Throwback Thursday – Over 200 years of milestones in 2022, South Union Shaker Village’s new exhibit

One of southern Kentucky’s oldest attractions is celebrating several centuries of milestones this year. South Union Shaker Village in nearby Logan County was officially established as a faith-based religious colony in 1807. The Shaker community ceased in 1922, exactly a century ago. Throwback Thursday this week tells the tale of the Shaker Village turned museum in Auburn. 

The Shakers were a religious sect that came from Great Britain to the newly-formed United States across the Atlantic Ocean around the 1780s. Their beliefs were based on spiritualism, where they received messages from God during silent meditations. They essentially shook during their worship services. The Shakers were known for their simple communal living, celibacy, architecture, furniture-making, and music. They were also progressive thinkers with equality of the sexes, as women also led rituals and gatherings. They were also believers in green living and the natural world.

From 1807 until 1922, a Shaker community lived here in Auburn. The Centre House of worship was built exactly 200 years ago in 1822. These Shakers were converts from the upper southern part of the country, and much of the fine furniture and material items they produced were considered part of the finest material culture of the south. These Shakers made textiles, tools, furniture and more.

When this Shaker community ceased in 1922, many of its items went to public auction. It wasn’t until the 1950s that preservation efforts were made. In 1965, the nonprofit organization called Shakertown Revisited was formed, hosting festivals and special events. The Shakertown Museum officially moved to its current, original, historic site in 1972, 50 years ago.

South Union Shaker Village is opening a new exhibit this month as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. Titled “A Passion to Preserve: Deedy Hall and the South Union Shakers,” the exhibit tells the story of the museum’s founder, Deedy Hall, and all the efforts made over the past 60 or so years to tell Shaker stories.

Throwback Thursday is brought to you by Hart County Tourism.