CANTERBURY — Canterbury Shaker Village and Sanborn Mills Farm of Loudon are launching Hands to Work, a collaborative educational partnership. Lynn Martin-Graton will lead Hands to Work as the Director of Folklife and Agriculture. Named for the Shaker motto, Hands to Work will create a contemporary community on the grounds of these two historic sites where the Shaker and Yankee traditions of the past come to life in a modern world.
Hands to Work will create opportunities for people to learn by doing physical work in the same workshops, fields, and forests where the Shakers established their legacy of innovation design, entrepreneurship and simple living, and where rugged Yankee individualists carved a living out of the wilderness. Activities will include everything associated with traditional Folklife and agriculture distinctive to the Northeastern United States.
The first phase of the project will research models nationwide to ensure that the partnership makes the most out of its resources. Recommendations will then be developed to build and fund the infrastructure needed to support the hive of activity that Hands to Work will become. Seed money for the feasibility phase of the partnership has been contributed by supporters of Canterbury Shaker Village and Sanborn Mills Farm.
Canterbury Shaker Village is one of the largest and most important complexes of historic structures in the state and has an international reputation for outstanding stewardship of its resources. With over 25 restored and original Shaker buildings on 696 acres and five mill ponds, the museum preserves the 200-year legacy of the Canterbury Shakers and provides a place for learning, reflection, and renewal of the human spirit. Known for their innovative design, entrepreneurship, commitment to equality and simple living, the Shakers were accomplished artisans and farmers.
"Canterbury Shaker Village and Sanborn Mills Farm are located only seven miles apart and our missions are very complimentary," noted Funi Burdick, Executive Director of Canterbury Shaker Village. "The Hands to Work partnership represents our commitment to expand New Hampshire's folklife and agricultural programming and deepen our collective connection to these traditions."
Before and during the industrial revolution, Sanborn Mills Farm was a thriving economic center of activity with its own sawmill, grist mill and blacksmith shop centered around the two mill ponds that provided power for the local community. Since 1997, Paula and Colin Cabot have worked to restore the farm to working order with the goal of accommodating workshops in farming with oxen and draft horses and traditional blacksmithing. Sanborn Mills Farm is committed to sustainable agriculture and forestry through the integration of draft animal power in its agricultural practices.
"Learning by putting your hands to work can change your life" says Colin Cabot, of Sanborn Mills Farm. "We want people to experience a different kind of time, work on something in-depth while living at Hands to Work, and leave enriched by the experience."
Lynn Martin-Graton brings more than 30 years of experience as an arts administrator and folklorist to her new role as Director of Folklife and Agriculture. Most recently, she served as the Acting Director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts from 2009-2014 and served as the Traditional Arts Coordinator for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts from 1998 to 2013. Her background in heritage arts includes researching, documenting, and presenting traditional crafts, music and occupational traditions, as well as overseeing countless apprenticeships for the preservation of traditional knowledge both in New Hampshire and in other parts of the country.
Martin-Graton's accomplishments in New Hampshire include having served as the New Hampshire-based curator for the state's landmark presentation at the 1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and for the restaging at Hopkinton Fairgrounds in 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Ceramics & Sculpture from the University of Guam, certification as a secondary art teacher, and a Masters Degree in Pacific Island Studies from the University of Hawaii.
"It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with two visionary leaders in New Hampshire and play a direct role in creating a major destination for people who want to learn or practice heritage-based skills," said Martin-Graton. "We hope Hands to Work will serve as a national model for the connection between heritage, responsible land use, and sustainability."
Canterbury Shaker Village is dedicated to preserving the 200-year Shaker legacy of entrepreneurship, innovative design and simple living by providing a place for learning, reflection, and renewal of the human spirit. Visitors are encouraged to rethink tradition by learning about the life, ideals, values, and history of the Canterbury Shakers. The National Historic Landmark includes 25 restored original and four reconstructed Shaker buildings, and 694 acres of forests, fields, gardens, nature trails, and mill ponds under permanent conservation easement.
The Village cafe offers simple lunch fare and the Museum Store features unique gifts and wares handmade by regional artists. Canterbury Shaker Village, located at 288 Shaker Road in Canterbury, New Hampshire, is open daily in 2014 from May 26-October 19 and weekends in May and November. For more information, visit www.shakers.org.
Sanborn Mills Farm is a traditional New Hampshire working farm with agricultural fields and managed forests, timber-framed barns and outbuildings still in use for animals, and a sawmill, a grist mill (both water-powered), and a blacksmith shop, all dating from the 1830s. The farm buildings are clustered around two dams at the outlet of Sanborn Pond, and are surrounded by almost 2,000 acres of open space in conservation.
A century and more ago, Sanborn Mills Farm was a bustling, thriving center of agricultural activities that supported an extended family and served the community. Today it has gathered a group of instructors, farmers, craftspeople and historians dedicated to teaching the traditional skills that were commonplace then. It provides opportunities for people to learn old-fashioned ways and explore how they can be integrated into modern life with the belief that these skills and a vital connection to the land continue to be important and relevant. For more information, visit www.sanbornmills.org.
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