Communal Workspace – Then & Now

The Ministry’s Workshop at 200

Maggie McAdams, Education and Engagement Manager

The Ministry’s Workshop today.

“October 26, 1820: the Ministry’s Shop was raised and they moved into it the 9th of April following.”  Origins and Progress of the Society at Pleasant Hill

Members of the Pleasant Hill Ministry used the Ministry’s Workshop as an office space for almost 80 years.  The Ministry, composed of two men and two women, provided spiritual leadership for the community, kept journals, conducted the official correspondence for the Village, and performed physical labor to set as an example of industry for the other Shakers.

The Ministry’s Workshop is conveniently located in the center of the Village, right next door to the Meeting House, where members of the Ministry had living quarters on the second floor. The Ministry’s Workshop embodied the secular work of the leadership while the Meeting House represented the spiritual role.

200 years later, we are still using the Ministry’s workshop as office space! Now home to Shaker Village’s Program Team, Farm Team and Preserve Team, this building continues to provide necessary space, in a convenient location, to keep this Village running. 

Members of the Program Team attending a training next to the Water House.

The Program Team is tasked with interpreting the story of the Shakers for the public. Whether through programming or exhibitions, the team works hard to research and share the rich history of this community.

As a member of the Program Team, I feel honored to spend my workdays in a building that holds so much history, and my colleagues feel the same way. Not only is it a functional workspace, it is after all a Shaker structure with pegs and all, it is an inspiring structure as we are constantly reminded of the important legacy that surrounds us.  It is empowering that we continue to use this building as a communal workspace where we collaborate on effective ways to share the Shaker experience with visitors. It also doesn’t hurt to have multiple windows in every room!

Program Team office space inside the Ministry’s Workshop today.

Shaker Village