Canterbury Shaker Village Focuses on Restoration of Key Historic Structures

Dwelling House at the Village

Tuesday, June 6 marks the start of NH Gives, a 24-hour online giving challenge that leadership at Canterbury Shaker Village hopes will inject much-needed financial support into ongoing restoration efforts of key historic structures. 

A T-shaped building with 56 rooms that has been expanded several times since its construction in 1793, the Dwelling House is the Village’s first area of focus. “We have successfully raised funds for a new roof, but we have discovered we must also repoint the Dwelling House’s five 

chimneys,” said Leslie Nolan, executive director of The Village. “This is just one of several projects that must take place.” Restoration of the Dwelling House is complicated by its sheer size—8,700 square feet— and the complexity of its roof. Featuring a Chapel, a Paul Revere family bell, and a Shaker library, the Dwelling House, according to Nolan, is “the crown jewel of the property.”

In support of its ongoing historic restoration efforts, the Village has received sizable contributions from various foundations and individuals, including Madeleine von Weber Foundation ($15,000), Merrimack Saving Bank ($10,000), Putnam Foundation ($40,000), 1772 Foundation ($5,000), and two anonymous donors ($25,000). Specific to NH Gives, John Swope has also offered to match up to $10,000 for any restoration work on the Dwelling House. “Restoration and preservation is expensive and complicated work, but the 26 structures help preserve the incredible legacy of the Shakers,” cited Nolan. 

This legacy, she said, “shocked their contemporaries.” “The Shakers challenged almost every mainstream ideal of American society during their time,” said Nolan. “Shakers believed in communal ownership, pacifism, dancing in worship, equality of the sexes, celibacy, and living simply…These are ideals that continue to fascinate and inspire people today.”

In May and June, including Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, indoor guided tours at the Village take place at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. In addition to indoor guided tours, the Village interprets Shaker life through exhibits, restored historic structures, gardens, and educational programs.

About Canterbury Shaker Village

Featuring 694 acres of forests, fields, gardens, nature trails, and mill ponds under permanent conservation easement, the Village is designated as a National Historic Landmark with 25 restored original Shaker buildings and 4 reconstructed Shaker buildings. In addition to tours, exhibits, and programs, Canterbury Shaker Village provides wonderful, relaxing, and beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces for weddings

Canterbury Shaker Village is a member of the NH Heritage Museum Trail, which connects the public with culturally rich heritage institutions in New Hampshire. For more information about The Trail, visit