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Goodwillie Discusses Vanishing Shaker Meetinghouses


Director and Curator of Special Collections and Archives Christian Goodwillie recently presented a paper at Historic Deerfield’s annual Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife. The event took place in Deerfield, Mass., on June 23.

Since its inception in 1976, the seminar has provided a forum for academics, museum professionals, and preservationists to present research on a wide variety of topics. This year’s theme was “Religious Spaces: Our Vanishing Landmarks.”

Goodwillie’s paper, “The Shaker Meetinghouse: 230 Years of Ecstasy, Tourism, and Preservation,” traced the design, construction, and fates of the 17 meetinghouses constructed by the Shakers prior to 1800 in New England and eastern New York.

Drawing on new research, Goodwillie showed that although the Shakers were iconoclasts, both in terms of their faith and their architecture, their meetinghouses have become iconic features of the New England landscape.

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