March 16, 2010

All spruced up, ready to show

ANN S

— By . KIM

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Jill Brady/Staff Photographer: Joan Wilson of Sanford and Jim Bentsen of Millville, Mass., strip calendula and other herbs while cleaning up for a new season at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village Saturday in New Gloucester. *for Lakes Neighbors*

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Jill Brady/Staff Photographer: From left, Jim Bentsen of Millville, Mass., Sheila Murphy of Gardiner, Mass., Ellie Fish of Saunderstown, Rhode Island, and Joan Wilson of Sanford strip herbs such as calendula, basil and savory during spring work day Saturday at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester. *for Lakes Neighbors*

Additional Photos Below

Staff Writer

Spring cleaning at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village involves many hands.

Over the weekend, close to 50 people participated in the spring work day at the village in New Gloucester, the only active Shaker community in existence. It's an annual tradition that helps the small community get ready for a season full of

events and activities.

The Shaker Museum and the Shaker Store open for on Friday, and a full schedule of workshops and other events will fill the summer months. In the coming weeks, a new ambitious exhibit on Shakers arts will open.

At the annual May work day -- another one is held in the fall -- volunteers help with tasks like sweeping, painting, weeding and tidying work spaces.

''It's like anybody with a home and yard, except we have 17 houses, a large yard -- several acres worth,'' said Leonard Brooks, the director of the Shaker Library and Museum who often serves as the community's spokesman.

The Sabbathday Lake community was established in 1783. The buildings in the village include 1883 dwelling house where the Shakers live and the 1792 meetinghouse still used for worship.

The community also operates a farm and related ventures like its herb and yarn businesses.

The Saturday event drew volunteers from Maine, other New England states and Illinois. The group included those from Friends of the Shakers, a non-profit group formed in 1974 that has about 500 members, as well as other volunteers.

Some people who lend a hand are researchers, others are collectors of Shaker items and some are ''seekers'' who are interested in Shaker thoughts and beliefs.

Kathy Moriarty of East Falmouth, Mass., got to know the community through volunteer work over many years. She is now president of the friends group who has been a member for two decades.

''We make it kind of a fun day as well,'' she said of the work day.

The weekend was also a time for other kinds of work for the Friends of the Shaker board. There was their meeting, preparations for the Friends Weekend in August, a tour of the new museum exhibit and meeting with some authors of Shaker books.

While the activity may be more visible in the warm months, there's always something going on at the village.

Winter is a time for research and planning, some public talks and programs and, of course, the daily chores associated with the farm, the herb department and the library, which is open year-round.

This winter was particularly active because of ''The Human and the Eternal: Shaker Art In Its Many Forms,'' which Brooks said is the largest single exhibit at the museum in 20 years.

The exhibit, which will run this season and next, will open next month. The opening date has not yet been set.

The exhibit includes about 100 Shaker-made objects from the 1800s to current times. The items -- gift drawings, oval boxes, rugs and other creations -- are primarily from Shaker villages in Maine. The exhibit is part of the 2008 Maine Folk Art Trail which involves 11 institutions.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

akim@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Jill Brady/Staff Photographer: Charlie Depuy of Enfield, N.H., clears away grass clippings and rocks while creating a drainage ditch Saturday during spring clean-up day at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester. *for Lakes Neighbors*

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Jill Brady/Staff Photographer: Weeding and sprucing up a garden outside the Sisters' Shop at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village Saturday are, from left, Kayla White of New Gloucester, Jennifer Hartwell of Auburn and Chris Becksvoort of New Gloucester. *for Lakes Neighbors*

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Jill Brady/Staff Photographer: Austin Trujillo, 10, of Avon waters a flower bed Saturday during spring clean-up day at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester. *for Lakes Neighbors*



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