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Old Sturbridge Village, Muster Day

September 2, 2023 @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm EDT

To supplement the meager armed forces, most early 19th-century farmers and craftsmen were required by law to serve in local militia units – the forerunner of today’s National Guard. Fall militia musters often saw the various militia companies of several towns coming together for a regimental muster. These would have been grand spectacles with townspeople coming out to view visiting militia companies in their dashing uniforms. Come and join us for our fall muster day and cheer on your favorite militia company!

  • Talk to members of two uniformed volunteer militia companies.
  • Listen to early 19th-century martial music.
  • Watch musket and cannon firing demonstrations
  • See a “Sham Fight” as rival militia companies square off against each other in the field.
  • Our young visitors will get the chance to learn early 19th-century drill and marching with the militia officer’s instruction and a toy musket.
  • See the “striped pig” and learn how it was used to skirt the early 19th-century liquor laws.
  • Learn why many New Englanders were pushing for reforms to the militia system and the role that intemperance played in those reforms.

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Men in militia uniform lined up by a fence

Did you know?

  • The 1792 Militia Act stated that every able-bodied white man from ages 18 to 45 was liable for militia service. Exemptions were granted for government officials, pacifists, and people of certain occupations. All men liable for service had to provide their own equipment: a musket and bayonet, a cartridge box containing 24 rounds of ammunition and two flints, and a knapsack.
  • While commonly associated with Christmas today, gingerbread was a favorite treat enjoyed during early 19th century muster days. We’ll have fresh gingerbread available for purchase outside the Miner Grant Store (while supplies last!)


September 2, 2023
9:30 am - 5:00 pm EDT


Old Sturbridge Village
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road
Sturbridge, MA 01566
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(800) 733-1830
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