Old Sturbridge Village celebrates Mother's DayMay 9, 2012
STURBRIDGE Moms get free admission on Mother's Day May 13 at Old Sturbridge Village (OSV), and family-friendly activities are planned throughout the day.
The first 200 mothers to arrive will receive a free gift either a heart-shaped cookie cutter handmade in the Village Tin Shop, or a small historical redware flower pot made by the museum's potters (with fluted edges handmade by visiting children).
Mother's Day highlights will include a special "Moms vs. Kids" tug of war contest on the Village Common, a scavenger hunt centered on 1830s child care, and a variety of "make and take" crafts for children.
Modern moms can learn about early parenting and childbirth practices from interpreters portraying 19th-century domestic advice author Lydia Maria Child and 1830s midwife Lucy Tucker.
Members of the "Maternal Association" will discuss the joys and challenges of raising children early New England, and OSV historians will demonstrate sewing and knitting.
A special Mother's Day Brunch will be served at the museum's Oliver Wight Tavern (reservations required).
According to OSV historians, mothers in the 19th century were household managers, and children were an important part of the workforce.
"Children were assigned chores, and were expected to contribute to the household," Deb Friedman, vice president of public program at OSV, said.
Tasks typically handled by children in early New England included gathering eggs and firewood, hauling water, weeding the garden, gathering berries, picking apples, mucking out stalls, and emptying chamber pots.
Girls and boys were taught to sew and knit, which was a good way for children to develop their fine motor skills.
In the kitchen, children would help out by churning butter, pounding sugar, sifting flour, and stoning raisins (removing the seeds).
Boys as young as 9 or 10 were taught to "drive" a team of oxen, directing them to pull, haul, and plow on the farm by using a series of hand signals and voice commands.
Children would also pluck chickens, and feed the pigs and other farm animals.
One of the most important chores for children in the larger families of the 19th century was watching their younger siblings.
Many mothers had their children over a 20-year span, so there was often an infant at home when the family's oldest child was entering adulthood.
OSV is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is $24 for adult, $22 for seniors $22 and $8 for children age 3 to 17.
For times and details of all OSV activities visit www.osv.org
or call 1-800-SEE-1830.