Why is this noteworthy? Simple, it is because Old Sturbridge Village is looked at as the "Curator of New England". The example the village has shown over the past 60 years through its restoration of old New England buildings, historical research, and education is at a level that other institutions compare themselves to. The great thing is we have this excellent institution right here in town.
OSV has done a remarkable job turning around a drop in attendance over the past several years. January visitor numbers were the best in 10 years. More emphasis has been placed on bringing the village alive with costumed interpreters instead of being the shadow box it was becoming. They are heading in the right direction.
So, what now for the village. Well, I am not privy to their game plan, but I can imagine it is something like this:
- Seek out the money. Apply for every grant they can for maintaining, improving the infrastructure of the existing Village.
- Aggressively market the Village nationally, and locally as not only a living "time capsule" for visitors to experience, but as a leading educational center for schools and individuals. The key word here is aggressive. Taking a step outside the bounds that they have spent the last 60 years.
- Increase membership. Schedule events like from "Redcoats to Rebels" throughout the year in order to attract those people that would normally overlook what the village had to offer.
- Continue to market the Village as a fantastic place for a corporate events, functions, and weddings, and offer things that no other venue can, or would offer.
With the right leadership, and imagination anything is possible, and I think they have both going for them right now.
For more information on the Bondville, Vermont church, click here.
Photograph: (c) 2008 The Rutland Herald.