Resources for Before You Visit on a Field Trip

Teacher/Chaperone Guide

Please share this guide with all teachers and chaperones attending the field trip.

Please also share this video with chaperones and kids:


Visit Guides, Curriculum Matches, and Pre-Visit Materials for Civics-Based Programs

Self-Guided Visit Materials

Self-Guided Materials

With the Explore option, 3rd–8th grade groups have the option to use our themed self-guided activity sheets to explore the Village.

Suggested Self-Guided Tour Routes 

Make History – Making It

Make History – Cooking and Eating

Make History – Amazing Agriculture

Indigenous Guide

Self-Guided Activities

Pre- and Post- Visit Worksheet

Town Meeting Resources (for Before Your Visit)

Below are downloadable tools to support your group’s participation in Town Meeting. Educators are strongly encouraged to use these materials in advance of your program.

Pre- and Post- Visit Materials

19th-Century Town Government Brief

Historical Background on the Poor and Poor Relief in Early 19th-Century New England

What to Expect for Town Meeting: Poor Relief in the 1830s

Abolition and Social Change in 19th-Century New England Resources (for Before Your Visit)

Below are downloadable tools to support your group’s participation in the Abolition and Social Change in 19th-Century New England program. Educators are strongly encouraged to use these materials in advance of your program.

What to Expect for Abolition and Social Change in 19th-Century New England

Pre-Visit Lesson

Learning Station Worksheets

Post-Visit Lesson: Music

Post-Visit Lesson: Poem

Music and Anti-Slavery Resources for Post-Visit Lesson

Optional Additional Lesson Bios

Curriculum Matches

Students at all levels can access and enjoy the benefits of a field trip at Old Sturbridge Village through hands-on interaction, primary sources, and group discussion/reflection.

Review how field trips at OSV match up with specific curriculum standards:

Common Core Standards

Massachusetts Science and Technology

Massachusetts Social Studies

Connecticut Social Studies

Autism Spectrum Resources

Please feel free to utilize this know before you go guide, social story, visual schedule, and therapeutic self-guide for your visit. Created for visitors on the autism spectrum or those sensitive to stimulation, these resources will help to guide your trek around the Village, as well as prepare for a field trip or family visit. Please contact Museum Education with any questions by emailing [email protected] or calling (508) 347-0287.

Know Before You Go Guide

Visual Schedule For Families

Old Sturbridge Village Social Story

Accessibility Self-Guide

Hands-On Workshop Descriptions


Grades: K-12

During this workshop, students work together to make a sweet treat over an open hearth. Led by a museum educator, students make a snack using 19th-century recipes (or receipts, as they were known in the 1830s). Participants read and interpret the recipe, measure ingredients, and get hands-on cooking experience. While the snack is cooking, educators orient students to 19th-century foodways and compare and contrast with their lives today.

Depending on the season, topics may include:

Ingredients used in this workshop include: flour, butter, sugar, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon juice

Recipes may vary based on the season (for example, apples during the fall, maple in the spring)

*Please note: Our kitchens are not allergen-free. This workshop is not recommended for groups with many food allergies or restrictions.


Grades: 2-12

Participants in the textile workshop walk through the steps of wool processing, from the shearing of sheep to weaving fabric. The 1830s were a time of great technological and industrial change in America. Even in Sturbridge, where sheep outnumbered people, several textile factories popped up along the rivers to speed up the textile making process. Museum educators instruct students in several hands-on tasks–carding wool, trying out a spinning wheel, and weaving on a loom–while discussing the transition of homespun goods to textile factories during the Industrial Revolution.

Other topics may include:

Farm and Garden

Grades: K-8

For many people, daily life in rural New England rotated around the farmer’s year. In an area like Sturbridge, most families had at least a small farm or garden. Participants in this workshop will try out several agriculture or horticulture activities related to the farmer’s year. During the spring, students work with historic gardening tools in raised beds, plant seeds to take home, and work together to assemble a model split-rail fence, among other activities. In the fall, explore two important tasks for harvest season: converting apples to cider, and processing dried corn into cornmeal.

Other topics may include:


Grades: K-12

In the 1830s, printers held a very important role in their communities. Printing books, newspapers, invitations, and broadsides, printers played a vital role in the communication of information during the 19th century. In this workshop, participants will explore the printing through few hands-on activities related to the printed word. Museum educators guide students through paper marbling, quill pen writing, and using a printing press. Younger students may use slates for writing and block prints for printing.

Other topics may include:


Grades: 4-12 

In the woodworking workshop, students explore two different activities to learn more about woodworking trades in the 1830s. In one activity, participants use their measuring and spatial skills, as well as period hand tools, to create a small wood project to take home with them. In the second activity, the group works together to follow a plan to assemble a small timberframe structure while learning about the many different types of woodworking that were part of everyday life in the 1800s.

Other topics may include:


Grades: K-4

Life for children in the 1830s wasn’t all chores and hard work. Children still had time to play, often making use of homemade toys and games. Participants in this workshop explore games and toys from the 1800s before making their own toy to bring home. Younger participants sand and paint small wooden houses, based on toys in OSV’s collection; and older students make a 9-Men’s Morris board and learn how to play this ancient game of strategy. The session ends with outdoor play, weather permitting.

Other topics may include:


3D Tours, Virtual Resources, and other Class/Home Activities

3D Tours

If you can’t visit Old Sturbridge Village in person, explore several of the Village’s buildings in this new 3D tour! Even if you have visited OSV many times before, this tour will allow virtual visitors to get up close to artifacts that are usually tucked behind barriers. Catalog the items in the Asa Knight Store, examine the pottery on the shelves in the pottery shop, and see what new discoveries you can make in the Freeman Farmhouse!

Throughout the tour, pins will allow you to look closer or learn new information. There are also new videos with some of the Village’s knowledgeable costumed historians to bring life to the spaces.

Check out our 3D tours here.

Lesson Plans for 3D Tours

These lesson plans, hands-on activities, and primary sources will enhance the 3D tour experience for your students!

Each lesson plan includes a worksheet PDF, which you can download below. To make it easier for remote learners, we have also created a Google Classroom with fillable documents that educators can download and assign to their students.

See currently available lesson plans and more here.

Hands-On Crafts, Writing Prompts, & More

Get busy with projects inspired by the village! Download instructions by clicking the links below:

e-Civics | Free Virtual Education Programs for Kids

School classes and home school groups are invited to join us for self-paced, interactive e-civics social studies programs from the comfort of home! Our e-Civics programs are an opportunity to test out some great classroom resources that meet many of the latest social studies standards for grades 5 and 8-12 in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Click here to learn more.


Additional Resources

Click here for additional primary source documents, articles, and papers.

A school age boy watching the potter at work

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