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Frozen in time, Storrowton Village relives colonial era

Students dressed in 19th century clothing receive lessons inside the Schoolhouse. Reminder Publications submitted photo
By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD Frozen in time, the buildings at Storrowton Village Museum continue to stand as symbols of early New England life for 21st century viewers.

The year 2008 will be no exception. The walls of each building will listen to the awe and amusement of those visiting for the various activities in this year's Storrowton Village Museum calendar.

This month will feature one of Storrowton Village Museum's most popular children's programs: "A Day Away in the Past." During February school vacation week this program will allow students, ages seven - 12, a one-day adventure back into the 19th century.

Noreen Tassinari, director of marketing for Eastern States Exposition, said children have an unique opportunity to leave their iPods at home and step away from their Nintendo Wiis to experience a day in the life of a 19th century child.

Dennis Picard, director of the Storrowton Village Museum, said this program allows parents to fill one of their child's vacation days with hand-on learning experiences as they develop verbal, interpersonal and problem solving skills.

The students will first change into 19th century clothing at the museum's Meeting House originally built in 1834 in Salisbury, N.H. The students will also receive lessons using individual calk slates, ink and quill pens inside the Schoolhouse built in 1810 as the North Center School in Whatley, Mass.

Picard said students will be divided into groups of 10 as they rotate through the various buildings such as the Potter Mansion and the Gilbert Farmstead, learning crafts, fireplace cooking and other 19th century activities from trained Storrowton staff.

The cost for the program is $35 per student and registration for the event must be received by Feb. 15. "A Day Away in the Past" will take place Feb. 20 or 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Picard said this one-day program is also a valuable preview of the museum's weeklong Early American Summer Days in August, where children ages seven - 12 can sign up for an entire week of 19th century life.

March 9 will feature another one of Storrowton Village Museum's annual events: Maple Harvest Day. From noon to 4 p.m. on the Gilbert Farmstead visitors will be able learn about traditional maple sugaring through a presentation and demonstrations by Picard.

Demonstrations of fireplace cooking, basket weaving and wool spinning will take place inside the Gilbert House. Storrowton Tavern will be featuring a maple-themed menu in honor of the day, Tassinari said.

This event is free and open to all members of the public.

Storrowton Village Museum will officially open for regular hours beginning June 21. Other annual events such as the Haunted Old New England, Yuletide at Storrowton and Yuletide by Lantern Light are also included in the museum's schedule this year.

For more information about Storrowton Village Museum or events go to or call the museum's office at 205-5051.