Old Sturbridge Village is one of the country’s oldest and largest living history museums, depicting early New England life from 1790-1840 with historians in costume, antique buildings, water-powered mills, and a working farm. Visitors can view antiques, meet heritage breed animals, and enjoy hands-on crafts. The Village is open year-round, with hours changing seasonally.
My husband and I recently went to see OSV’s Christmas by Candlelight on a (very) rare date night with friends. Though we went without children, there were many families there that night, all enjoying the magical feel of Christmas in early New England times. We listened to a hand bell choir, learned a traditional line dance, sang along with a Victorian caroling quartet, watched a drum and fife show, sampled fruit cake, watched two women making marzipan and sang Christmas carols along with a man playing the psaltery, a medieval instrument similar to a dulcimer, but played by plucking the strings with the fingers. The night was absolutely magical, and I can’t wait to bring our kids next year. We visited OSV with them during the summer, and they loved every part of experiencing history firsthand.
Don’t let the winter deter you! Throughout the whole month of January, kids under 17 can enjoy free admission! There are several things of note coming up this month, including a day on January 16 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) to honor civil rights leaders and the 18th & 19th century abolitionist movement. On the weekend of January 28 and 29, OSV is holding their Fire and Ice weekend, a weekend to embrace the joys of an old-fashioned winter, complete with ice skating, sledding on vintage 1830s sleds, and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
There aren’t many places that can mix fun with history. Children do learn by doing, and that is central to OSV’s mission. Bundle up the family and head on over! Admission fees, times and a schedule of events can be found at http://www.osv.org/.