National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Awards $24,000 to Canterbury Shaker Village

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded $24,000 to Canterbury Shaker Village to develop a humanities-based program of historic site interpretation that connects Shaker tenets and history to contemporary human rights and social justice issues.

According to Shirley Wajda, Ph.D., Curator of Collections, the grant award underscores how the experiences and legacies of the Canterbury Shakers extend beyond the borders of the village in which they worshiped, worked, and lived. “Their steadfast beliefs in equality, pacifism, communitarianism, and human dignity may inform our understanding of contemporary American society and culture,” she explained. “This generous grant will greatly strengthen the Village’s abilities to engage visitors in meaningful ways.”

These “meaningful ways” will include but not be restricted to daily life, community politics, and Shaker principles. “This grant will allow the Village to present a more well-rounded and human picture of Canterbury Shaker life, with all of its triumphs and complexities,” noted Education Manager Kyle Sandler. 

© Ellen Friedlander

Regarding its specific use, the grant award will support a 12-month project in which staff conduct internal and external reviews of current site interpretation and related materials. Outcomes from these reviews will include an implementation plan for a more coherent and integrated interpretive program and a visitor-responsive site map and materials that connect the Village to the Town of Canterbury’s Center Historic District.

The Village’s project is one of 260 NEH-funded humanities projects across the country. “This funding will help preserve and expand access to community histories, strengthen the ability of small museums and archives to serve the public, and provide resources and educational opportunities for students to engage with history, literature, languages, and cultures,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo).

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 nhmuseumtrail.org.