Trustees’ Office Restoration & Renovation

Front of Trustee's BuildingTrustees Office Restoration & Renovation Project

On January 6, 2014, Canterbury Shaker Village was awarded a $150,000 Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grant for the purpose of renovating and restoring the Shaker Trustees’ Office. The award of these funds requires a one-to-one match.

The Trustees’ Office is one of the most important structures of the 30 buildings within the 694 acre historic National Historic Landmark of Canterbury Shaker Village, and is part of the Shaker Village Historic District created by the Town of Canterbury in 1994. The Trustees’ Office is situated along Shaker Road, one of New Hampshire’s first designated scenic and cultural by-ways.

Renovation/ Restoration Vision

The restoration and renovation of the Trustees’ Office represents the culmination of our significant building restoration efforts at Canterbury Shaker Village. Programmatically, it offers the rare and meaningful opportunity to interpret the scale and scope of the Shakers 200 year legacy of entrepreneurship, innovative design and simple living to the world in an authentic space.

The project will consolidate the museum’s offices and create program and exhibit spaces on main floor, provide overnight accommodations for workshop participants and lecturers on the second floor, provide collections storage on top floor, and create a rental apartment in the lower level with a centralized area for housekeeping.

The total cost of the project is $358,000 and will rely on a combination of private donations and additional grant funding to match the LCHIP funds.

Eldress Bertha on Steps of Trustees' OfficeSignificance of Trustees’ Office in Shaker Life

The Trustee’s Office was designed as the hub of the Canterbury Shakers’ considerable commercial enterprises. It housed only those Shakers who had the authority to conduct business for the community. Here, they executed contracts for their inventions and manufactured goods (such as washing machines, medicines, seed packets and other dry goods), housed guests and clients who arrived from distant places, and met with townspeople and local officials to discuss civic matters.

The building was continually used and occupied by the Shakers from 1831 through 1990 and was the home of the last members of the Shaker Lead Ministry in America. The Trustees’ Office has national significance as one of the best examples of Shaker architecture surviving in any of the original 19 Shaker communities from Maine to Kentucky.

The fact that the Shakers spent more money on the Trustees’ Office than on any other Shaker building underscores the significance and scale of their economic activities. The restoration will complete the interpretation of Shaker life in Canterbury.

Building Details & Significance

o    The Trustees’ Office is the only masonry building at Canterbury Shaker Village.

o    Architecturally, the Trustees’ Office is the finest Shaker building of its type and houses some of the finest original Shaker interiors (1831-1920s).

o    The four-story, 22-room brick building is sited on a cut-granite foundation and retains much of its original character and many features not found in other Shaker buildings or in domestic structures of the time period.

o    The original Shaker style double staircase, with one side for men and another for women, is completely intact.
o    The entire building retains original doors, hardware and built-in cupboards.

o    The upper two floors retain some original finishes.

o    The lower level and main floor were selectively modernized by the Shakers.

o    The building also contains numerous technological or building features that were advanced for the 1830s.

How You Can Help

If you are interested in supporting this project financially, please contact the Canterbury Shaker Village Development Office at (603) 783-9077 x220.