Shakers are known primarily for their fine craftsmanship, plain furniture, and work ethic. The Christian sect formed in England around 1747 but left for New York in 1774 after years of religious persecution. The settlement at Hancock, established in 1783, was the third Shaker village to form in the new world.
Shakers were well ahead of their time, in some ways. They practiced both racial and gender equality, as well as pacifism, in the 1700’s. Celibacy was also major part of the Shaker religion, however. A practice that led to the sect’s slow decline.
By the late 1950s, the Shaker population at Hancock was so small, they could no longer maintain the land. Ever forward thinking, they sold the remaining property to a local group dedicated to its preservation. The village reopened in 1961 as Hancock Shaker Village, the east coast’s largest Shaker museum.
Visiting The Village
Hancock is home to 20 historic Shaker buildings, a working Shaker farm with extensive gardens, and a large collection of Shaker furniture and artifacts.
The most iconic structure on the property has to be the famous Round Stone Barn, built in 1826. This fantastic structure is an architectural gem and the only Shaker barn of its kind. Other structures on the property include a Meetinghouse, School House, Ice House, and a 1910 Barn Complex.
Fifty different rooms around the village serve as an exhibit to the daily life of the Shakers. You’ll see genuine Shaker furniture, crafts, tools, 19th-century medical equipment, spinning wheels, butter churns, and more.
Farming was a major part of Shaker life and Hancock Shaker Village remains a working farm. The property continues to maintain heirloom herb and vegetable gardens, along with a barn full of heritage livestock.
Visitors to the village can expect to enjoy Shaker craft demonstrations during their guided or self-guided tours. The village is also home to numerous hiking trails, many of which pass long since abandoned Shaker building sites.
Hungry? Seeds Market Cafe at the village is open every day. Enjoy Shaker-inspired and neighborhood-sourced snacks, meals, and more.
Seasonal Hours Special Events
Hancock Shaker Village is open seasonally from Mid April to November. It hosts special events and tours even during the “off-season,” however. For example:
The Big Chill – February 16, 2020 – 11am to 5pm
A day of outdoor fun, including wagon rides, tree tapping, blacksmithing, baking demonstrations, live music, a bonfire, and more!
Opening Day: Baby Animals – April 11, 2020 – 10am to 4pm
Spring, baby animals, and opening day at Hancock Shaker Village – what more could you ask for? Baby Animals runs daily from April 11th to May 3rd, 2020.
Hancock Shaker Village
1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield MA, 01201
Hancock Shaker Village is less than twenty miles from our Berkshires inn. Applegate Inn’s convenient location in Lee, MA puts the best of the Berkshires right at your feet. Berkshire Botanical Gardens, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Jacobs Pillow, Tanglewood, Jiminy Peak, and more. Plan your stay at our Berkshires bed and breakfast today!