Old Sturbridge Village: The Creation Of A Museum

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As a child, it can be difficult to see the weaknesses of a museum; the inaccuracies in facts, clothing, manners, it is not something that one really cares for. However, it can be a dangerous choice for a museum to stay the same, for much like when one fondly remembers a television show from their childhood only to re-watch it ten years later and discover that it was rather ridiculous, when someone returns to a poorly developed museum, there will be a wave of disappointment when it does not meet their expectations. If a museum wishes to succeed and survive, they need to adapt and evolve in order to create the ideal environment for their visitors. The best way something can impact a person is by creating a deep, personal connection to something…show more content…
Wells was trying to decide what to do with his vast collection of antiques, his son, George Wells stated that regular museums were boring and only the elderly took the time to visit anymore. Thus, Old Sturbridge Village came to be. The Wells family wanted to create something new and different from the traditional history museum that seemed to be falling out of favor, much like many of the other living history museums that eventually came to be. The interpretive museums of America, “sought to become “living museums of everyman’s history,” built on the premise that the folklife of a region is historically significant and its material culture should be collected, preserved, studied, and especially interpreted.” Each museum had its own unique characteristic when beginning. While the European museums were similar in general structure, “their energies were directed toward the collection and preservation of artifacts and the documentation of regional culture,” rather than presenting a believable window looking through time. It was more or less up to the American museums to step away from the examples provided by their European counterparts and create a living history experience that was unique and lively. Anderson stated that, “American living museums needed to go further, since their aim was to place their artifacts in a complete social and cultural context, ” and so they did. Plimoth wished to use first person interpretation to intrigue their guests,…show more content…
Ellis claimed, stating that, “history on the continent is dead, beautifully embalmed, but dead… Open-air museums have well-researched, accurately identified buildings but with no depiction of daily life.” Albert B. Well's son, George, held a similar opinion and that was how he convinced his father to create an open-air museum. As Ellis said, living history buildings were accurate, but held no relevant depiction of life, and Sturbridge Village was no exception at the beginning. But with time and research, the museum developed a strong understanding for what it was representing. This is what marks Old Sturbridge Village as one of the staples for living history museums. A point that was often emphasized during m internship training and in Anderson’s article is that the museums evolved to match the need of the visitors and the era they were portraying. In James Deetz’s mind, using a first-person impression in Plimoth was the most effective method of getting their history across. The staff at Sturbridge constantly reminds the interns that it is important to adjust to the needs of the individual, providing a list of various ways to interpret history to the visitors. Living history museums went past the concept that many hold in society that history needs to be taught one way, and recognized that certain people learn differently than others, creating a new approach to historical

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