Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) with the pastel print and handcrafted basket made by the Shirley Shaker Village donated by Shirley Historical Society Museum in the Legislative Document Room at the State House.
BOSTON—Senator Eldridge (D-Acton) announced that he has chosen a print and basket to represent the Shirley Shaker Village from the Middlesex & Worcester District, in the Massachusetts State Senate display gallery, located in the newly-refurbished Senate Document Room. The items were borrowed from the Shirley Historical Society Museum with the assistance of Museum Curator Meredith Marcinkiewicz.
“The Shakers who lived in Shirley for over 100 years, led lives of gender equality and shared work, humbly living off the land and being industrious citizens, and leading a peaceful life in the service of others,” said Senator Eldridge, who now has represented the people of Shirley for almost thirteen years in the Massachusetts Legislature. “I am so pleased to showcase two historical Shirley Shaker Village artifacts that are great examples of what makes the Middlesex and Worcester district so special, and remind me of why I am so proud to represent the 14 communities in the district.”
“At one time there were nearly 20 Shaker villages across the eastern United States and the Shirley village existed from 1793 to 1908,” said Meredith Marcinkewicz, Curator of the Shirley Historical Society Museum. Shakers were known for their deep faith, their communal lifestyle, pacifism, and model of equality of the sexes. They are also known for their beautiful, simple, high-quality architecture, furniture, baskets, oval boxes, seeds, and music.”
The Senate Document Room, located on the fourth floor of the State House in Boston, is wired for video and audio, allowing any proceedings to be published online for greater transparency. Each senator has been invited to loan an object from their district, and the objects will be prominently displayed in a large glass display case at the front of the room. They will be regularly rotated so that each Senator will have the chance to display several over the course of the year.