Evening of Illumination set for Old Sturbridge Village

Date: 10/30/2014

STURBRIDGE – How did New England families spend their evenings before the intrusion of texting, telephones, TVs and computers?

Visitors to Old Sturbridge Village will get a rare chance find out as they tour the historic Village lit only by candles, oil lamps, lanterns, and firelight during the museum’s “Evening of Illumination” set for Nov. 8.

Guided by lantern light around the Village Common, guests visit select homes and shops to see how early New Englanders spent their evenings in the days before electricity. Visitors will be treated to music and storytelling throughout the tour, and will see Village artisans at work by candlelight.

New this year is a “Magic Lantern” demonstration – showcasing popular 19th-century slide projection entertainments. Following the tours, visitors return to the Bullard Tavern for light refreshments, mulled cider, a cash bar, and performances by the Old Sturbridge Village singers and dancers. Intimate guided tours limited to 15 people each leave from the Old Sturbridge Village Visitor Center every 10 minutes from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Advance registration is recommended as this event sells out. Tickets are $35 per person; $30 for OSV Members. Details: www.osv.org; 800-SEE-1830 (800-733-1830).

According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, early New Englanders stayed warm and productive during the fall and winter despite dwindling daylight and long hours of darkness. With light and heat coming only from candles, oil lamps, lanterns, and fireplaces, 19th-century families gathered around the fire and played music, games, or listened quietly as someone read aloud by candlelight. In contrast, today's hectic schedules rarely allow for quiet time like this in the evening – unless the power goes out in a snowstorm.

Old Sturbridge Village celebrates life in early New England from 1790 to 1840 and is open year-round – days and hours vary seasonally. Beginning Nov. 1, the Village is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $24 for adults; $22 for seniors; $8 for children ages 3 to 17; children 2 and under are admitted free.

Each admission includes free parking and a free second-day visit within 10 days.