Renovation project at Hancock Shaker Village is progressing

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One of the exhibits in the Hancock Shaker Village Visitor Center. On Thursday September 22nd it was announced that the center would be renovated. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

Pittsfield and Hancock — At a press conference on Thursday, September 22, officials from the Hancock Shaker Village announced plans to refurbish its visitor center.

The Visitor Center is located at the western entrance to the 750-acre site and serves as the primary public entrance. It includes several buildings including a café, offices and an exhibition area.

According to a press release from organization representative Carolyn McDaniel, the new visitor center will include open storage for Shaker artifacts, a vault, a library and reading room, along with several other improvements to expand the program. The architectural firm chosen for the project is Boston-based TSKP x IKD.

From left: Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Former Director of Hancock Shaker Village, Nathaniel Silver, Current Director, Yogum Kim, Director of TSKP x IKD, and Company President Tomomi Itakura. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

Hancock Shaker Village Director Nathaniel Silver and Former Director Jennifer Trainer Thompson attended the press conference along with TSKP x IKD Director Yogum Kim and Company President Tomomi Itakura. “It has been a long and intense search for us to find a company to help us transform our visitor center to provide a transformative experience for visitors to the Hancock Shaker Village,” said Silver. “This renovation will allow us to give visitors the kind of introduction and background information about the village that they need and deserve. It will also allow us to enhance the parallel collections we have here and protect them for the future.”

Silver said that TSKP x IKD has extensive experience working with museums and cultural projects. “In many ways, this is a dream come true,” said Thompson. “This renovation will help provide an appropriate repository for our collection for the next 100 years. It will also make the visitor experience more welcoming and contemporary.”

Part of the Hancock Shaker Village Visitor Center where a press conference was held to announce a renovation project. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

“The historical collection here is unparalleled,” Itakura said. “We are simply honored to have this opportunity to present the collection in an inspiring and engaging way.”

Silver said there are “about 22,000 objects in it [their] Collection ranging from furniture to clothing to textiles.” Silver continued, “I am not only impressed by the variety of objects in our collection, but also by the incredible quality and preservation. We want to find ways to give visitors a comprehensive picture of the collection panorama in a way that does it justice.”

When asked if the project would involve disruption to village operations, Silver said that “there are no real plans for disruption at this time”. He said there was no set timeline for the project itself. However, in McDaniel’s press release, she wrote that construction on the project is scheduled to begin in fall 2023, with expected completion in summer or fall of 2024.

Silver said there is no set financial estimate of the total cost of the project, but the organization would need to apply for permits from Pittsfield as part of the construction process.

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