The Meeting House is Open!

Big news! The Meeting House has reopened. You may remember that we’ve been doing preservation work on it since last fall. Check out this post if you want to learn more.

We hope you’ll visit soon to see for yourself, but here’s some history, a few fun facts and a glimpse into the iconic view that we get to see everyday!

The reason this building is called the 1820 Meeting House is because it was the third Meeting House the Pleasant Hill Shakers built here. Since then, it has gone through several preservation projects.

During the post-Shaker period, the Meeting House served many purposes, including home to the Shakertown Baptist Church and an automotive garage!

 

The Meeting House has a unique architectural structure, including a truss system, which allows the beams in the attic to hold the second floor up. This makes it so there aren’t any pillars or beams on the main floor to obstruct movement and dancing.

 

In 1968the nonprofit organization that had been established in the early 1960s opened a museum on this site. The Meeting House was interpreted for some 50,000 guests that first year.

 

The second floor of the Meeting House was utilized as administrative offices until 1994, when the current Administration building was opened.

Beginning in 2016, Top to Bottom tours were offered weekly to give people a behind-the-scenes view of the Meeting House attic and the cellar underneath the building.

The Meeting House is the only white painted building on the property. While it was customary for Shakers to use white to denote the Meeting House, Kentucky is well-known for its white limestone, which is present in several of the other buildings on this site.

These copper lanterns can be found throughout the Village. We have more than 100 in use at anytime. They can also be purchased online in our shop!

Today, the Meeting House is open to daily guests and is utilized for music performances, special events and more. It’s one of the most photographed buildings at Shaker Village. Its simplicity and symmetry embody Shaker design, and its presence is awe-inspiring. Plan a visit soon and experience it for yourself!


Are you curious to see (and hear!) what it would have been like for the Shakers to sing together in the Meeting House? On a weekly basis, hundreds of Shakers gathered together to sing and dance in this space. Join us for our Community Sing at the Meeting House on September 8th and help us sing the space back into use!

This Place Matters

May is Preservation Month, and we are ready to celebrate! Everyone has places that are important to them. Places they care about. Places that matter. This Place Matters is a national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities. — savingplaces.org



Have you ever wondered what future generations will know about you? Every now and then that thought wanders through my mind. Every generation leaves a legacy—a story of the people who struggled together, found amazing solutions to the perplexing problems of their day and blazed a trail as a foundation for the next generation that was soon to follow.

Too many times our culture seeks to find new answers to old problems. Knowing our forebears, understanding their struggles and embracing their successes help us to move forward. It is true that those who forget history are destined to repeat it.

This place, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, is replete with the stories of a society dedicated to a common purpose. The lessons that they learned here—the legacy that they left us—teach us how to live together with kindness and respect and to honor the land and the bounty it provides. Their story shouts out from the buildings they created, is captured in the gentle landscape that they loved and oozes from the written record that they left behind.

This place matters because it touches our hearts, encouraging us to be better citizens of this earth—to be people who inspire greatness in others and to be gentle and kind to those who struggle. Each generation leaves something behind. What will you leave behind? This place gives us direction, it inspires us to reach new heights and it gives us comfort to know that together we can build a legacy just as enduring as the one they left us. This place matters. Maynard Crossland


It’s a gathering of guests, co-workers and friends alike. It’s a place where new families are formed, meals are shared and history is made daily. Co-workers gather in the morning to make sure all guests are treated with great hospitality and knowledge of the Shakers who once lived here. It’s a beautiful place where beautiful weddings are performed and families come together. This unique little village is a place I not only call my workplace, but also where my life adventures happen. Wally Bottoms


Shaker Village matters because what the Shakers created should be preserved. Whitney Franklin



It’s more important, and maybe more difficult than ever, for all of us to remember that we’re part of the same village. We’re all in this together. Shaker Village allows us to take a moment to consider how strong we can be when we work as one team—and in balance with the natural world around us. This place inspires us through the example of the Shakers to be our best, together. Billy Rankin


The lives of human beings have changed so much over the last few hundred years that the lifestyles of the Shakers can seem completely irrelevant to our own at first glance. Our connections to our homes—and our land—can easily be overlooked or ignored in today’s high-tech world, but ultimately, our dependence on our physical space is no less real today than it was then. Shaker Village is unique in its ability to connect past and present, to allow the mind to wander freely between the two and with any luck, arrive finally in a future we’d all like to live in. This place matters. Dylan Kennedy


This place matters because the Pleasant Hill Shakers, while gone for nearly a century, are still a relevant group of people today.

This was a place where they looked for solutions to big ideas. The Shakers were here with the question of spiritual perfection in mind. What bigger idea is there than that?! Today, it is a place where both individuals and groups come for inspiration, perhaps from a spiritual standpoint, but often for other reasons. It’s not a stretch to think that big ideas are being tackled here all the time.

It was a home for people who needed a home. The cross-section of different people who came here is striking, and under normal circumstances, I don’t believe that many of these people would have ever crossed tracks. There were single mothers, aristocrats, freed slaves and former soldiers, among many, many others who found their way here. And in many cases, they stayed the rest of their lives. And for those who did leave, they often kept up with those they left behind, often writing letters and visiting periodically. They were family. This was home.

It was a place where they were able to emphasize common humanity of people with whom they strongly disagreed. During the Civil War, large numbers of Union and Confederate soldiers passed through the village. The Shakers were committed to racial equality as an ideal, which would have put them at direct odds with many of the Confederate soldiers who passed through. They were also pacifists, seeing war as an action directly in conflict with Christian identity, and this would have put them directly at odds with any soldier who passed through. Yet, they often experienced soldiers who were starving, injured, ragged and barefoot, and immediately moved to address these needs despite what they might have thought of the ideologies embodied in the uniforms. I think the Shakers teach us that it’s possible to treat those with whom you strongly disagree with a degree of respect and common humanity, and this is one of the more needed lessons in our country today. Aaron Genton



Shaker Village matters to me, because it represents “family.” This is a place that has hosted my family for reunions, day trips,  Mother’s Days, escapes from city life, an experience to share with visiting family and friends, and so much more. Three generations of my family have enjoyed this village and all it has to offer. Now I am enjoying being able to introduce Shaker Village to a fourth generation of my family, by bringing my nieces and nephew out here to explore and meet my work family. Amanda Beverly


Shaker Village matters because it can restore your soul. Brenda Roseman


This place matters because it’s preserving and providing access to the history of a passionate, intelligent, evolving community of people, who woke up, got dressed, went to work, did laundry, mowed the yard, repaired fences, traveled, learned, laughed, cried, grieved, celebrated, made decisions, overcame obstacles and grew as individuals…just like us today. Emálee Krulish



Why does Shaker Village matter to you?

Welcome Center Opening this Summer

The 1815 Carpenters’ Shop has held a front row seat to Kentucky history in action. (Learn more...) This spring, the building closed for preservation work, including the installation of a new wood shake roof; the repairing and painting of wood soffits, fascias and trim; and the repairing and painting of interior plaster, wood trim and casework.

The project also included refurbishing interior spaces to create a centralized welcome experience for guests. You will have a comfortable one-stop location to check-in, purchase tickets and learn about Village happenings. In addition, new hands-on interpretive and shopping experiences will be introduced inside the space. The project continues the rehabilitation of this important building, while creating a new level of convenience and functionality for guests and staff alike.

Here are some recent photos of the work that’s happening in the Carpenters’ Shop:

What will I find in the Welcome Center?

A little bit of everything! The Welcome Center will be your hub for all Shaker Village activity. The space will house our 24-hour sales and information team, The Inn check-in, an interactive introduction to the Shaker Village mission and message, featured products from The Shops, including signature Shaker oval boxes, logo merchandise and much more. Have a question? This is where it will be answered. Need admission tickets? Need a nice place to cool down? Want to see what’s next on the daily tours and activities schedule? This is your place.

As construction wraps up soon, we look forward to unveiling our new Welcome Center this summer! We hope our guests make a point to visit soon and start your Shaker Village experience from the Carpenters’ Shop. The 1820 Meeting House and the 1824 Centre Family Dwelling are next up for rehabilitation, part of a multi-phase effort to revive our rich cultural landscape, so stay tuned for more information as that project progresses.


Learn more about The Carpenters’ Shop past and future. Plan your visit to Shaker Village.