth’s energy as heat. Geothermal systems provide three to four units of energy for every one unit used to power the system’s compressor, fan and water pump. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency identify geothermal as having the lowest environmental impact of all heating systems. Secondly, geothermal systems are able to reach very high efficiencies. For example, geothermal heat pump can be up to 600 percent efficient on the coldest days of the year—a normal air source heat pump will only be 175-200 percent efficient on cool days—meaning the geothermal system is using far less electricity than a comparable heat pump, furnace or air conditioner. Thus, this installation will help us save financial resources in the long run on our purchase of electricity.

This project has been in the works for decades. The systems installed during the 1960s in the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House  should’ve lasted 25-30 years, but we extended the life of those systems 50 years. Now, it’s time to dedicate the time and resources necessary to prolong the lives of these buildings for the next generation. When we are finished, guests will have a better experience inside the buildings during hot or cold days—regulating the temperature and humidity inside the building help us preserve the buildings and allow us to display furniture and textiles that are too fragile for non-climate controlled spaces. Some big long-term wins for a few weeks of noise and dust.

Preservation work is never completed—ongoing repair, maintenance and upkeep is critical for the sustainability of this site. Thanks to your donations and site revenue, projects like this are possible.


William Updike is the vice president for natural and cultural resource management…

How does Shaker Village inspire you? Five ways to show your support.

Shaker Village is on a mission to inspire generations through discovery by sharing the legacies of the Kentucky Shakers. But, what does that mean really? We are a village at work, of great work. Storytellers educate children and adults. Farmers and chefs build healthy foodscapes. Naturalists restore rare habitats. Craftsmen preserve irreplaceable architecture. Archivists care for priceless collections. And SO much more.

Has our work inspired you? We hope so! If not, give us a chance and we will make you proud. We rely on people like you to keep this place going, to continue to make great things happen here.

We asked some of our donors why you should support us:

“Shaker Village is a jewel right here in Central Kentucky. It is up to us to carry it forward.” -Ms. Barbara Hulette, Danville, Ky.

“I live near Shaker Village and love the property. It’s wonderful that Shaker Village allows people to come hike, ride and learn the history of the Shakers. I want to help keep it going. I would love to see Shaker Village continue on for many generations to enjoy.” -Dr. Leigh DeLair, Harrodsburg, Ky.

“I feel like a piece of my soul resides at Pleasant Hill.  I always want it to be there.” -Mr. James Spragens, Lebanon, Ky.

Help us keep it going. Tell your friends about Shaker Village. Like us on Facebook (we post cute pictures of baby animals)! Sign up for our email list. Visit the online shop. Take full advantage of all 3,000 acres and what they have to offer. Here are five easy ways to show your support now:

  1. Text INSPIRE to 501501 to donate $25. It’s quick and easy!
  2. Donate online.
  3. Visit us! Come see the real work that happens here. Attend a special event or workshop or just come for the day and enjoy the tours and sights. There’s plenty to keep you busy around here. Check out our calendar.
  4. Become an Annual Passholder. We’ll get your support and you’ll get free admission and other perks. Plus, we’ll get to see you more often!
  5. Learn more about our nonprofit mission and the legacies we strive to share. Check out our website or call Melissa in the development office to learn about giving options (859.734.1547).

Wendy K. Smith, Chief Development Officer