Visitor Center Gallery Exhibit
Make No Little Plans: The Origins of Old Sturbridge Village
On view now in the Visitor Center.
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood... Make big plans; aim high in hope and work..."
-- Daniel Hudson Burnham, Chicago Architect on his advice to A. B. Wells on creating Old Sturbridge Village
Continuing to explore the founding of Old Sturbridge Village begun with last year's exhibit, “Kindred Spirits,” this exhibit celebrates the 70th anniversary of the opening of Old Sturbridge Village on June 8, 1946. The exhibit examines the roles played by key members of the Wells family and select associates. Principal characters include Albert B., J. Cheney, George B., and Ruth D. Wells, along with George Watson, the man behind moving the first buildings to the Village, and antiquarian Nina Fletcher Little, hired by Cheney Wells to coordinate decoration of the Towne house. Early curators Malcolm Watkins and Frank Spinney will also receive some mention. Reserving a broader retrospective of the museum’s history for its 75th anniversary in 2021, this exhibit will focus on the initial assembly of the Village and its first decade of operation.
Pictured at right is a Painted Chest featured in the exhibit, from central Connecticut about 1820. A.B. Wells loved to collect unusual, everyday objects he called "oddities." He bought this boldly painted six-board chest in 1936 from Horace Porter, a former egg peddler who became one of Wells' favorite sources for all kinds of antiques.