It’s springtime and the Village’s gardens and nature walks are coming to life again. Leaves are budding on the trees, and there are babies on the farm. Our hands-on workshops this month will give participants a chance to draw inspiration from nature and get their hands dirty.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Times: The Village is open from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm; Workshop times vary, see below for details.

Our February 3rd and 17th  Home School Days will explore a New England winter. Warm up by the fire as you cook a receipt over the open hearth, participate in winter chores, and learn about winter pastimes. In honor of Black History Month, some of the workshops and tours during this Home School Day will feature information about 19th-century African American figures in New England, from recipes to craft traditions.

Home School Days offer you and your family the opportunity to explore the Village and participate in activities. From games, to woodworking, to nature exploration, this is a great opportunity for kids to gain exposure to many aspects of 1830s New England life in an interactive way. Sign up for a workshop or explore the Village on your own using one of our many self-guides and scavenger hunts, available at both Museum Education and the Visitor Center.

Looking for workshops on February 17th? Click here!

Admission and Ticketing

On Home School Day, homeschoolers (ages 4-17) get in at the discounted rate $10 and one adult is admitted per home school youth at the discounted rate of $15. Additional adults above the 1 to 1 ratio are admitted at the full rate of $28. As always, members get into the Village for free.

Workshops are an additional fee; see below for details.

Click here to purchase standard daytime admission for February 3rd

Things to know:

Check back the week prior to the event for more information on in-Village activities.

Hands-On Workshops

Stories and Crafts: Ada Twist, Scientist | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 5+) SOLD OUT

Enjoy storytime with a classic picture book, then try out an activity relating to the tale.

After reading this delightful tale about the inquisitive and persistent Ada Twist, we’ll try out a few of our own STEM-based experiments. Along the way, we’ll talk about inventions and scientific discoveries during the Village’s time period.

Stories and Crafts: The Oldest Student | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 11:00 (Ages 5+)

Enjoy storytime with a classic picture book, then try out an activity relating to the tale.

We will read the story The Oldest Student: How Many Walker Learned to Read, about a formerly enslaved woman who learns that you’re never too old to learn something new. After the story, we’ll learn a little about education for Black and white kids in the 1830s, look at schoolbooks, and practice our penmanship with quill pens.

Stories and Crafts: Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 1:00 (Ages 5+) SOLD OUT

Enjoy storytime with a classic picture book, then try out an activity relating to the tale.

After reading the story Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament, a tale about the African American chef who invented the first potato chip in the 1850s, participants in this workshop will take a look at some period cookbooks. Then, we’ll sew our own cookbooks and get them started with one of the Village’s best receipts.

Make a Tin Quilt Square | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 8+)
Register for 11:00 (Ages 10+)
Register for 1:00 (Ages 8+)

After looking at quilts and tin items from the Village’s collection, we’ll combine these two art forms and get creative by making our own punched tin quilt square.

Working with Clay | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 6+) SOLD OUT
Register for 11:00 (Ages 8+)
Register for 1:00 (Ages 6+) SOLD OUT

Even though pottery is made from something as simple as clay, the soft clay goes through a chemical transformation to become something you can eat or drink from. Together, we’ll read the story Dave the Potter, about an enslaved man who was also a gifted artisan. We will learn about pottery in the 1830s, as well as the science behind its transformation and the mechanics of a potter’s wheel. Then, hand-shape a piece of pottery to bring home using air-dry clay.

Hearth Cooking: Malinda Russell’s Washington Cake | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 6+) SOLD OUT
Register for 11:00 (Ages 8+) SOLD OUT
Register for 1:00 (Ages 6+) SOLD OUT

Follow a 19th-century “receipt” for Washington Cake from A Domestic Cookbook (1866) by Malinda Russell, one of the first Black cookbook authors. While the cake bakes, we’ll take a look at some receipts by other 19th-century Black chefs and writers. Ingredients will include: flour, sugar, eggs, lemon, butter, buttermilk

Printing and Paper Marbling | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 10+)
Register for 11:00 (Ages 6+) SOLD OUT
Register for 1:00 (Ages 8+)

Learn about the printing trade in the 1830s. Activities include making your own unique piece of marbled paper, using a printing press, and writing with a quill pen. Participants will also hear the story of David Ruggles, printer and proprietor of the country’s first Black-owned bookstore in 1834, and learn more about how the printing press helped the abolitionist cause.

Basic Woodworking: Make a Suet Bird Feeder | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 8+) SOLD OUT
Register for 11:00 (Ages 8+)

Using hand tools, make a simple wood project to feed the birds in your neighborhood during the cold winter months!

Fence Building | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 6+) SOLD OUT
Register for 11:00 (Ages 8+)
Register for 1:00 (Ages 8+)

Winter on the farm means preparing wood and repairing fences. We will flex our muscles and work to put together a fence, auger holes, and split wood. While working, we will highlight all the simple machines we have utilized. After all that hard work, we’ll make a seed packet to take home for spring planting.

What Makes a House? | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 8+)
Register for 11:00 (Ages 10+)
Register for 1:00 (Ages 6+)

Participants in this workshop will learn about the different types of houses people lived in in the 19th century. What did they look like, and how were they built? Why did they look the way they did, and how did they function? How did they decorate them, and what are those cool architectural features called? After, older students will participate in a design challenge to build houses for different purposes and climates; younger students will decorate wooden houses to bring home.

Ceramics & Archaeology | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 8+) SOLD OUT
Register for 11:00 (Ages 6+)
Register for 1:00 (Ages 10+)

Ceramic fragments can be a very useful artifact to archaeologists. During this workshop, we will learn about why that is, and examine the life of a formerly enslaved woman named Lucy Foster, who left behind many ceramics at the site of her home in Andover, Massachusetts. We will also create our own painted plates and mugs, inspired by Lucy’s pottery.

Soup Season! Gourd Soup and Biscuits | 90 Minutes | $10

Register for 10:00 (Ages 10+)

Follow a 19th-century “receipt” for gourd soup, a tasty, seasonal soup made from squash. Participants will make biscuits to enjoy along with the soup. Ingredients will include: squash, butter, onions, vegetable broth, bread, flour, salt

Voices from the Past: Slavery and Abolition in New England | 90 Minutes | $10

Register for 10:00 (Ages 10+)

During the first half of the 19th century, enslavement was a crucial part of the overall economy of the United States, including in the North. In spite of the efforts of abolitionists, enslavement existed in some form in parts of New England until the 1840s or later. In this lesson, students will examine the wide range of mixed attitudes found in antebellum Central New England. Participants will work together to create a timeline of important dates related to slavery and abolition, as well as learn about the lives of real people who persevered within the system of slavery and against racism, and those who abolished it.

Sewing project: Make a Housewife (Hussif) | 90 Minutes | $10

Register for 1:00 (Ages 11+) SOLD OUT

Flex your sewing skills to create this housewife, a compact and useful sewing case pieced together from colorful fabric scraps. The inside features space for your needles, thread, and thimbles.

Make My Museum: What Do Objects Tell Us? | 90 Minutes | $10

Register for 10:00 (Ages 8+)
Register for 1:00 (Ages 10+)

Old Sturbridge Village collects a wide array of objects from the 1790s through the 1840s, all which help to tell us more about life during this time in New England. What do your objects tell about you and your life? Participants in this workshop will bring in an object that is meaningful to them and then walk through an object study exercise. What can we learn about other people through objects, and what parts of the story might be missing? We’ll also make our own wooden ruler to help with our object study. (Please note: Participants should bring in a personal item that they don’t mind sharing with the group!)

From Sheep to Cloth | 90 Minutes | $10

Register for 11:00 (Ages 8+) SOLD OUT

During this workshop, students will learn how wool is processed from beginning to end. Together, we will follow a scavenger hunt around the Village as we walk through the textile-making process, from the sheep on the farm; to the Fenno House, where wool is spun, dyed, and woven; to the Asa Knight Store, where people could buy already-processed wool fabrics. At the end of the workshop, we will return to Museum Education for a weaving activity. Meets at Museum Education!

Photography Scavenger Hunt | 90 Minutes | $10

Register for 11:00 (Ages 8+)

The Village is a very photogenic spot! Participants in this workshop will learn some basic photography tips while participating in a fun scavenger hunt around the Museum and examining historic photos of Old Sturbridge Village. Please bring a smartphone or digital camera to work with during this session. Meets at Museum Education!

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