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As one of the country’s oldest and largest living history museums, Old Sturbridge Village – set in the bucolic countryside of Central Massachusetts – is most famously known for their collection of historians, and up-close, experiential depictions of New England life from 1790-1840, providing a truly unique experience for visitors of all ages.
Though, during the winter months, what happens to the village’s antique buildings, water-powered mills, farms, and animals? They embrace the joys of an old-fashioned winter, of course!
On January 26-27, you can enjoy Old Sturbridge Village’s official Fire & Ice Days, featuring ice-skating, vintage sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and unique historian experiences and activities designed not only to educate, but to entertain.
Experiences like trying your hand at 19th-century ice harvesting with local historians, and ice expert, Dennis Picard. Or how about a Fireside Magic Show? Robert Olson will be providing classic entertainment as “Richard Potter” — Potter, a local, Massachusetts magician, that -first performed his show, “An Evening’s Brush to Sweep Away Care, or a Medley to Please” in 1810 in Boston.
Harvesting ice 1830s-style, before refrigeration when New England ice was a “cash crop.”
Village Interpreter, Rob Lyon will be offering a talk on the history of ice-skating in the Bullard Tavern, where you can also find his collection of skates through the ages.
Antique ice skates form the OSV collection.
With the ‘Keeping Warm in the Winter” tour, guests will learn how 19th-century families adjusted through the winter chills.
For those more interested in the hands-on activities, the Village invites you to make a winter-themed thaumatrope. What’s a thaumatrope, you ask? A thaumatrope is a simple, 19th-century toy that takes combines imagery wound by string to create a spinning merge of two images.
Not to mention, Old Sturbridge Village is offering free admission for children through January 31st (for kids age 17 and under with at least one paid adult per party, and does not apply to school groups)!
And for those who can’t make it, the following weekend (February 2nd), Old Sturbridge Village will be featuring their Antique Sleigh Rally where you’ll find dozens of horse-drawn sleighs sliding silently over the snow, competing for prizes.
Here’s a look:
*Please note that some Fire & Ice Days activities are weather permitting!
Photos courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village.