“Begin today! No matter how feeble the light,
let it shine as best it may. The world may need
just that quality of light which you have.”
— Elder Henry C. Blinn
Canterbury, New Hampshire Shaker Community
The new year has arrived and it won’t be long before you receive your registration brochure in the mail for the 2016 Early American Industries Association Annual Meeting taking place on May 18th – May 21st, 2016 at Pleasant hill Shaker Village, Kentucky. You can download the PDF brochure and printable registration form (for those registering by mail) here. Located just 23 miles west of the Lexington, Kentucky airport and in the middle of Kentucky horse and bourbon country, Pleasant Hill will be a great venue for our meeting. Pleasant Hill is the site of a Shaker community that was active from 1805 until 1910. there are 34 original 19th century buildings on 3000 acres of land. It is indeed a “pleasant hill”. The restoration of these buildings was done in 1961 under the direction of James Lowry Cogar who was the man hired by John D. Rockefeller to be the first curator of Colonial Williamsburg.The property abuts the Kentucky River and has lots to offer anyone attending the meeting. We’ll literally be taking over the village for our meeting.
We’ll learn about Shaker culture, architecture, furniture, and crafts. Here are some of the activities we’ve got lined up:
- Guided tours of the farm and village with guides who will discuss the history and architecture of the buildings as well as the Pleasant Hill Shaker community.
- With the curators, behind the scenes tours in their collections area with an opportunity to view some of the more than 10,000 artifacts in their collection.
- All of the buildings will be open from the cellars to the attics for us to see. These buildings contain an extensive collection of Shaker furniture and other objects the Shakers used in their daily activities.
- A cruise on the Kentucky River aboard the Dixie Belle, a riverboat, where you’ll hear about the geology of the palisades lining the river and how the Shakers used the river.
- A chance to try your hand at Shaker crafts and take home what you make including:
- Making a Shaker Whiskbroom.
- The Shakers were well-known for their medicinal use of herbs and you can take home your own Shaker Herb Bundle.
- Learn about Shaker Spirit Drawings, try your hand at it and see how these spirit drawings have taken on new life in the quilts in the museum’s collection
- Learn about dry stone fencing. Pleasant Hill has more miles of dry stone fencing than anywhere else in the world outside of England with 26 miles of dry stone fencing. You’ll learn about this intricate and fascinating skill from the Pleasant Hill staff.
- EAIA board member Ross Gibson is going to educate us all on the intricacies of slate roofing in a talk entitled, “Slate Roofing – A Brief History and a Hands On Demonstration”.
- You’ll learn about Shaker worship and dance and enjoy some of the wonderful music created by the Shakers.
And of course we’ll have our usual tailgating and tool trading on Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning. Our yearly ice cream social (think Shaker lemon pie!) and “Whatsits” session will be held on Thursday evening. So start organizing those “Whatsits”! The always fun Silent Auction, Banquet, and our Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday. Please think about bringing something for the Silent Auction. All of the proceeds go toward supporting EAIA’s operating expenses and the amount received for items you donate is tax-deductible. The newly formed EAIA Fiber Arts Group will be holding a meeting on Saturday morning and The Great Planes Trading Company will be hosting an antique tool auction on Friday night, May 20th in the Meadow View Barn at Pleasant Hill. So, you won’t lack for things to see and do!
EAIA Member Displays
During your stay at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village you’ll be surrounded by the architecture, furniture, and objects that the Shakers used every day. Shakers saw their work as an integral part of their spiritual life. They are renowned for their industry and commitment to excellence in all that they did. Shakers embraced new technology and were engaged in a brisk trade with the outside world. So, the theme for our displays this year will Be, “The Shaker Work Day – Tools that the Shakers Might Have Used on the Farm, in Their Homes and in Their Shops. This broad theme for displays will allow you to get creative and put together a display to share with your fellow EAIA members.
In addition to all the tools the Shakers might have used, don’t forget about all those activities and crafts that Shaker women performed from butter making to lace making, hooking rugs, gardening, weaving, spinning, herb preparation and preserving food. The Saturday morning displays are always one of the highlights of our Annual Meeting so we hope you’ll bring a display to Pleasant Hill.
We’ll be staying in the restored 19th century buildings at Pleasant Hill. Don’t worry, they all have modern conveniences. But you’ll have to do some walking in the village and there are stairs. None of the buildings have elevators. There are accommodations for 146 people at Pleasant Hill so get your registration and room reservations made right away. 13 of the rooms are on the first floor so you won’t have to do stairs other than a step up into the building, but you will need to climb stairs in many of the buildings. There are 7 pet friendly rooms as well. Pleasant Hill staff will be accepting reservations starting February 15th, 2016. You can make your reservation by calling Ann Voris the Group Services Manager at 859-734-1548. If she is not there, please leave a message and she will call you back. Room rates are $95/night and are good for three days before and three days after our meeting.
If you are concerned about having to climb stairs or if all the rooms at Pleasant Hill have been filled, motel rooms can be found at the following motels in Harrodsburg, Kentucky which is 7.3 miles away:
Days Inn – 1680 Danville Road Harrodsburg, KY, 40330, (859)-734-9431, Room rates ≅ $70/night
Baymont Inn – 105 Commercial Drive, Harrodsburg, KY, 40330, (859)-734-2400, Room rates ≅ $65-$80/night
Beaumont Inn(Historic B&B) – 638 Beaumont Drive, Harrodsburg, KY, 40330 (859)-734-3381. Room rates ≅ $113-$180/night
May temperatures at Pleasant Hill average between 50-70 degrees. It will be Spring and the trees and flowers will be in bloom. So come and enjoy a great EAIA Annual Meeting from May 18th thru May 21st at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village May 18th thru May 21st, 2016!
— Rodney & Denise Richer and Paul & Eileen Van Pernis – 2016 Annual Meeting co-hosts.