Old Sturbridge Village
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road
Sturbridge, MA 01566
Old Sturbridge Village
Founded in 1946, Old Sturbridge Village is one of the oldest and largest living history museums in the country, portraying life in a rural New England town of the 1830s. The Village has 60 original buildings set on 200 acres; each carefully researched, restored, and brought to the museum site from towns throughout New England. Many of our 50,000 collection objects are on display in the Village, providing a unique view of how items were used and placed in the home and public spaces. Our Village includes houses, meetinghouses, a district school, country store, bank, law office, printing office, carding mill, gristmill, pottery, blacksmith shop, shoe shop, cooper shop, gardens with heirloom plants, and a working farm with heritage breed animals. Authentically costumed historians carry out the daily activities of an early-nineteenth-century community, and visitors can see farmwomen cooking at the hearth as well as the printer, potter, cooper, tinner, blacksmith and shoemaker at work. Our sawmill is a recreation of the 19th century Nichols-Colby Sawmill of Bow, New Hampshire, showing guests how an up-and-down saw prepared wood before being used in the construction of homes and furniture throughout the region.
The period of American history portrayed by Old Sturbridge Village, 1790–1840,is of major significance because it was a time in which the everyday lives of New Englanders were transformed by the rise of commerce and manufacturing, improvements in agriculture and transportation, the pulls of emigration and urbanization, and the tides of educational, political, cultural, and social change. These trends can be traced through the over 2000 pieces of furniture in our collection, from the most humble, rural stools showing centuries of repairs as a reflection of New England frugality, to the most ornately inlaid chest of drawers showing the pinnacle of Massachusetts craftsmanship. As part of the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Collaboration, Old Sturbridge Village is pleased to present an exhibit that celebrates furniture making in Massachusetts.
Running from October 19, 2013 to May 4, 2014, Old Sturbridge Village is proud to present the exhibit, Delightfully Designed: The Furniture and Life of Nathan Lombard. Delightfully designed and intricately inlayed, the furniture of Nathan Lombard stands out among the rich traditions of cabinetmaking found in rural Massachusetts in the early 1800s. Nathan was raised in Brimfield, married in Sturbridge, and situated in Sutton; his story is a very local one. OSV’s exhibit represent the largest reuniting of Lombard’s furniture since they left his workshop. New discoveries – including family narratives, early daguerreotypes, and personal artifacts – will reveal the man behind these extraordinary objects. To celebrate the opening of our exhibit OSV will host a Collectors’ Forum on Saturday, October 19, 2013, a day of discussions and demonstrations about Nathan Lombard and his contemporaries.
In Summer 2014, OSV will open a second furniture-themed exhibit entitled Bucket Town: Four Centuries of Toy-Making and Coopering in Hingham, to run from June 21, 2014 to January 18, 2015. For nearly two centuries Hingham served as the woodenware capital of the colonies and country, earning the nickname Bucket Town. By the 1770s enterprising coopers had begun to produce miniature versions of these goods to sell as keepsakes and novelties – from their shops emerged the first and largest community of professional toy-makers in America. Charming toy furniture and woodenwares that fit in the palm of a hand will delight viewers. A newly-discovered and remarkably preserved toy and box-making shop is perhaps the most striking reminder of Hingham’s once-bustling cottage industry, a community linked by trade and kinship. It has remained in the same family since the 1830s and survives with many of its original contents; Bucket Town will mark the public debut of this extraordinary time capsule.