Living museums are becoming more and more popular because they give people a unique experience and an insight into a life far removed from life today. The Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts is one living museum that has taken the idea of imparting a knowledge of history to a whole new level, inviting people to come and experience for themselves the life that our ancestors lived.

1.History & Programs

History & Programs
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The Hancock Shaker Village gives patrons a unique insight into the world of the Shakers, a religious group who flourished when American societies were just developing. The Shakers are considered a community of people who believe in a peaceful and communal life while living and abiding by certain norms and rules laid down by the community. Hailing from England, the group decided to put down roots in Hancock in 1774 and subsequently grew into a vast religious movement that was particularly active through the 1960s. The Hancock Shaker Village stands as one of the most iconic structures paying homage to the Shakers and stands as a monument to their time spent in Hancock.


The Hancock Shaker Village offers visitors programs that allow them to experience the Shaker lifestyle. Patrons can spend a day at the village and witness what life was like during that era. The property consists of vast gardens and farms in which visitors can get a glimpse of Shaker farm life with a fully functional farm that grows numerous amounts of herbs and vegetables. The Shakers used to be a self-sufficient community and grew their own food and medicinal herbs. The gardeners at the property are happy to demonstrate to visitors the original farming methods techniques used by the Shakers.

The Hancock Shaker Village also has numerous art exhibits within their historical building to provide an even deeper insight into the lives of this community. The Shakers believed in making their homes a kind of heaven on earth, and the historical building within the premises offers patrons a distinct look at that kind of home. There are over fifty rooms showcasing exhibits from the Shaker era, all of which were in use by people of the community. Also, visitors can also experience some of more unique aspects of the Shaker’s work, such as the various small scale machinery that the community used to carry out their everyday activities. You can even have a go at some of these machines yourself!

The Hancock Shaker Village welcomes families with children and has numerous programs and activities specifically designed for kids and families, handy for keeping them occupied during their visit to the village. This is a certainly unique and distinct lesson into American History that won’t put them to sleep! When visiting the village, families have a chance to go all out and live the Shaker life, from the clothes they wore to the activities they carried out.

The Hancock Shaker Village also encourages visitors to go on a hike of the local surroundings and experience what the entire village has to offer while taking in the beauty and serenity of the surrounding areas. However, some of the hikes can be difficult as they climb quite steeply, so patrons are advised to be cautious.

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2.Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit
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The Hancock Shaker Village is set to open on April 15th and will be open every day from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Numerous walking tours are conducted in the village that give people a tour of the entire settlement. If you plan to partake in their day programs, it is advised to notify the Hancock Shaker Village at least a week in advance so that all the necessary arrangements can be made.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Massachusetts

1843 W Housatonic St, Pittsfield, MA 01201, Phone: 413-443-0188

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Things to Do in Massachusetts: The Hancock Shaker Village

  • History & Programs, Photo: Courtesy of Dave -
  • Plan Your Visit, Photo: Courtesy of sphraner -
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of sphraner -