Country Bank Pledges $500,000 to Old Sturbridge Village Education Programs

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OSV names its educational facility the Country Bank Education Center

(Sturbridge, Mass.) Oct. 31, 2012 – Continuing a longtime commitment to education, Country Bank President Paul Scully announced that the bank has pledged $500,000 to Old Sturbridge Village to support educational programs at the museum. In thanks for the bank's generosity, Old Sturbridge Village President Jim Donahue has renamed the Village's educational building "The Country Bank Education Center" in the bank's honor.

More than 65,000 schoolchildren visit Old Sturbridge Village on field trips each year, and a majority of school groups augment their visits with in-depth learning and hands-on historical activities led by OSV museum teachers in the Village's education building. These include 1830s-style hearth cooking, archaeology, decorative arts, printing, weaving, farm activities, and games and amusements. Built in the 1970s, the education building, with its award-winning design, has long been regarded by educators and museum professionals as a premier setting for dynamic museum-based learning.

In announcing the $500,000 gift, Scully, who is also an Old Sturbridge Village Trustee, lauded the Village's success in rebounding from years of declining attendance in earlier decades.  "The Village has stormed back and made a tremendous recovery under its current leadership.  Through this gift, we at Country Bank are pleased to extend our educational support beyond the traditional classroom and into the vibrant interactive learning environment at Old Sturbridge Village."

Donahue called the Country Bank gift "transformative," and one that will allow Old Sturbridge Village to reach even more schoolchildren every year.  "The year before I came to the Village, this beautiful building had been closed and shuttered as part of downsizing and cost-saving efforts.  Now, it is humming with activity again, and thanks to Country Bank's generosity, its future is secure.”

Country Bank, headquartered in Ware, has 14 branches in central and western Massachusetts and a multifaceted educational outreach program in the communities it serves. The bank has developed one of the largest school banking programs in the state, teaching thrift and financial literacy to students in more than 30 area elementary schools. The curriculum is based on materials from the State Treasurer's Office, and other training elements designed internally by Country Bank.  In addition, the bank sponsors a "Teacher of the Month" program with area radio stations, and annually offers $5,000 college scholarships to graduating seniors at 16 area high schools.

To help older students learn to make good financial decisions, Country Bank offers a "Credit for Life" financial literacy exercise to more than 1,000 local high school seniors each spring.  Students play the role of 25-year-old adults with a careers, salaries, and credit scores, and make decisions on how to spend their money.  Credit counselors review each student's final budget with them individually to ensure that they learn to be solvent and live within their means. Participating in this program gives students a whole new perspective on real life financial management.

Old Sturbridge Village is one of the country's oldest and largest living history museums, visited by more than 22 million people since its founding in 1946. OSV is open year round and portrays life in a rural New England town during the 1830s. The Village has 60 original buildings; each carefully researched, restored, and brought to the museum site from towns throughout New England.  For details and more information:

(Above top):
Country Bank President Paul Scully (left), Old Sturbridge Village President and CEO Jim Donahue with OSV Interpreter Erica Hout at the dedication of "The Country Bank Education Center" at Old Sturbridge Village.      

(Above bottom):
More than 65,000 school children annually visit Old Sturbridge Village on field trips, and a majority of school groups augment their visits with hands-on learning in the Village's education building. The facility is now "The Country Bank Education Center," named in honor of the bank's recent $500,000 gift to the Village to support its educational programs.


Ann Lindblad:
508-347-0323; 508-886-2689 cell

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