Old Sturbridge Village

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Old Sturbridge Village

A trip to Old Sturbridge Village, the largest outdoor history museum in the Northeast, is a journey through time to a rural New England town of the 1830s. Visitors are invited into more than 40 original buildings, each carefully researched, restored, and brought to the museum site from towns throughout New England. These include homes, meetinghouses, a district school, country store, bank, law office, printing office, carding mill, sawmill, gristmill, pottery, blacksmith shop, shoe shop, and cooper shop.

Authentically costumed staff, called history interpreters, carry out the daily activities of an early 19th-century community. Here you may wander country roads and visit with a farmer plowing fields, listen to the blacksmith's rhythmic hammering, or smell the aroma of bread baking in a fireplace oven. With four unique seasons and more than 200 acres to explore, there is always something new to see at Old Sturbridge Village.

The period portrayed by Old Sturbridge Village, 1790-1840, is of major significance because it was a time in which the everyday lives of New Englanders were transformed by the rise of commerce and manufacturing, improvements in agriculture and transportation, the pulls of emigration and urbanization, and the tides of educational, political, aesthetic, and social change.

The Village's portrayal of the past is grounded in award-winning historical research that includes archaeology, scientific analysis of 19th-century objects and buildings, and painstaking study of letters, diaries, account books, and other documents.


Museum Purpose

Old Sturbridge Village's purpose is to provide modern Americans with a deepened understanding of their own times through a personal encounter with New England's past.

The museum is a nonprofit educational institution. Its collections, exhibits, and programs present the story of everyday life in a small New England town during the years 1790 to 1840.


Museum History

Old Sturbridge Village traces its beginnings to the remarkable collection amassed by industrialists Albert B. and J. Cheney Wells of neighboring Southbridge. The Wells family brought together a wealth of early New England artifacts, including tools, utensils, furniture, glassware, and clocks. The family later dedicated itself to the idea of displaying the collections within a working village, where visitors could better understand how the items were originally crafted and used.

Old Sturbridge Village first opened to the public on June 8, 1946. In the more than 60 years since, more than 21 million adults and children have visited the Village, and the museum has attained international recognition for its innovations in research and education.