A mom and kids in the Fitch Kitchen

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Times: The Village is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Workshop times vary.

Join us for one of two identical September Home School Days at Old Sturbridge Village. This month’s Home School Days will focus on the written word and storytelling. Many of the day’s workshops are related to reading, printing, and books. While you’re at it, enjoy a storytelling performance in the Village and learn a new tale!

Home School Days offer you and your family the opportunity to explore the Village and participate in hands-on activities. From games, to woodworking, to tending to the garden, this is a great opportunity for kids to gain exposure to many aspects of 1830s New England life in an interactive way. Both September Home School Days will offer the same workshops; in the interest of creating the most availability for the most people, please consider signing up for workshops on only one date.

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.

Admission and Ticketing

On Home School Day, homeschoolers (ages 4-17) get in at the discounted rate $12 and one adult is admitted per home school youth at the discounted rate of $17. Additional adults above the 1-to-1-ratio are admitted at the full rate of $30. As always, members get into the Village for free.

Workshops are an additional fee.

Click here to purchase standard daytime admission for September 14, 2023

Things to know:

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

Hands-On Workshops

Weave a Bookmark | 50 Minutes | $7

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

Participants will learn the basics of weaving on a loom, and then start weaving a small and useful bookmark to take home with them.

Playful Pastimes | 50 Minutes | $8

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

Children’s lives in the 1830s were a lot of work, but they still had time for fun. During this workshop, we will look at different types of toys and games that kids played in the 19th century, examine some game books and instructional manuals meant for children, and then paint our own yo-yo to take home.

Working in the Print Shop | 50 Minutes | $7

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

Learn about the printing trade in the 1830s. Activities include making your own unique piece of marbled paper, using a printing press, trying to set type, and writing with a quill pen.

Spreading the Word! | 50 Minutes | $7

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

There were many different ways of spreading information in the 1830s: some were new, and some were old. Students in this workshop will learn about two new forms of communication from the early 1800s, Braille and Morse Code. Then, we’ll talk about one not-so-new: broadsides. Broadsides were large flyers with bold type and strong images, hung on the walls of public buildings to promote anything from a circus to a new miracle cure. We will look at broadsides from the Village’s collections and then create our own eye-catching announcement.

Make a Decorative Plate | 50 Minutes | $7

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

By the 1830s, New England stores were stocked with products from all over the United States and the world. One of the items New Englanders might purchase would be ceramic plates, bowls, and cups, often made in England. Some ceramics were plain, but others were more elaborate with landscapes and figures. We will decorate our own plates using ceramic paints, inspired by period designs.

Play with Clay | 50 Minutes | $7

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

People have been using pottery for a long time to hold and store food. Sometimes the pottery is simple and sometimes, it’s more decorative. We will learn about pottery in the 1830s and then hand-shape a piece of pottery to bring home using air-dry clay!

Open-Hearth Cooking: Cider Cake | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:30 (Ages 6+) SOLD OUT
Register for 11:30 (Ages 10+)  SOLD OUT
Register for 1:30 (Ages 8+)  SOLD OUT

Follow a 19th-century “receipt” for cider cake to make a delicious snack to share together. Participants will also take a look at other historic receipts to see how food has changed over time. Ingredients will include: cider, flour, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, butter

Stories and Crafts: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 10:00 (Ages 5+) SOLD OUT

Enjoy storytime with a classic picture book, then try out a craft or activity relating to the tale. Together, we’ll read the story Dave the Potter, about an enslaved man who was also a gifted artisan and poet. We will talk about how the Village’s potters make redware vessels and then make our own ceramic goods from air-dry clay.

Stories and Crafts: Breaking into Print | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 11:00 (Ages 5+) SOLD OUT

Enjoy storytime with a classic picture book, then try out a craft or activity relating to the tale. This tale tells the story of the creation of one of history’s most important inventions: the printing press. After we read the book, we will examine printer’s type, look at books from the Village’s time, and make our own block prints.

Stories and Crafts: Six Dots: A Story of a Young Louis Braille | 50 Minutes | $7

Register for 1:00 (Ages 5+) SOLD OUT

Enjoy storytime with a classic picture book, then try out a craft or activity relating to the tale. We will read Six Dots, a picture book about Louis Braille, the French educator and inventor who developed the Braille system of reading for the visually impaired in the 1820s. After the tale, we will learn about communication in the early 1800s and create a tactile craft.

Cider making | 50 Minutes | $7

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

It’s going to be fall soon, which means it’s apple season. Participants in this workshop will try out a small cider press and learn all about the science behind cidermaking and the drink’s importance to people in the 1830s. Then, have a sample of local cider and prepare dried apples for the long winter ahead.

Make a Double-Sided Wooden Game Board | 90 Minutes | $12

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

Life in the 1830s was a lot of work, but people still found time to play games. The ancient games of checkers, or draughts, and Nine-Men’s Morris, were one of those pastimes. Using paints and a ruler, make your own checkerboard to take home with you. 

Sew a Reticule | 90 Minutes | $12

Register for 1:00 (Ages 10+) SOLD OUT

Hone your sewing skills by creating a reticule, a small velvet pouch with stenciled designs. Your reticule will be the perfect size to carry writing implements or a small journal for when creativity strikes.

Hearth Cooking: Make a Dried Apple Pie | 90 Minutes | $12

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

Apples were important to the New Englander’s diet in the 19th century, mostly in the form of cider and dried apples, preserved to last through the year. Follow this receipt together to make a delicious pie using dried apples instead of fresh. While the pie bakes, we’ll talk a little about food preservation during the Village’s time period. Ingredients will include: flour, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, butter, sugar, dried apples

Going West | 90 Minutes | $12

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

During this workshop, participants will learn more about the ways in which the American landscape was changing during the 1830s. How did people travel West, and why? We will read letters and journal entries from 19th-century people who moved to the Western territories and then make our own faux-leather journal to record our adventures.

Bookbinding | 90 Minutes | $12

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

During the 1830s, printing was a very important job. Printers in a town like Sturbridge printed posters, books, and pamphlets. Learn all about how a book is put together before sewing your own using traditional bookbinding methods. We will also marble the inside for an artistic finish.

Village Tour: Crafts and Trades | 90 Minutes | $7

Register for 1:00 (Ages 6+)  SOLD OUT

Join a museum educator for a Village tour focused on trades and artisans in the 1830s. Participants will learn how you became a printer, blacksmith, or shoemaker, and what your everyday life was like. Please note: this tour involves a lot of walking and will last about 1.5 hours. Adults are welcome to join the tour, but registration slots are for students only.


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