Leave today behind and begin an unforgettable journey through 19th-century New England, Enter a special place, where America's heritage comes alive in the crafts, ideas and way of life that shaped a young nation - and helped reshape the world.
Only A Few Hundred Yards - and more than 160 years - from Route 20 in modern Sturbridge, Mass., Old Sturbridge Village takes a half-milion visitors a year on a journey into America's past. Stone walls and wooden fences, a covered bridge and award-winning gardens are all part of this adventure in history.
This Living History Museum,recreates New England life in the 1830's by way of presentations from authentically dressed interpreters, informative exhibits daily demonstrations of early-American craftsmanship, and a wide range of special events.
Built around a center village of homes and shops and and adjoining rural countryside -- including a working farm and neighboring mills -- the Village exhibits the past in more than 200 acres of field and forest, using back-bred livestock and antique-cultivar apples, practicing 19th-century shoemaking and historical house-keeping.
Special visitors adding color to the Village landscape on occasion include such 19th-century celebrities as orator Daniel Webster, showman P.T. Barnum, magician Richard Potter, and Lydia Maria Child,one of the young nations's foremost advice book writers.
Exhibits of New England glass, firearms, lighting devices, and clocks complement the working exhibits and homesteads. Seasonal demonstrations include broom and basket making, wool dyeing, maple sugaring, cider making, and spinning and weaving.
From the arrival of piglets and lambs every spring to the mowing contests of late summer, from the pomp and pageantry of Independence Day celebrations to the militia musters around the Village common, the museum documents times of profound change in which New Englanders helped forge national discussions of religion, the economy, the changing face of education, and such controversial issues as temperance and slavery.
No longer colonists, Americans of the 1830's were in the process of defining themselves - and their new democracy. although they didn't shun their roots, New Englanders frequently set down new ones, as they dealt with the forces that drew their attention toward the rest of the world - and drew many of their neighbors westward.