Darrow’s campus inhabits the site of the oldest Shaker community in North America, and this Shaker heritage informs many aspects of our school life, yet how much do we really know about the Shakers? In this one-semester elective course, we will explore the history, theology, lifestyle, values, achievements, challenges, and enduring legacy of the Shakers. We will examine the various stereotypes, myths and misconceptions about Shakerism as we build up a nuanced picture of the realities of what it meant to be a Shaker. The course will rely heavily on the abundant resources for studying the Shakers available here on our campus and within our region. There will be extensive fieldwork, research, and hands-on learning, culminating in the creation of presentations, artifacts and resources to be shared with the community at and beyond Darrow. The Shakers were ahead of their time in so many ways - in their commitment to equality, pacifism and social justice, in their embrace of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, in their mindful approach to design and craft, and in the values and beliefs they lived out every day. In this course, students will have the opportunity to go back and meet the Shakers as they were, in their own time and place.
Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.