No visit to Sturbridge is complete without a stop at the region’s most famous attraction, Old Sturbridge Village. This unique museum is a recreation of an 1830s rural New England town with 200+ acres and 40 historical buildings that has been operating for 77 years.
We spoke with the Director of Communications and Content, Christine Freitas, about the Old Sturbridge Village experience and what exciting things are coming up in the future.
Q: What is Old Sturbridge Village’s mission?
A: Plainly put, Old Sturbridge Village’s mission is Old Sturbridge Village, a museum and learning resource of New England life, which invites each visitor to find meaning, pleasure, relevance, and inspiration through the exploration of history.
Q: What can visitors expect when they visit OSV?
A: Old Sturbridge Village celebrates the people who lived in rural New England in the formative, first decades of our new nation – the United States of America. The Village provides an authentic, first-hand look at the often challenging and rapidly changing textures and rhythms of New England life in what were transformative years – 1790 to 1840.
Illustrating a period in America largely driven by agriculture, industry, family and the seasons, the Village invites guests to meet those who faced the trials and triumphs of everyday life, and worked together to survive and prosper in the rural New England towns and countryside they called home.
Unlike traditional history museums, Old Sturbridge Village encourages guests to put their hands on history—to see, hear, feel, smell, taste, experience and fully immerse themselves in our nation’s past.
From individual interactions with expert costumed historians, farmers, artisans and performers to trying their hands at farming, trades and domestic chores, guests make their own history at the Village every day. Through storytelling, theatrical experiences, hands-on demonstrations and participatory learning, young and old alike are inspired by the early Republic.
The Village uses its historic buildings and landscapes, expansive collections, and programs in agriculture, horticulture, households and trades to produce innovative, immersive and engaging exhibitions, interpretations, educational offerings and public events. As a result, we will continue to transform museum learning for 21st-century families and students.
The 200-acre campus also provides guests with endless opportunities to enjoy the cycle of the seasons. From nature trails and engaging play spaces to the Quinebaug River and the gardens, farms and fields, the grounds are a great place to meet up, relax, explore or simply have fun in the great outdoors.
To enhance every guest’s experience, Old Sturbridge Village is committed to:
- Providing excellence in guest and hospitality services.
- Infusing historical context and quality into its culinary offerings, museum stores, inns and lodges.
- Recruiting and training a talented, diverse team of staff, interns and volunteers.
- Ensuring the museum campus is sustainable, safe and accessible to all.
- Continuously listening, learning and evolving our visitor experience to exceed and anticipate the needs of our guests.
- By truly making history dynamic, dimensional, immersive, hospitable and inclusive, Old Sturbridge Village makes America’s past exciting, relevant and inspiring for today’s families, students and individual visitors – ensuring that our nation’s vibrant history continues to inform and enrich modern society.
Q: Is there anything exciting coming up in the future?
A: Old Sturbridge Village hosts a variety of daytime themes each year, which makes for a different experience each time you visit. One might see planting and sheep with their newly born lambs in the spring, see farmers haying and women wool dyeing in the summer, or harvest and tool making in the fall and winter. Aside from craft, trades, foodways, household, and costume theme changing by season, Old Sturbridge Village offers special events that go beyond our mission and allow folks to experience the Village in a whole new way. Red Coats and Rebels, a revolutionary war reenactment takes place each August, in October we celebrate Halloween with Phantoms by Firelight which features performances, haunted history, and a spooky landscape in the Village at night, and Christmas by Candlelight is a longtime tradition that families from all over travel to enjoy the Village lit by candlelight and celebrate the origins of holiday traditions.
Q: What does being a part of the Sturbridge community mean to you?
A: Old Sturbridge Village is proud to be an attraction that works with other members and businesses in the community to bring visitors in to enjoy all that Central MA has to offer. We work with the Sturbridge Tourism Association, Discover Central MA, and the local chambers of commerce to represent the community in all that we do.
Old Sturbridge Villages encourages people to come explore the Village each season, interact with their costumed historians, try a craft hands-on, visit the farm animals, or enjoy the beautiful landscape. There is always More to Explore! Click here to learn more.