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Old Sturbridge Village, Muster Day

May 6, 2023 @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm EDT

Join us for our spring Muster Day to learn about militia history and see demonstrations of marching, musket and cannon firing, martial music, and target practice.

Special demonstrations and activities will include marching, musket and cannon firing, and a performance by the Old Sturbridge Academy Fife and Drum Corps. Gingerbread, a popular Muster Day treat in the 1830s, will also be for sale outside of Miner Grant–while supplies last!

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. Twice a year, these citizen-soldiers were “called to muster” for a day of training in their town. Old Sturbridge Village re-creates a typical Muster Day and celebrates our local military history. Demonstrations will include marching, musket and cannon firing, and target practice.


Men in militia uniform lined up by a fence

Did you know?

  • The 1792 Militia Act stated required nearly all white men from 18-45 to serve in the militia as part of their civic obligation to their communities. Indigenous Peoples and people of color were explicitly barred from serving in the militia, ensuring the primacy of white manhood as an important element of citizenship.
  • All men liable for service in early 19th-century New England 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.


May 6, 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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