In addition to the “living history” exhibits located in the historic buildings and its heirloom gardens, Old Sturbridge Village also has static exhibitions – both permanent and changing – which feature historic artifacts from the collections.
J. Cheney Wells Clock Gallery
The J. Cheney Wells Clock Gallery was opened in 1982 to house the Village’s extensive collection of early New England timepieces. J. Cheney Wells, one of the founders of Old Sturbridge Village, was an avid clock collector and donated many of the objects currently on display. The exhibit contains dozens of clocks including many tall case clocks – several of which are kept running and can be heard chiming throughout the day.
Armed and Equipped: Firearms and the Militia in New England: 1790-1840
September 2017 marked the opening of a newly redesigned firearms and militia exhibit, after months of planning and collaboration by a cross-disciplinary team of Village historians and curators. Armed and Equipped: Firearms and the Militia in New England, 1790-1840 includes many objects in that have either never been on public display or have not been on view in many years.
The citizen militia was an important part of civic life in the colonial period and in the early 19th-century New England. All able-bodied men from 18 to 45 were required to serve in their town’s militia. They had to provide their own weapons and equipment and had to attend at least one training day per year. The new exhibit will bring more detail to this story and have four distinct themes within the context of New England: citizen militia, firearms technology, firearms manufacturing, and sport shooting.
The Glasshouse Gallery
The Glasshouse Gallery explores the history, manufacture, and use of glass in 19th century New England. Thematic cases illustrate the development of style over time, production methods, decoration, and scholarship. Objects on display include tableware, mirrors, spectacles, flasks, archaeological materials, as well as glassmaking tools and implements. The building, built in 1941, is a replica of the original American Optical Company spectacle shop in Southbridge, Massachusetts, where George Washington Wells, father of the founders of Old Sturbridge Village, began manufacturing eyeglasses in the late 1800s.
First opened in 1968 and completely redone in the mid 1990s, this exhibit highlights some of the early lighting devices in the Old Sturbridge Village collection, which were of particular fascination to OSV founder A.B. Wells.
David Wight Community Gallery
The David Wight Community Gallery features exhibitions created by Old Sturbridge Academy students as well as local university students. Stop in to see how items from the Old Sturbridge Village collections have been used to enhance these displays. The exhibitions change regularly.
Located by the Herb Garden, before you exit the Village, this exhibit highlights the historical story of beekeeping and how it relates to modern practices and concerns of keeping bees. In the warmer months, there is an active colony of bees at work for you to watch and learn more about them. Come to the Village and try to identify the queen, workers, and drones in the living hive.