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Take a step back in time and visit Old Sturbridge Village

Destination New England

(Mass Appeal) – Old Sturbridge Village, the largest outdoor history Museum in the Northeast, is a living museum and learning resource of New England Life. With lots of interactive experiences for children and history buffs alike, your visit there will be a memorable one.

Old Sturbridge Village is a recreated early 19th century village showing basically everyday life and what it would have been like in an agricultural village out in the New England countryside. When you walk around the museum, you’ll see interpreters wearing authentic 1830s clothing, appropriate heritage breed animals throughout the museum, all sorts of trades being recreated, all sorts of historic households with cooking going on, and other demonstrations. You can expect to see a little bit of a snippet of what you would experience in your everyday life in the 1830s.

“I think when people visit the museum, they’ll be surprised at how lively the museum looks. Because so many people are now working outside of their exhibits, so previously when you came to the museum, although we might have had million things going on, a lot of people were inside the buildings, so you couldn’t necessarily see them. Now when you walk on to the common of the museum, you can see people doing all sorts of different chores and work and just kind of going about their day.”

Derek Heidemann, Coordinator of Historic Trades & Assistant Director of Staff Development, Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village has gotten creative during the pandemic, and thought of ways to continue to make the experience impactful.

“All the trade shops are open to the public, so you’ll see the blacksmith and the potter – they are still working inside of their space, but you’ll be able to view from the outside. And in cases where you don’t get the best visibility like our tin shop and to some extent are pottery shop where don’t get the best visibility to view the demonstrations, we’ve actually taken things outside so our tin shop is now happening outside, so all the tinning is all out there under a tent so people can see much better what’s going on. We’re doing kids free for July but we have all sorts of activities for little kids, of course they love the animals, they love going around on the carry-all drawn by the horses – but we also have a lot of you know, serious historical discussion as well for adults who want to engage in that type of opportunity. But there are also other opportunities; a lot of our visitors coming back now that we’ve reopened have purely been coming because they just want to wander our beautiful grounds that we’ve been taking care of throughout the shutdown. Everyone has their own thing they’re here for as well, right, so a lot of people come to see how people cooked in the time period, or you know what types of clothing people wore – that sort of thing, so people come for all different reasons but I would say animals and in the grounds are probably the most common thing people come for – and the history, of course – that’s what we’re all about!”

Derek Heidemann, Coordinator of Historic Trades & Assistant Director of Staff Development, Old Sturbridge Village

And speaking of clothes…

“I’m just wearing some typical clothing for a tradesman… it looks very fancy to us nowadays; the standards of dress are very, very different in the 19th century and even though it’s July and it’s very hot, you’re still expected, as a man, to be wearing you know, your hat and your jacket and all that sort of thing. So you would change the type of clothing you were wearing much like we do nowadays to the seasons, so the difference is in the winter time, I’m wearing a very heavy coat and maybe like a wool cap or something like that and the summertime, I’ve got a nice, lightweight linen jacket but everything is cut the same but all looks the same. It’s just, you know, as a man walking out in society, going out without a jacket on the summertime was not really all too proper, so you’d still try to wear all those layers to look to – you know – like you have pride in your appearance. You’ll see the same thing with ladies’ costumes as well.”

Derek Heidemann, Coordinator of Historic Trades & Assistant Director of Staff Development, Old Sturbridge Village

Besides having a great time, there are a few things to keep in mind when you visit.

“So the main thing you need to know is first off you need to bring a mask with you ‘cause everyone’s required to wear them. But you also need to reserve your ticket. So at this point, we’re only allowing about a thousand people in a day so you need to reserve for one of three time slots throughout the day and that way you can guarantee that when you come in, we’re not going to be overwhelmed with visitors, you’ll get through much quicker and just guarantee you have a better experience,” said Heiderman.

From walking around the beautiful grounds to having good conversation with people, there’s a lot to learn at Old Sturbridge Village. And of course, there’s food available to all guests!

Destination New England

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