Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill announced that a former Illinois preservationist has been appointed president and CEO of the historic site near Harrodsburg, effective immediately.
Maynard Crossland, 56, previously led the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, a state agency that oversaw 60 historic sites throughout Illinois, including Lincoln's New Salem and Lincoln Log Cabin. Crossland also oversaw the opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and multimillion-dollar fund-raising campaign, according to the news release announcing his appointment.
He most recently ran his own consulting firm specializing in helping local communities use their historic resources for economic development.
Crossland succeeded Madge Adams, who retired from Shaker Village this summer.
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Shaker Village, a non-profit National Historic Landmark, preserves the 34 original buildings inhabited by the Christian religious sect from 1806 to 1910. The non-profit is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The village was restored and reopened in 1968.
Crossland and his wife, Gail, will be settling in, he hopes, by the end of the month.
"Shaker Village is not only an important part of Kentucky history, it is also a vital component to the story of America," Crossland said in a statement. "Together with the board of trustees, I look forward to growing the programs and services at Shaker Village and expanding our opportunities to share the Shaker story."
Chairman Jim Kenan said the board liked Crossland's "pragmatic, businesslike approach to historic sites."
Crossland said Monday that he as excited about the opportunity to update Shaker Village but recognized what it does best is preserve bucolic charm.
"It's a wonderful place to work, quite frankly," he said. "Where else can I look out of my office and see a cow looking back?"
He said he hopes to find ways to re-energize the historic experience there. He wants to find ways for more people to use the natural areas through horseback and bike trail riding.
And with the Shakers' agricultural history, bringing more sustainably grown, locally produced foods into the site's restaurant seems natural, he said.
"We need to make it engaging, so your visit to Shaker Village isn't the same as the last time you came. How do we refresh it?" Crossland said. "It needs to be more engaging for younger visitors, for instance."