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Book cover for Shaker Made by Carol Peachee. Image is of a wooden spiral staircase looking down from above.

Shaker Made: Inside Pleasant Hill’s Shaker Village

Date: August 20, 2024
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Filson Historical Society (In-Person and Zoom Options)

Although there are currently only a handful of members of the Shaker faith and one active community in the world today, Shakerism at its peak comprised thousands of members living in communal villages across the eastern United States. Kentucky’s iconic Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill was one of these communities, and it remains an enduring cultural touchstone. The history of the Shakers is often reduced to the handmade objects they produced and sold, but their lives were so much more than their material culture. Their efforts were suffused with their religious beliefs: each piece’s sturdy simplicity memorializes the Believers’ devotion to God and how it guided their every action.

Shaker Made is photographer Carol Peachee’s love letter to the cultural artifacts—the architecture, furniture, and crafts—of one of America’s most notable utopian societies. Peachee has photographed Pleasant Hill for more than four decades—from small items such as eyeglasses, embroidered handkerchiefs, elixir bottles, and bonnets, to the distinguished furniture and architecture of the more than 260 buildings that the Shakers built at Pleasant Hill. The attention to detail in the simple yet beautifully composed photographs serve as an elegant and respectful tribute to the history and legacy of the Pleasant Hill Shakers—an often-misunderstood people who sought to honor the divine in all aspects of life.

Carol Peachee is a fine art photographer and psychotherapist whose photographic work explores cultural and natural heritage. She was awarded the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation’s Clay Lancaster Heritage Education Award, a Governor’s Award for Innovative Programming, and an Art Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Her books, Kentucky Barns: Agricultural Heritage of the Bluegrass, The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries, and Straight Bourbon: Distilling the Industry’s Heritage, are the recipients of multiple IPPY and Foreword INDIES awards. Her photographs have also appeared in Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide and LensWork Publishing: Trilogies 2022.