Join us on Facebook and Instagram for Virtual Village – where we will be bringing Old Sturbridge Village into your home. Our interpreters will be sharing fun facts, activities, recipes, and more, while our farmers have promised to update us with photos and videos of our animals. We hope our Virtual Village will provide a bright spot in your day – and keep your whole family entertained and engaged.

If you’re not on Facebook or Instagram, you can view Virtual Village content below. We’ll be updating regularly even now that the Village is open!

Learn more about current visiting policies and purchase/reserve tickets here.

October 22, 2020: Voting Records

 

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If you look closely at this 1808 list of eligible voters in the town of Sturbridge, you should notice a few familiar names. Both Pliny Freeman and Oliver Wight (as well as other members from their respective families) appeared on this list of men qualified to cast their votes in that year’s election. What made someone eligible to vote in 1808 (the presidential race between James Madison and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney), and what do we know about Freeman and Wight based on their inclusion in this list? To be eligible to vote in Massachusetts in 1808, one had to be a man over the age of 21 and a town resident for at least a year. One also had to own a certain, albeit relatively modest, amount of property. Though these were the voting requirements on paper, records suggest that in practice, towns allowed most adult male taxpayers to vote, whether they owned property or not. #OSVVirtualVillage #oldsturbridgevillage #osvresearchlibrary

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October 16, 2020: Virtual Home Gardeners’ Exhibit

View the Virtual Exhibit here.

October 15, 2020: Red and Don Update

 

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Red and Don, our team of oxen in training, are now about 6 months old and weigh about 500 pounds each. Both have been weaned and have mastered the basic commands. They have also started pulling a stone boat, which will help build their muscles and prepare them for eventually pulling an ox cart. Training a team of oxen is a daily commitment. The farmers in charge of training Red and Don, Will and Josh, have spent approximately 150 hours working with the team so far. #OSVVirtualVillage #oldsturbridgevillage #farmlife #igmassachusetts #oxen

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October 14, 2020: A gem from the Bixby collection

 

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Since October is Archaeology Month, we’re bringing you another gem from the Bixby collection! The archaeological digs conducted in the 1980s at the Bixby property in Barre, MA, revealed a wealth of information about the family. Laura and Emerson Bixby moved to Barre in the mid-1820s with their young daughter Eliza. Their family subsequently grew with the addition of daughters Lucy and Ruth. In addition to leaving their mark on the house through its renovations, the three girls also left a mark in the archaeological record. Archaeologists found this thimble during one of the archaeological excavations at the site. Based on its small size, the thimble probably belonged to a child, most likely one of the Bixby girls. We know that the girls put their sewing skills to good use sewing shoe uppers, generating extra income to modernize their home. We also know that they used their skills to create practical yet lovely textiles for their own use, like this embellished pillowcase. In this way, the archaeological record helps create a more complete picture of the Bixby family in their home. #osvvirtualvillage #OldSturbridgeVillage #osvmuseumcollection #archaeology #history

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October 13, 2020: Trivia Tuesday

 

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Early 19th-century New England farm families stored a lot of the fall harvest is root cellars. How an item was stored in the cellar depended on the item. Cabbages, for example, would be hanged upside down from the ceiling. Early 19th-century varieties of cabbages (such as Mammoth Red Rock) were often larger than what you might see at a modern grocery store. The larger head would last longer when stored in the root cellar, as it has more moisture and layers that can protect the core from decay. As the cabbages hang upside down in the root cellar, the outer leaves dry around the head, and the moisture concentrates towards the head. This leaves the crisp cabbage protected inside. Cabbages stored like this can last for about 2-3 months, depending on their size and quality. Other items, such as carrots and turnips, were often stored in sand. Why were these items stored in sand? #TriviaTuesday #OSVVirtualVillage #oldsturbridgevillage

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October 7, 2020: Plow

 

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A plow was, arguably, a farmer’s most important piece of equipment in the 19th century. It was an essential tool for turning the soil and preparing land for planting. From the 18th to the mid-19th century, plows included a wooden moldboard reinforced with strips of protective iron, like this one. The moldboard was the part of the plow responsible for turning down the earth cut by the plowshare. In the mid-19th century, western soils proved too tough for the wooden moldboard, and John Deere invented a one-piece plowshare and moldboard made entirely of steel. #oldsturbridgevillage #osvmuseumcollection #plow #farmlife #agriculture #museum #OSVVirtualVillage

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October 2, 2020: Flower Friday

 

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Did you know there are more than 50 species of marigolds? This is Tagetes patula, also known as “French marigold” currently in bloom in the Herb Garden at Old Sturbridge Village. Tagetes patula has been used for many purposes in different times and cultures, including culinary, coloring, ornamental, and medicinal. French marigolds were first featured in a 1791 edition of Curtis’ Botanical Magazine. #FlowerFriday #OSVVirtualVillage #oldsturbridgevillage #gardenersofig #horticulture

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September 29, 2020: National Coffee Day

September 28, 2020: Caption This Cattle

 

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🐂🐂🐂 Caption this! . . . #FarmLife #pasture #cattle #OSVVirtualVillage #OldSturbridgeVillage #FreemanFarm #runningcattle #moo

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September 25, 2020: Flower Friday

 

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Autumn crocus, or Colchicum Autumnale, is in bloom in the Paul E. Rogers Herb Garden at the Village. Interestingly, Autumn Crocuses are not true crocuses, as they both belong to different plant families. Autumn crocus was mentioned in the oldest known medical text, Ebers Papyrus, around 1550 B.C. While it has been used medicinally for various ailments since then, including gout, consuming large amounts can be harmful since it contains colchicine. Despite the profusion of these flower’s blooms, they will fade in a relatively brief period of approximately two weeks. #FlowerFriday #oldsturbridgevillage #OSVVirtualVillage #autumncrocus #FallinNewEngland

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September 24, 2020: Unloading the Kiln

September 23, 2020: Collections Highlight

 

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Although Frenchman Louis Braille first published his raised dot alphabet system for blind readers in 1829, it was not widely adopted in France for several decades, and another century passed before a Standard English Braille was agreed upon. In the meantime, different schools and communities used other alphabets and raised letter methods to make reading accessible to blind individuals. This pamphlet from the #OSVLibraryCollection is one such example. Written in the modern English alphabet and completely devoid of ink, the words are raised from the paper to make them readable by touch. Beneath the title (“Specimen of type in use. N.E. institution for the education of the blind; organized Aug. 1832”) is a description of grants and other benefits, and on the other page is a bar of music and a map of the Boston area, where the school was located. This pamphlet, from the New England Institution for the Education of the Blind, illustrates the particular type the school used. Founded in 1829 by Samuel Gridley-Howe as the New England Asylum for the Blind, the school reopened in 1832 as the New England Institution for the Education of the Blind, the first residential school for blind individuals in the United States. In 1839, the school changed its name to the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the blind. Finally, in 1955, the institution was re-named Perkins School for the Blind, and it remains under that name today. #oldsturbridgevillage #osvmuseumcollection #newenglandhistory

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September 22, 2020: Trivia Tuesday: Apple Cider

 

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Apple picking and processing season is here! Apples were a very important crop for early 19th-century rural New Englanders. Many farms had orchards containing 100-300 trees! Most of the apple harvest was either dried for cooking or turned into cider. This cider was not the sweet cider found at farm stands today – it was hard cider, with an alcohlic content for four to eight percent. Adults and children alike drank this “hard” cider, though it may have been watered down for younger children. Approximately how many apples does it take to produce a gallon of cider? #TriviaTuesday #OSVVirtualVillage #OldSturbridgeVillage #apples #appleseason #fall

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September 21, 2020: Exhibition of Craft Recap

See the Flickr album of entries here.

 

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This past weekend, we held our first ever Exhibition of Craft, featuring dozens of entries from both our own staff and the wider community! Most entries were made with historical methods and/or inspired by Old Sturbridge Village. Shown here are just a few of the entries. Thanks to everyone who participated! . . . #oldsturbridgevillage #craftsmanship #sewing #woodworking #tailoring #knitting #makersgonnamake #artisan #painting #quilting #historicalcrafts #basketmaking #keeponmaking

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September 17 & 19: Repairing a Chain

September 17, 2020: Daguerreotype from the OSV Museum Collection

 

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Taking a quality daguerreotype portrait required knowledge and skill on the part of the artist. Before even setting up the camera, the artist would have to prepare the plate for exposure using the correct mixture of chemicals. The artist then had to make sure that the subject was sufficiently well-lit (in the age before electric light) and expose the sensitized plate for the correct amount of time. If special finishing effects were called for, these would require additional exposures and processes. Finally, the artist had to fix the image on the plate (calling for a final chemical exposure) and secure the plate safely in its case. All of this skill, of course, was rendered useless if the sitter moved… We will have an assortment of daguerreotypes on display in the Towne House doorway this Saturday during craft weekend – make sure to stop by! #oldsturbridgevillage #OSVVirtualVillage #osvmuseumcollection #daguerreotype

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September 15, 2020: Bonnets & 19th-Century Millinery

September 11, 2020: Update on Red and Don

September 11, 2020: Behind the Scenes: Sgraffito Plates

September 10, 2020: Sewing Box

 

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During the time period that Old Sturbridge Village represents, sewing machine technology was only in the early stages of development, so clothing items were sewn by hand. Several weekends ago, curatorial staff put this sewing box out on display as part of a pop-up program on female seminaries and academies. Many people were curious about the small bottle kept inside the sewing box and wanted to know what it would have held. The little vial in question is a scent bottle, which was a common component of nineteenth-century sewing boxes. However, published sources shed little light on why these bottles were included in sewing boxes or what sorts of scents they may have held. Unfortunately, no scent remains in this particular bottle to give us any clues about its history. #OSVVirtualVillage #sewingbox #osvmuseumcollection #oldsturbridgevillage #sewing

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September 9, 2020: Wallpaper Wednesday – With a Twist!

September 8, 2020: Trivia Tuesday: Printing Office

September 1, 2020: Trivia Tuesday: Tea

August 31, 2020: Puff Fashion

August 28, 2020: Flower Friday – Cinnamon Basil

August 26, 2020: Wallpaper Wednesday – With a Twist!

August 25, 2020: Trivia Tuesday Research Library

August 24, 2020: Caption This: Don the Calf

August 21, 2020: Flower Friday

August 20, 2020: Behind the Scenes Fence Repair

August 20, 2020: Hairstyles

August 19, 2020: Receipt for Potatoe Pasty

August 18, 2020: Trivia Tuesday: Laundry

August 17, 2020: Repairing the Kiln

August 14, 2020: Flower Friday

August 13, 2020: Stays from the Old Sturbridge Village Museum Collection

August 12, 2020: Wallpaper Wednesday – with a Twist!

August 11, 2020: Fabric & Trivia

August 7, 2020: Flower Friday: Tansy

August 5, 2020: Collections Highlight: New Found Stories

August 4, 2020: Trivia Tuesday: Covered Bridges

July 31, 2020: Collections Highlight: Flower Pot

July 28, 2020: Trivia Tuesday: Barrels

July 23, 2020: Flower Friday

July 22, 2020: Sensitive Plant at Fitch

July 21, 2020: Trivia Tuesday: Taking Care of Cheeses

July 20, 2020: History of the Smokehouse

July 17, 2020: Pots & Kettles

July 16, 2020: Raspberries and Gardens

July 15, 2020: Raspberry Picking Time!

July 14, 2020: Trivia Tuesday – Cayenne Pepper

July 13, 2020: Historical Receipt for Carrot Fritters

Check out our collection of historical receipts (recipes) with modern translations here.

July 10, 2020: Cheesemaking on the Farm

July 9, 2020: Throwback Thursday – 1947 Map

July 8, 2020: Pliny’s Desk

July 7, 2020: Lemonade & Trivia Tuesday

July 2, 2020: Behind the Scenes Throwback

June 30, 2020: Trivia Tuesday

June 29, 2020: Early 19th-Century Portrait

June 26, 2020: Flower Friday

June 25, 2020: #WhatIsItWednesday Reveal

June 24, 2020: Clover in the Oats

June 24, 2020: What is It Wednesday

June 23, 2020: Trivia Tuesday – Oxen

June 22, 2020: Garden Views – Bixby & Freeman Farm

June 18, 2020: Garden Views – The Fitch Garden

June 16, 2020: Wallpaper Trivia

June 12, 2020: Flower Friday: Lady’s Slipper

June 11, 2020: Northern Leopard Frog in the Herb Garden

June 10, 2020: Quiltspiration & a New Coloring page

Download the coloring page here.

June 9, 2020: Trivia Tuesday: Wool to Yarn

June 7, 2020: Shearing a Sheep

May 31, 2020: Asa Knight Store History & New Coloring Page

Download the coloring page here.

May 30, 2020: Animal Update: Betsy, Don, and Red Enjoy the Sun

May 29, 2020: Flower Friday: Lungwort

May 28, 2020: Tapering Steel

May 27, 2020: Caption This! Video Clip of Maybel

May 26, 2020: Butter Making Trivia

May 25, 2020: Miniature Monday

May 24, 2020: There’s Still Lots To Do on the Farm!

May 23, 2020: Chicks

May 22, 2020: Flower Friday

May 21, 2020: Chirping Chicks

May 20, 2020: Choose Your Own Adventure Story

Start the adventure here.

May 19, 2020: Frolicking Calves Coloring Page

Download the coloring page here.

 

May 18, 2020: The Bull Calves Have Names!

May 17, 2020: At Home Scavenger Hunt

Download the Scavenger Hunt list here.

May, 16, 2020: A Curiosity from Old Sturbridge Village Museum Collection

May 15, 2020: Spring Cleaning & a Fireboard from the Old Sturbridge Village Museum Collection

May 14, 2020: Alphabet Toy

May 13, 2020: Behind the Scenes: Barn Floor Repairs

May 12, 2020: Garden Update: Salem Towne Garden

May 11, 2020: Caption This! Running of the Sheep Clip

May 10, 2020: Mother’s Day

May 9, 2020: Objects that Inspire: Cymbeline

May 8, 2020: Flower Friday | Cowslip

May 7, 2020: Make a Cardboard Loom

Download the how-to guide here.

May 6, 2020: Wallpaper Wednesday

May 5, 2020: Frolicking Cattle

May 4, 2020: Caption This! Lamb Edition

May 4, 2020: Miniature Monday

May 3, 2020: Lambs

May 2, 2020: Peddler Ambrotype

May 1, 2020: Hexagonal Paper Piecing

Download the how-to guide here.

April 30, 2020: Nine Men’s Morris

Download the how-to guide here.

April 30, 2020: Making Butter

Download the lesson plan here.

April 29, 2020: #WhatIsThisWednesday

(Answer: This object is a copy press patented by James Wyatt in 1780. Businesses such as manufacturers, wholesalers, and professionals like lawyers and bankers, then as now, often needed to make copies of letters, invoices, and other documents, and the copy press was a convenient and completely accurate means of maintaining those duplicate records. The person making a copy would place a damp, very thin sheet of copy paper over a recently printed document and run the combination through the rollers built into the case. The copy paper would absorb some of the residual ink on the printed document, creating a copy. The process would create a mirror image of the text (in other words, printed backwards), so the copy would have to be read THROUGH the paper. Needless to say, the copy process could only be repeated once or twice before the master sheet or the copies became too faint to read.)

April 28, 2020: Doll from the Old Sturbridge Village Museum Collection

April 27, 2020: Animal Update: Pig Enjoys Fresh Slop

April 26, 2020: Two Portraits, One Artist

April 25, 2020: Coggeshall Farm Museum

April 24, 2020: Women’s Hairstyles

April 23, 2020: Animal Update: Another New Bull Calf!

April 23, 2020: Chamber Pot

April 22, 2020: Preparing the Parsonage Garden

April 21, 2020: Animal Update: Close up of Our New Bull Calf

April 20, 2020: Step-by-Step Pie Crust Making Demonstration

Ever make a pie from scratch? Now is a great time to try! Making pie crust is intimidating for some modern cooks, but it is simple once you get the hang of it. Watch this step-by-step video to see Ashleigh, our Domestic Management Straker Fellow, demonstrate how to make a pie crust. Then, check out our collection of historic receipts here, where you can find receipts (recipes) for apple and pork pie, cranberry pie, Marlborough pudding, mince pie, carrot pie, and more.

April 20, 2020: Patriots’ Day

Read the short article by Tom here.

April 19, 2020: This Day in History

April 18, 2020: Fresh Snow on the Ground

April 17, 2020: Animal Update: Lambs on the Farm

April 16, 2020: Embroidery Patterns Last Used in 1830

April 16, 2020: Behind the Scenes on the Farm

April 15, 2020: New Calf on the Farm

April 14, 2020: Sheep to Shawl

April 14, 2020: Molding Planes

April 13, 2020: Zoom Backgrounds

Check out and download some images from the Village that you can use for a virtual background when using Zoom here.

April 12, 2020: Running of the Sheep

April 11, 2020: National Board Game Day


April 10, 2020: Garden Update: Scilla

April 9, 2020: New Historical Receipt: Fricassee of Parsnips

See a collection of historical receipts (recipes, with modern adaptations) here.

April 9, 2020: Animal Update: Chickens

April 8, 2020: Parsnip Harvest

April 8, 2020: Coloring Pages

Download and print 4 coloring pages created by our very own Victoria Haynes here.

April 7, 2020: Coffee or Tea?

April 6, 2020: Behind the Scenes: Making Pots

April 5, 2020: Storing Winter Woolens

April 4, 2020: Storytelling: You Are Nothing But a Goose

April 3, 2020: Behind the Scenes: Sewing

April 2, 2020: Behind the Scenes Look at the Old Sturbridge Village Gardens and Greenhouse

Read the eNews here.

April 2, 2020: Making Mittens

April 1, 2020: April Fools’ Day: A Little History

April 1, 2020: Wedding Wednesday: 360˚ Virtual Tour of Select Village Spaces courtesy of WeddingWire

To view the 360˚ Virtual Tour, click here.

March 31, 2020: Mystery Building


(The above daguerreotype is of the Fenno House at its original location in Canton, MA)

 

March 30, 2020: Behind the Scenes: Costume Work

March 29, 2020: Animal Update: Clover and Maybel

March 28, 2020: Embroidery Inspiration

March 27, 2020: Pruning in the Freeman Orchard

March 26, 2020: Jim Plays a Little Music

March 26, 2020: Collections Highlight: Make-Do Pitcher

March 25, 2020: Pruning a Flowering Pear Tree

March 25, 2020: Animal Update From Our Coordinator of Agriculture

March 24, 2020: New Historical Receipt: Winter Vegetable Soup

See a collection of historical receipts (recipes, with modern adaptations) here.

March 24, 2020: Collections Highlight: Make-Do Pincushion

March 23, 2020: Working From Home