Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Free Admission For Dads At OSV

To view a 2 min. video of Music & Art Weekend at OSV, use a QR reader to scan this code with a mobile device:

Music & Art YouTube QR code

Music & Art Weekend at Old Sturbridge Village June 15-16
Dads get free admission on Father's Day June 16

(STURBRIDGE, MA) – June 3, 2013: More than 50 singers, dancers, musicians and artists will gather at Old Sturbridge Village to bring 19th-century cultural arts to life as part of the museum's annual Music & Art weekend June 15-16.  On Father's Day, June 16 dads get free OSV admission and will receive a free Village-made pottery flask (while supplies last).  Throughout the weekend visitors can see rare antique musical instruments on display, hear performances of African American spirituals, and learn to play a tin whistle. Art demonstrations will include sketching, watercolors, and theorem painting, and visitors can try their hands at marbling paper. Daytime performances are free with museum admission. Details: 800-SEE-1830;

Soprano Alika Hope will perform traditional African American spirituals throughout the weekend and will give the history behind these popular songs. The program includes songs like "Go Down Moses," "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho," and "This Little Light of Mine."  Hope, who is the associate host of the television show "Connecticut Perspective," will be accompanied by guitarist Ramon Morant.

Old Sturbridge Village performers will present 19th-century songs and stories all weekend long and will display rare antique musical instruments from the museum's collection, including wooden flutes, parlor guitars, woodwinds, and lap instruments.  Visitors can also hear a concert on the Village's antique pipe organ and enjoy fife and drum music presented by the Sturbridge Militia. The Old Sturbridge Village Dancers will teach guests of all ages how to perform popular contra dances, jigs, and reels from the early 1800s.

According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, early New Englanders enjoyed more than just religious music.  In fact, popular songs in the 1800s included salacious and satirical songs, as well as songs about murders, executions and famous battles.

“Early New Englanders worked very hard, but they also loved music, art, and dance,” notes Old Sturbridge Village musician Jim O’Brien. “Families in early New England didn't go straight to sleep after dark – they liked to stay up singing songs and telling stories.”

People in rural towns learned four-part harmony in singing schools taught by itinerant instructors.  British ballads like “Barbara Allen,” were passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years. People also sang “broadside songs,” which were printed on single sheets in Boston and sold all over the countryside.

Dances in early New England were informal and were usually held in farmhouses or barns.  Young people in rural areas could learn all the latest steps at formal dancing schools taught by dancing-school masters who traveled from town to town.

One of the most popular art forms in 19th-century New England was theorem painting, or oil painting with stencils on white velvet. The stencil technique made it possible for amateur artists to create charming artwork for their own homes.

Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is one of the largest living history museums in the country.  The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. seven days a week.  OSV offers free parking and a free return visit within 10 days. Admission: $24; seniors $22; children 3-17, $8; children 2 and under, free. Woo Card subscribers get $5 off adult daytime admission; college Woo cardholders receive $12 off adult daytime admission. For times and details of all OSV activities or call 1-800-SEE-1830.


  1. Although Sturbridge residents get free admission, it's always a good thing to drop a few bucks (or more) into the donation box. For as much criticism as I've seen about OSV in some of these blogs, without it Sturbridge would truly be Hicksville!

  2. I agree. I am one of those bloggers that have nothing but good things to write about OSV. Mary and I were married in the meeting house, and had our reception in the Oliver Wight Tavern. The folks at OSV were the best.


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