Groups & Schools
Canterbury Shaker Village offers a variety of group tours and guided programs tailored to meet specific needs and interests. Our classic tour, A Canterbury Tale: The Legacy of the Shakers, introduces the Shakers and provides a broad overview of their history and culture, while other offerings focus in-depth on various aspects of the Shakers. Several programs are designed as off-site outreaches that can travel to your own venue; other personalized tours and outreaches can always be arranged in consultation with Village staff.
“A great tour guide is one who is so enthusiastic during the presentation that the listener feels like this is the first time such material has been shared. This was our experience at Canterbury Shaker Village with 54 senior travelers. The excellent tour guides shared information with clarity and passion. The result was a wonderful attraction made even better! We will return next year!” – M.P., Group Tour owner and leader, Summer, 2018.
Select Tour Topics
A Canterbury Tale: The Legacy of the Shakers | 1.25 hours
Canterbury Shaker Village, inhabited from 1792-1992, was one of 18 Shaker communities that flourished across the eastern United States. The Shakers’ unique religious beliefs, put into daily practice in their large, communal families, are evident in all aspects of the Village, today preserved as a museum and National Historic Landmark. This tour introduces the Canterbury Shakers and their key beliefs, and explores three historic structures at the Village, and highlights some of the enduring values of the Shakers that allowed them to create a successful utopian community for more than 200 years.
A Visit from 1860 | 1 hour
Meet a neighbor of the Shakers from 1860 and ask the costumed interpreter questions about the Shakers and daily life in rural New Hampshire. Discussion is augmented with reproductions of Shaker-made artifacts. (Available as onsite program or outreach.)
Canterbury Shaker Village: 200 Years of Shaker History | 1 hour
This lecture-style presentation introduces the Canterbury Shakers and explores aspects of their daily life, work, and worship, highlighted by PowerPoint slides. Shakers resided at Canterbury for 200 years – learn why Shakerism was the most successful utopian experiment in America. (Available as onsite program or outreach.)
Shaping the Land | 1 hour
The Shakers shaped the Village to create a prosperous community that they viewed as “Heaven on Earth.” Examine the landscape and learn about the decisions that the Shakers made – from planting trees and laying out gardens to building rock walls and creating an elaborate millpond system.
Cabinetry and Woodwork | 1 hour
Take in-depth look at the beautiful woodworking in the Shakers’ 1793 Dwelling House. This program explores the concept of “Hands to work, hearts to God” and the Shakers’ belief that all work was prayer, leading to a reputation for quality workmanship that is still unsurpassed today.
‘The Gate Between Two Worlds’: Spiritualism and the Canterbury Shakers | 1 hour
Today, we enjoy telling ghost stories, reveling in a well-timed fright or harrowing tale. To the Shakers, however, the spiritual world was an important part of community life. Learn about the growth of spiritualism as part of Shaker religion and hear firsthand accounts of otherworldly encounters.
The Shakers and Photography | 1 hour
From the 1860s on, the Shakers embraced photography, using photographs to market and advertise themselves to the public as well as to document community life. Many of the brothers and sisters at Canterbury became avid amateur photographers who documented all aspects of community life.
Christmas with the Canterbury Shakers | 1 hour
During the 200 years that Shakers lived at Canterbury Shaker Village their Christmas traditions evolved and changed. Explore the evolution of the Shakers’ Christmas celebrations – from simple religious services in the 19th century to holiday decorations and elaborate theatricals in the 20th century – on this guided tour, offered during the month of December.
The Village offers several outreach programs that can be given offsite. Outreach programs are offered year-round, weather permitting. Scheduling is subject to staff availability. Outreach programs are $100 per session, with an additional mileage charge (currently $0.58/mile).