Alfred Shaker Museum Essay Contest

Write On and Win!

The Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum (FASM) announce our eleventh essay contest for students in Grades 7 & 8. Two prizes of $125 and $75 will be awarded at the discretion of the judges.


Choose one topic from the list below. The essay should be 1,000-1,200 words and qualify as non-fiction. References should be sourced scrupulously at the end of the paper. Pictures may be included, but photos or artwork from the internet must be used only with permission from the webmaster. A paper submitted must “stand by itself” — that is, without the photos or art. If possible, plese submit your essay in Microsoft Word format, with one-inch margins and 12-point Times Roman font.

On the cover sheet, list your name, address, phone number, and email address (if any), your school’s name (or state where home schooled), grade level, and title.

Submit entries at our website at, by March 10, 2022 at 5 p.m. All papers become the property of FASM; we will archive them and may publish them.

Winners will be announced in early or mid-April, and awards presented soon thereafter at a public event. Judges’ criteria include originality, creativity, content, range of sources, adherence to instructions, spelling, and grammar. You may use our museum’s library to research your topic — if you make an appointment to do so — by calling Mary Lee Dunn Maguire at 324-7088, or by emailing her at

Choose one of the following topics as your essay subject:

  • Profile one of these Alfred Shakers: Joseph Buzzell, Frank Libby, John Vance, Joseph Brackett, Henry Green, Mildred Barker, Harriet Coolbroth.
  • What is the legacy of Alfred’s Shaker community?
  • What is the Shaker contribution to the town of Alfred?
  • What caused the decline of the Shakers in Alfred and elsewhere?
  • What is the relationship between Alfred’s and Sabbathday Lake’s Shakers?
  • Dining with the Shakers
  • What does FASM’s mural or our Alfred Shaker history on video tell us?
  • How the Shakers earned a living in Alfred