Living History Museums Bring the Holiday Season Alive!

Living History Museums Bring the Holiday Season Alive!

Step back in time to a simpler day when holiday celebrations involved cooking over an open fire and illuminating homes with candlelight – the holiday season offers opportunities to experience celebrations of the past at three different living history museums! Families can explore, watch demonstrations, and engage in hands-on activities in order to learn about the ways in which the holiday season was honored in early New England.

Modern technology has certainly had an impact on the ways we decorate for and celebrate the winter holidays – early winter in New England now involves strings of lights and blow-up snowmen rather than windows lit by candles and evergreens adorned with cranberry strings.

This holiday season, families can take a step back into the past, to a simpler time when holiday celebrations involved candles and open hearth cooking. By taking advantage of upcoming holiday-themed living history events, families can dive into the history and culture of western Massachusetts’ holidays past while adding a new tradition to their own celebrations!


Ever wonder what a traditional Thanksgiving meal looked like in 19th century New England? At Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA) visitors can witness the costumed interpreters preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal and sit down together to recreate a typical Thanksgiving meal in rural New England.  You can learn about early dining etiquette and about wedding preparations that often took place during the Thanksgiving holiday! Take a look at the museum’s slide show online of their Thanksgiving activities and celebrations then make plans for a family visit for the holiday season, December 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, & 23, 2016. More info at ($)


This holiday season, Historic Deerfield brings the excitement of a 19th-century winter ball to the village with the introduction of a new, interactive evening tour, “Getting Ready for a Winter’s Ball.” On this special illuminated evening tour, participants will visit with the 19th-century residents of Deerfield as they get ready for a ball. Along the way they will encounter a variety of scenes capturing the spirit of the evening. Visitors will step inside the Hall Tavern kitchen and see the food being prepared, listen to musicians rehearse in the ballroom, meet an anxious mother sending her daughter off to the ball, and learn about a romantic intrigue that’s got the village residents talking.  Join them on Friday, December 2 and Friday, December 9, 2016 from 5pm-8:30pm.  In addition to the new evening tours, Historic Deerfield continues its tradition of celebrating the holiday season with programs and events for the whole family. More info ($)


Eastern States Exposition’s Storrowton Village Museum will present Yuletide at Storrowton again this holiday season on December 3 & 4, 2016 from 11am-4pm, in West Springfield, MA. This free winter festival brings the community together to celebrate the holidays with traditional Yuletide activities, entertainment and shopping in the historic Village. Decorated through the generosity of area garden clubs, florists and designers, the Village buildings will be bursting with beautiful wreaths, swags, garlands, fresh evergreens and all natural materials around every corner.

Performances in the Village’s Meetinghouse include: Music from the American Traditions of the 19th Century; New England Native Americans Prepare for Winter Artifact & Lecture; Golden Bell Chorus; Seasonal Songs with a Winter’s Theme; Ice Sculpting; 19th Century Crafts: Broom maker, Tinsmith, Windsor Chair maker; and Blacksmithing, fireplace cooking, quilting and spinning. More info at (FREE)


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