NEW LEBANON — Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon has received a $25,000 grant from the Tianaderrah Foundation to begin work restoring the cropland landscape in the North Pastures at the historic Shaker site at Mount Lebanon in New Lebanon.
A 2003 cultural landscape study done by Heritage Landscapes identified the areas north and west of the Great Stone Barn as areas the Shakers used for crops, pasture, and meadow. Remarkably intact Shaker-built stone walls are now hidden by new growth forest. Aerial photographs from as late as the 1960s show that this area was open and unwooded.
The Shaker Museum has worked with the State Historic Preservation Office and Sylvan Timber Harvesting to identify roughly eight acres of land to be cleared. Apple trees that are likely descendants of trees from the Shakers’ orchards will be preserved with the intention of eventually restoring the orchards. This project will also serve the purpose of removing non-native, diseased, and dead trees.
Some of the land to be cleared was acquired in 2014 with assistance from New York State and the Open State Institute. Opening up the land supports the Shaker Museum’s mission to tell the story of the Shakers and will help visitors understand the extraordinary scale of the Shakers’ agricultural operations at the historic site.
“There’s a lot of important work happening at the Mount Lebanon site right now,” said the Museum’s Executive Director Lacy Schutz. “The landscape restoration, paired with a project to
The North Family Shakers’ pastures at the middle left in this ca. 1910 photograph have grown to mature forest since this photo was taken by Lebanon Springs photographer, Howard Gillet.
clear hiking trails that venture deep into the North Pastures, will make this area more meaningful and accessible to visitors.”
Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon is dedicated to preserving the history of the Shakers, including their furniture and architecture as well as their values of inclusion, innovation, integrity, and conviction. It stewards the historic site in New Lebanon, which is open year-round for recreation and self-guided tours, and offers tours, exhibitions, and public programs seasonally. The museum also has a campus in Old Chatham, open year-round by appointment, where the administrative offices, collections, library, and archives are housed. The museum’s collection of over 56,000 Shaker items is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world.