The volunteer program at Old Sturbridge Village plays a vital role in fulfilling the museum’s mission to re-create and preserve the past for visitors. Over 100 Village volunteers collectively contribute thousands of service hours annually. Our volunteers fill many roles, from costumed greeters to office assistants and herb garden assistants and many more. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. See below for Volunteer Openings.

To volunteer or learn more, call 508-347-0302, email us, or download a Volunteer Application Form.

 

A choir dressed in 1830s attire performs inside a meetinghouse
The Old Sturbridge Village Singers Performing in the Center Meetinghouse

Volunteer Benefits

Volunteer Positions

General Volunteer

Volunteers not in costume (blue shirt volunteers) are very important to the Village.  They help with so many behind the scenes needs such as bagging 10,000 bags of candy for our Halloween program, Phantoms by Firelight, and making 40,000 craft kits to hand out to children at Christmas by Candlelight. In addition they might help children do craft activities for Special Event weekends, help with special programming in the Village such as Friends Day, Women in History Day, the 4th of July, Redcoats to Rebels and our Christmas Program.  It’s a great way to meet new people and help Old Sturbridge Village.

Garden Volunteer

Garden volunteers have the option of working in three areas: the Herb Garden, ornamental gardens, and/or vegetable gardens. Under the supervision of horticulture staff, volunteers will assist with day-to-day garden tasks such as weeding, watering, deadheading, or harvesting. Daily tasks change throughout the season and are dependent on the area of most need as determined by horticulture staff. Work in the gardens starts in April and ends in late October.

Requirements include the ability to work independently in the absence of horticulture staff. The volunteer must have good customer service skills and be comfortable speaking with visitors. Garden work requires a lot of bending, getting up and down, and occasional lifting. Volunteers must be able to commit to 2 days per month. Garden volunteers have the option of being costumed or wearing an OSV staff shirt.

Garden volunteers will receive general training arranged by the Volunteer Coordinator and garden-specific training arranged by the Horticulture Coordinator.

Old Sturbridge Village Dancers

Old Sturbridge Village dancers portray ‘experienced dancers’ from the town of Sturbridge. In the early 1800s, young people in the Village attended dance schools taught by itinerant dance teachers who moved from town to town.

All of the dances performed are authentic for the time period. Performances typically include demonstration dances and guest participation.

The Old Sturbridge Village Dancers practice weekly from May to November and dance at least once a month in the Village during that period.  The Dancers also perform at many of our special events including Christmas by Candlelight and Evening of Illumination.

Old Sturbridge Village Singers

Learn more about the Singers and their most recent CD here.

The OSV Singers portray a ‘singing school’ from the town of Sturbridge.  The purpose of the singing school was to improve the singing in the churches. All of the music performed is authentic for the period.  The repertoire consists of shape-note hymns, anthems, secular choruses, folk and patriotic songs as well as rounds and catches. Singers will be costumed. Choral/choir experience is recommended, as singers must be able to learn music on their own. Prospective singers audition in April, with rehearsals to follow in May. The Old Sturbridge Village Singers sing one Saturday a month from May through October and also at our Christmas by Candlelight program on select evenings in December. On the days that the singers perform there is an open rehearsal from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Meetinghouse. There are two performances in the afternoon, each lasting 30 minutes.

A group of people in 1830s costume

Old Sturbridge Village Volunteer Docent - Trade Shops

There are seven trade shops at Old Sturbridge Village, representing the work of a broad range of nineteenth-century craftspeople, including blacksmiths, potters, printers, shoe makers, tin workers, coopers, and cabinetmakers.  

Volunteers in the trade shops will be supporting a diverse team of skilled craftspeople, either working in costume in front of the public or helping behind the scenes in one of our production workshops.  Become a volunteer, and learn more about nineteenth-century craft while helping to support the work being done in our trade shops.

Old Sturbridge Village Volunteer Docent - Households

There are seven households here at Old Sturbridge Village, showing a wide variety of domestic work and crafts, including cooking, sewing, knitting, braiding straw, making baskets, and more. Much of our work varies seasonally, like dairying and candle making, so there is always something exciting to learn and do.  Costumed volunteers in the households will be joining a diverse team, including costumed staff, college interns, junior interns, and fellows working in front of and interpreting to the public.

Old Sturbridge Village Volunteer Docent - Mills

Old Sturbridge Village has three water-powered mills: an original early 1800s wool carding mill, which historically prepared wool for spinning into yarn or filling quilts; an authentic reproduction an early 19th century sawmill, cutting logs into rough lumber; and a reproduction gristmill for milling corn, oats, rye and other grains into meal and animal feed.  We interpretively demonstrate these as custom mills, which historically provided essential services, for a fee, to neighboring farmers.  Costumed volunteers will work with paid staff to safely demonstrate the operations of these machines for our visitors, interpret water power, and discuss how such mills fit into the economy of early 19th century New England.

Visitor Center Greeter

The greeter is responsible for welcoming visitors, answering questions about the Village, and directing visitors to the ticket windows at the Visitor Center. As the first point of contact it is essential for this person to outgoing, enjoy talking to people and able to take direction from Visitor Center Management. A Visitor Center Manager will provide basic knowledge for the day (or we could say helpful information) the first day of greeting to get you oriented.

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