Shaker Museum

Shaker Museum, New Lebanon: Hours, Address, Shaker Museum Reviews: 4/5

Shaker Museum
Speciality Museums
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10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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Mount Lebanon Shaker Village was the leading site of the Shakers, from its founding in 1787 to its closure in 1947. Since 2004, the Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon has preserved the North Family at Mount Lebanon while offering tours and programs, as well as exhibitions of Shaker objects from its collection, the most comprehensive in the world.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

23 reviews
Very good

Hudson Valley (NY)117 contributions
Jun 2013 • Couples
There are 3 different Shaker Sites in this area. The site in Old Chatham (where no Shakers ever lived), is a research center. It used to house a major collection of Shaker artifacts, originally collected by the property owner. The artifacts have been moved to the 10-building, Mt. Lebanon Shaker Village in nearby Lebanon NY, which is being restored, but already offers exhibits and events. This is the on the original site where Shakers lived in this region, and is worth visiting and supporting. The third site is the Hancock Shaker Village in nearby Hancock MA, a spin-off from the original site, and fully restored and well-known.

Tip: the photo shown is not in Old Chatham.
Written August 4, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Portland, ME196 contributions
Aug 2015 • Couples
The Mount Lebanon Shaker Museum in New Lebanon is a work in progress, but it is well worth your time. The site focuses on the area where the North Family (a family in the Shaker sense) lived and worked. The buildings are in a state of renovation, but the guides are really knowledgable. Our fantastic tour guide was a SUNY-Albany graduate student who explained why the Shakers left England for North America, how the site at New Lebanon developed, what the Shakers believed and practiced, how they approached work and what products they made, how new members entered the community, how they engaged with the outside world, and much more. The guide also incorporated the words or quotations of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century newspaper commentators and visitors to the village to give us a sense of the Shakers in a broader context, which was especially nice since the buildings themselves are not your typical museum-ready showpieces. What you do see in terms of the physical spaces include a wash house featuring some really smart methods for drying clothing, a classroom used by children in the village, a granary, a forge, and the enormous stone barn (which we did not enter for safety reasons) that will eventually be re-roofed and restored. Much of the tour takes place outside, and you will be able to get a sense of the village's architecture even if you don't enter all of the buildings.

I don't know why other reviewers expressed confusion about the different Shaker sites, which, while not far apart in terms of miles, are in different states and very different in size and development. I've been to Hancock Shaker Village, which is well worth your time (and will take almost a full day to tour), and recommend that you visit it and the Mount Lebanon site as an opportunity to learn more about how various Shaker communities lived and practiced their faith. Judging from photographs provided by our guide, I got the sense that the Mount Lebanon Shakers produced goods much more in keeping with the outside world's sense of fashion and taste than the Hancock Shakers did. I thought that was interesting. The North Family, also, did not make furniture. (Not all Shakes made furniture?!) Instead, the South Family, which is not discussed much on the tour and who lived at the south end of the Mount Lebanon village, focused its energies on furniture. Learning this detail gave me a sense of the diversity of Shaker experiences within and without particular villages. All in all, at the Hancock Shaker Village I came away with a sense of the Shakers in micro-detail, learning a great deal about how they approached their everyday lives, while at Mount Lebanon I left with a better understanding of the Shakers in a broader cultural context. In other words, having visited the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village I think I now understand where the Shakers fit into the wider world, whereas at Hancock Shaker Village I mostly learned how the Shakers there viewed their own little world. Both perspectives are worth having.

The tour of Mount Lebanon Shaker Village takes about 60-90 and the admission is a suggested $10. I think you could see it for free if you so desired, although making the full donation will certainly help the site staff realize their renovation goals. We did not bring children with us on our tour, and I would not recommend the tour we took for children. Although, I suppose it is possible that there are tours appropriate for kids. To know for certain, I would call ahead and ask or check the website.
Written August 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

2 contributions
Jun 2016 • Friends
Absolutely must take the guided tour. The tours appear to have a very solid academic/scholarly underpinning and are made very interesting. The tour is a walk to structures but there is some good timeline, objective commentary on the Shakers and fascinating vignettes that stick with you. The structures and artifacts present are very good now. The organization seems aimed at making the museum aspect better over time and is worthy of your support with your visit.

For me it was great to take a break and have lunch at the nearby Blueberry Inn.
Written July 9, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bobby B
New York City, NY310 contributions
Aug 2019 • Solo
The shaker museum is an amazing collection of objects and buildings!
They are an amazing repository for the culture and society of the Shakers here in New York!

It clearly is a beautifully operated organization with a great support system.

With that said any organization needs additional support. The shaker museum is of significant national value.
Please take a moment and go to their web site and become a member
Or purchase a ticket to the upcoming summer gala on August 17th.
If you haven’t visited please do!
I have been a trustee of several organizations and this is a very deserving one!
Join today!
Written July 31, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Windsor, CT359 contributions
Aug 2018 • Couples
My husband and I visited the Mount Lebanon Shaker Museum in New Lebanon, New York on Saturday, August 11th. We took the 1:00 PM North Family Shakers guided tour. Our tour guide was very friendly, interesting and knowledgeable and gave good information on the buildings in the village and how the Shakers lived, worked and worshipped. This included the very innovative approaches that the Shakers used. Overall she provided good information on the history, culture and religious beliefs of the Shakers and answered all of our questions. The tour was quite informative and educational and was like a walk back through time. The tour took about an hour and there was plenty of free parking.

The tour focused on both the interior and exterior architecture of the buildings, which was an interesting approach and was nicely done. However, the tour did not include special exhibits as in the past because there were no exhibits on display this time, due to renovations being made on the buildings and the lack of funding. In 2016, there was a nice exhibit on the Shaker’s laundry technology and in 2017 there was a film and tour of the Brethren’s Workshop Building, which was unique and interesting and included collections of various types of stoves, shaker tools and objects related to gender equality and Shaker women’s suffrage with good corresponding write-ups explaining them.

We missed seeing such exhibits and we hope that there are plans to bring them back in the future.
Written August 14, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Troy New York20 contributions
Jun 2017 • Couples
The whole community is on display here, or the greatest part of it anyway. Walking the grounds, going through the buildings, hearing about the community and how it started, rose, dealt with other communities and the outside world, and finally declined is an immersive lesson in history ad human ingenuity.

The Shakers anticipated the Modern style, with simple, funtional designs for their buildings, tools and furniture. Want to extend your appreciation of Danish Modern? Study the Shakers. I'm not sure that the Danes did, but when they made a conscious choice to resurrect their hand craftsmanship and simple, essential design ethic, they might as well have. The shakers led their world in ingenuity and gave us a lasting set of values that shines through even today with high prices on their antique crafts.

Well worth an afternoon, and with an interesting cultural/educational program to match. A must see if you are at all interested in history or social movements or the 1800's.
Written November 8, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Springfield, MA81 contributions
Sep 2017 • Couples
We enjoyed our visit -- especially the exhibit about the role of women in the community and in the Shaker movement as a whole. The area is beautiful and it was cool to walk inside the skeleton of the huge stone barn that is undergoing re-construction work. We were surprised, though, to find how relatively little of the Shaker community was available to visitors here. The Darrow School now uses many of the buildings from the Shaker community. We had to pay in order to see the exhibit in one of the buildings (the men's workshop), but were not able to get the tour we thought would be included because our timing was off. Perhaps we would have been able to go into more buildings on the tour? Hard to tell. It was noted on the materials from the visitors' center that plans were underway for restoration of several structures. We consider our entrance fee a worthwhile donation to the restoration efforts and hope to enjoy more during a future trip.
Written September 25, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jennifer E
30 contributions
Aug 2017 • Couples
I had purchased a membership in advance so that we could tour and get a discount. Had no idea that this was not necessary and received zero discount on the tour. The place is very small ( the gift shop extremely lean) and the site buildings are mostly off limits due to use by a local private school. The staff were doing child care and running around as if the place was busy which it was not.

The docent who led our tour was sweet but terribly unprepared, reading a script and repeating herself. The gnats were awful. The buildings we could tour were interesting, hence 2 stars. There were 4 people on the tour and yet we had to go back to the registration desk to get official stickers the cashier had forgotten to give us.

Overall, if you really want to see Shaker buildings and furnishings you will need to go elsewhere. This place is disorganized and limited. "Museum" is way overstated. I'd only recommend this to completists who want to see every single Shaker site. Even so, ratchet down your expectations. Do Not buy a membership, no tours are included for that fee!
Written August 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Woodside, NY3 contributions
Aug 2016 • Friends
I highly recommend the very informative tour of the Shaker village, which is being slowly and lovingly restored. It's a must-see for travelers in the area. Shaker culture has influenced our modern life and thought in many ways, but is largely unknown to people today. It had a fascinating history from the mid-1700s through 1947. The Shakers were an unusual group, radical for its time, who believed in the equality of all people. They were great innovators who pioneered some technology that we use today, as well as superb marketers of their many different products.
Written August 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cocoa Beach, FL362 contributions
Jun 2016 • Friends
The Mount Lebanon Shaker Museum provides a deep understanding of this interesting religious movement and their place in 18th and 19th century American history. There are a number of original buildings on the beautiful site. It is open in the Summer.

The Museum has guided tours focused on several aspects of the commune and Shaker life. The tours are essentials to get a full perspective of the history and the buildings. The guides (in our case Wyatt) are informed and engaging. Tour information covered the origins and background of the sect; the earlier leaders and critical incidents in their history; their beliefs, industry and inventions; persecution; and ultimate fate.

There is a small gift shop with books and some Shaker products. The roads leading to the Museum are scenic and add to the enjoyment.

Worth a visit.
Written June 27, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Shaker Museum is open:
  • Fri - Mon 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM