Hilltown Families


Families can experience what maple sugaring was like in the days of old New England at living history events where museum interpreters dressed in period clothing demonstrate life and skills from Colonial New England, including: tree tapping, sumac spile making, sap boiling over a fire, open hearth cooking, and other early American skills. At living history museums, history comes alive and are wonderful community-based resources for curious minds wanting to learn about New England history and lore of maple syrup.

One way to get some inspiration for your next winter culinary adventure is to visit living history museums to experience daily living routines and food preparations from the 19th century. Visitors can see firsthand what types of recipes 19th century Americans were preparing during the cold months of the year. In addition to New England culture, other cultures can be explore via community-based resources. Food traditions from fish on Friday to turkey on Thanksgiving are rich in history and a delicious lens for learning about culture.

Living history programs and events in Western Massachusetts happen all year round and include local historical re-enactors portraying the life of New Englanders centuries ago at encampments and school programs. They often showcase the skills and activities of people during war time periods such as the American Revolutionary War or the Civil War. In addition to encampments, some units engage in battle reenactments which are rehearsed recreations of actual battles in and around the region at varying times of the year…

Veterans Day, a national holiday celebrated every year on November 11th, provides communities with the opportunity to learn about and offer appreciation for the service provided by military veterans. November 11th is the perfect chance to honor our Veterans, and there are many opportunities to do so.

Living history museums and events provide interesting insight into the ways in which we engage with historical information. Renaissance fairs first emerged in the United States in the 1950s, as part of a larger interest in medieval culture and music. Living history challenges actors and attendees to think about history beyond events, learning about customs, dress, accents and behaviors. The 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival hosted by The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies brings history to life! There will be sword demonstrations, juggling, Tarot reading, dancing and music!

Step back in time to a simpler day when holiday celebrations involved cooking over an open fire and illuminating homes with candlelight – the month of December offers opportunities to experience holidays celebrations of the past at three different historic villages! 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.

Storrowton Village Museum offers a superb living history opportunity centered around the Western Mass region during the Civil War. Meet townspeople and hear from them how their lives were impacted during this momentous period in US history.

Veterans Day, a national holiday, provides communities with the opportunity to honor and learn about the service provided by former military members. Opportunities for community service to support and honor veterans are available right here in our own community, and families can also learn about military history on Veterans Day by engaging in living history demonstrations and activities!

Combining fact with artistic interpretation, living history creates learning opportunities that highlight not only important people and events, but also the sights, sounds, and general feel of a historic era. Upcoming living history events in western Massachusetts allow families ample opportunity to learn experientially and through immersion about all sorts of history. Covering topics like immigration, Civil War soldiers, and – of course – the fall harvest in early New England, living history events invite families with children of all ages to experience history in a fascinating new way.

Old Sturbridge Village hosts Christmas by Candlelight Celebration of favorite holiday traditions, music & food Nine evening events set for Dec. 7-9; 14-16; 21-23 Take a break from the overwhelming wave of commercialized holiday “spirit” that the post-Thanksgiving season brings – visit Old Sturbridge Village for Christmas by Candlelight, which offers an incredibly wide variety of family-friendly holiday activities, performances, demonstrations, readings, crafts, and more!  Villagers dressed in period costume will share… Read More

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