PRESERVATION WITH PROGRESS
South Union Shaker Village has been in the business of historic preservation for over fifty years. The goal of preservation is not simply for visual effect. It has a greater purpose. There are stories to be told about the people who inhabited this place. Those stories, recounted within the spaces where they actually happened, create visitor experiences that have a far greater impact than the most meticulously restored buildings. Please help us continue to preserve for the sake of education. There is still so much to learn.
Over the past five decades, South Union Shaker Village has been recognized on a national level for its exemplary historic preservation efforts. While we take pride in those accomplishments, we know that a meticulously restored structure is only where the learning process begins. Preservation is a key component to our educational mission, but its importance lies in both careful restoration and in the stories of the individuals who occupied this place.
Progress is being made every day at South Union Shaker Village toward a better understanding of the Shakers who lived here. A stronger grasp of the region in which their village thrived. A broader comprehension of the nation that allowed groups like the Shakers to exist. Preservation without that kind of progress can be, simply, an empty building.
Take a look at how we progressed in 2022, through continued restoration of our historic structures, innovative educational programming, and a concerted effort to collect objects from South Union’s past. Please help us continue to preserve South Union Shaker Village with a donation today.
Please support South Union Shaker Village by contributing toward our Preservation with Progress Campaign for the 2023 season.
Contributions may be made by check or credit card. You may donate online by clicking the button above. Setting up monthly payments is also an option! Give us a call at: 270-542-4167.
Donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000.00, thanks to the generosity of the SUSV Advisory Committee and Board of Directors!
PRESERVING ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE
Restoration by the Details, a meticulous assessment of each room in the 1824 Centre House continued, completing three more spaces with plaster and flooring repair, replication of missing trim, removal of 1930s conduit and wooden elements, and waxing all painted surfaces. The project is funded by Jack and Betty Kesler.
Thanks to a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the porch over the Sisters’ entrance on the west side of the Centre House was re-created. Using physical evidence and historic photographs, the project incorporated both original chamfered poplar posts that had been saved and stored since the original porch was torn away in the early 1970s.
The 1854 Wash House project made strides in 2022. Architectural plans are now in place for adaptive re-use and restoration of the building. The decision was made to construct an addition to the north elevation of the structure, space that will include utility mechanicals, restrooms, elevators, and an accessible entrance. This leaves the original building to be restored to its 1854 interior appearance, with the addition of climate control and lighting.
PRESERVING HISTORY THROUGH EDUCATION
USV produced a weekly segment, “Furniture Friday,” for Facebook and Instagram, highlighting objects from the museum collection. Sally Rogers, who produced the video series, received a Kentucky History Award from the Kentucky Historical Society for her creative efforts. “Furniture Friday” was sponsored during its final year of 2022 by Case Auctions.
Jerri Tarpley was recognized in November 2022, receiving SUSV’s annual Deedy Hall Volunteer of the Year award. Jerri has volunteered her time and talent to the museum for many years and continues to be a vital part of what we do
An exhibit entitled, “A Passion to Preserve: Deedy Hall and the South Union Shakers” opened in May 2022, chronicling the journey of our museum’s founder from early childhood memories of the Shakers to her insatiable drive to preserve South Union’s legacy.
South Union Shaker history was interpreted well beyond the confines of our historic site in 2022, with presentations given at the Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum, NSCDA’s Kentucky Culture Symposium, Enfield Shaker Village, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill for the Decorative Arts Trust, the Kentucky History and Genealogy Conference, WKU’s Society for Lifelong Learning, the Louisville Genealogy Society, and the SOKY Genealogy Society.
PRESERVING MATERIAL SOUTH UNION'S MATERIAL CULTURE
The museum acquired a two-door walnut cupboard, ca. 1840, that was originally purchased in 1959 by Ralph Jordan from the estate of Carrie Young. Mrs. Young and her husband Ben had purchased the South Union Hotel building in 1922 when the village closed. At that same auction, the Youngs bought the cupboard. In 2022, the cupboard was purchased by the museum with a gift from Dennis Newberry, in memory of Thelma Newberry.
A hand-crafted wooden shovel, ca. 1870, with initials “J. R.” incised in the bowl, was acquired by the museum in 2022. When Oscar Bond purchased the former Shaker village of South Union in 1922, he found this shovel on site, amongst many other things left by the Shakers. The shovel was donated to the museum by Ron Deiss, who had been gifted it by Bond’s son-in-law.
Jack and Betty Kesler, well-known antiques dealers in Kentucky, decided to close their business in 2022 and donated to SUSV their remaining inventory. Much of this collection was sold during our Holiday Market in December, the funds from which are designated to purchase South Union objects when they become available.
Thanks to the generosity of Kenneth Hatcher, a portion of South Union’s mid-19th century library is being recreated. An existing manuscript list of titles that represents part of the Shakers’ larger library is the catalyst for this project. Mr. Hatcher has discovered and donated 24 volumes, many of them first editions, and continues to search for the remaining titles.