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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that isn't answered on this page, feel free to reach out at storrow@thebige.com

General Questions

When can I visit?

Outside of early summer and The Big E, Storrowton Village is not regularly open to the public to allow us to provide the best educational programming possible. We host several events throughout the year, which you can check out here, and offer tours by appointment during the fall and spring. If you would like to schedule a tour, email storrow@thebige.com or call 413.205.5051.

We are open all 17 days of The Big E from 10 AM - 9 PM.

Where are you located?

We are located along the Avenue of States within the Eastern States Exposition. When coming to Storrowton Village outside of fairtime, please enter through Gate 1 and let them know you are going to Storrowton Village Museum.

Are you affiliated with Storrowton Tavern?

Short Answer: No. The Tavern is separate from the Village and they can be contacted at (413) 732-4188.

Although the Tavern operates on its own as a functioning restaurant, it is composed of two historic buildings that were once a part of Storrowton Village, which you can read about here.

Where are the closest bathrooms?

The closest restrooms can be found in the green building behind the Gift Shop, located across from the Gate 2 Entrance.

How do I volunteer with the Village?

We have two volunteer programs: a blacksmithing program, and a general volunteer program! Our blacksmithing program reopens in March every year to a limited number of new volunteers. Our general volunteer program reopens every summer for The Big E! You can apply here.

Is the museum wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately, only two of Storrowton Village's buildings are wheelchair accessible: the Meeting House and the Blacksmith Shop. If you contact us at storrow@thebige.com, we can work with your access needs to give you the best experience possible.

Big E Questions

Can I come to the Village during The Big E without purchasing Big E tickets?

No. During The Big E, our buildings are only open to fairgoers.

We are open 10 AM - 9 PM all 17 days of the fair.

Visiting Storrowton Village Museum during The Big E is free.

Event Questions

I bought a ticket to an event but can no longer attend, can I get a refund?

We cannot offer refunds; however, we can provide credit toward future events.

If you email storrow@thebige.com from the email address used to purchase your tickets PRIOR to the event, we will welcome you to return for another program of equal value between now and one year after the date of your original ticketed event. Additionally, your tickets could be applied toward a General Tour of Storrowton Village Museum at no additional cost.

Museum Questions

Potter Mansion

Where did the cat statues come from?
The cat statues are replicas! On the bottom of the cat it says, “Replicas of Early American Chalkware Liberty Workshop”. They were made in Great Neck, NY and are vintage.

What was the settle (settee) used for?
The settee was used for a couple different things! One use was as a seat, but another use was blocking heat in. You may have noticed the wooden arms that swing out in the kitchen, very close to the ceiling. Those are called Blanket Arms, and they would have had blankets hung up on them. In combination with the settee's high back, it would have created a little room in front of the fireplace that held in a lot of heat.

What are the small holes above and next to the doors for?
This has been a mystery that has plagued Storrowton staff for as long as the Potter Mansion has been here. Theories have ranged from construction marks and “blueprints” of a sort to Captain Potter throwing the future caretakers of the house for a loop.

What is in the lidded box next to the pianoforte?
The lidded box next to the pianoforte is a concertina! Concertinas were independently developed in both England and Germany, and made their way over into the United States (as well as the rest of Europe) in the 1840’s. There were two types of concertinas: the English Concertina and the Anglo-German concertina. The English Concertina was much more finely made and far more expensive than the mass produced Anglo-German concertina. The Anglo-German concertina was, however, much more widely available in the United States, and remained a very popular instrument from the late 1840’s up until the early 1900’s.
Here is a great website to check out their history! http://www.concertina.com/history/index.htm

School House

Where in Whately was the school?
The North Center School used to be on North Street in Whately, MA.

What is the little door in the front entryway?
It’s important to note that the front entryway vestibule was taken from a different 19th century school house in Vergennes, VT to fulfill Helen Storrow's vision. That little door up those two stairs leads to an attic space. Today we use it as a storage room, but back then that would have been used as either a storage room or a living area! If it was a male teacher, he would have been able to live up there. Female teachers would not have been allowed to live on their own, and therefore would not have been able to utilize that space as a living area.

How were teachers educated? What were their qualifications? What were state standards for teaching?
Requirements for education and state standards for teaching changed dramatically from the beginning to end of the 19th century. It’s important to note that our North Center School was used as a one room school house from 1810 - 1912, and saw many of these changes. In the 1820s, most teachers were noted to have no education beyond what they learned in their one room schoolhouse. As the century continued into the 1830s, schoolteachers were seen as instructors of morals and manners. It is in the 1830’s that many states began to put in place requirements for teachers including but not limited to basic academic competence and attendance at summer institutes for ongoing training. Many local areas did not require students to be taught anything beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic.

One thing that popped up in the 1830s was Normal Schools. The first state sponsored Normal School was in 1839 and they trained teachers beyond the simple grammar school education; however, these Normal Schools were short-lived. Around the turn of the 20th century, reformers sought to professionalize teaching with education courses in regular colleges and universities. While Normal Schools faded, they did show states the importance of preparatory courses for teachers.
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