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Don’t Miss: Muster Day at Old Sturbridge Village

Thursday, May 30, 2013

 

Old Sturbridge Village celebrates the role of citizen soldiers in early New England by re-creating an old-fashioned “Muster Day” on Saturday June 8, featuring the 1812 Marine Guard from Boston’s USS Constitution, the Oxford Light Infantry, Revolutionary War reenactors, and the Sturbridge Militia. The soldiers will demonstrate marching, drilling, military music, musket-firing, and will face off in mock battles. Young visitors can learn to drill and march as well, using toy guns. Later, the militia officer will guide these "new recruits" in their own mock battle. In addition, active U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families get free admission to the museum, funded by donations to the Village's "Field of Flags."

As part of Muster Day festivities, OSV historians will also reenact an 1830s-era "caricature military parade" where farmers and militia members marched about wearing humorous, outlandish, and farcical costumes to poke fun of outdated militia laws and urge reform. In the early 1800s, farmers and craftsmen in each town were “called to muster” twice a year and spent a day in training to maintain the readiness of their local militia. But in addition to training, there were also social aspects to Muster Days.

Although men did march, drill and work on their military maneuvers, Muster Days were also a chance to socialize, to spend a day away from regular chores, and to have some fun with neighbors and friends. Along these lines, the Village will recreate a traditional “striped pig” tent, which was a way to skirt laws banning alcohol sales in the late 1830s. Those thirsting for an alcoholic drink could pay a few cents to enter a tent to see a “striped pig” and also get a "free" shot of rum. Although OSV will have a real striped pig, lemonade will be substituted for the rum.

To add to the Muster Day fun, Old Sturbridge Village will serve gingerbread, which was a tradition at early New England celebrations, and will host a contest for visitors to guess how many musket balls are displayed in a keg. The winner will receive a punched tin lantern hand-made at the Village Tin Shop.

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 visit: http://www.osv.org or call 1-800-SEE-1830. For information: http://www.osv.org or call 800-733-1830.
 

 

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