Storrowton Village Offers an Interactive Insight into the Wide Impact of the Civil War

A comprehensive experiential educational program for families to gain insight into major American historical event.

The American Civil War obviously had huge impact on the field of battle. At Storrowton Village, families are offered an interactive insight into the challenges people faced during the war beyond the battlefields.

Often generalized as the war that ended slavery, the Civil War was an incredibly challenging time for Americans – whether or not they were fighting on the front lines. In both the north and the south, communities experienced many wartime difficulties. Many supplies were scarce, community members were absent, and many lives were lost.

On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, Storrowton Village in West Springfield, MA, will offer an informative and experiential educational program for families. Storrowton and the Civil War is an interactive tour of the historic village, providing an inside look at what wartime life was like for villages in the north. While exploring the village, visitors will meet various community members – all of whom will share stories of how they’ve experienced the effects of war, despite remaining at home in Massachusetts. 

Beginning in the Storrowton Meetinghouse, the tour will kick off with a recruitment meeting, where visitors will experience the patriotic enthusiasm that recruiters brought to small towns in order to encourage more men to agree to leave home and fill in the holes in army regiments. Next, the tour will take visitors to a blacksmith’s shop, where workers will discuss the increase in demand for manufactured goods they’ve experience thanks to the war.

The remainder of the tour will focus on some of the many negative effects of the war. Unlike the patriotic recruiters and busy manufacturers, many other community members experienced only the negative effects of the Civil War. At the Potter Mansion, women will teach visitors about their jobs sewing clothing – in high demand thanks to shortages in goods. Next, the tour will stop by the Potter General Store to hear the shopkeeper discuss his difficulty in obtaining supplies. Finally, the tour will end at the Gilbert Farmstead, where visitors will join the Gilbert family in preparing for a wake held to honor a family member killed in battle.

Held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Storrowton and the Civil War paints an accurate portrait of late 19th-century wartime life. Overall, the war made life difficult – there were shortages in both goods and workers, families often lost multiple members, and sacrifices of all kinds were made by everyone.

Participating in the tour will provide older students with a lifelike portrayal of a Civil War-era community, and will allow them to better understand what life was like during a war for those who didn’t fight. Often, we are taught about wars as being a series of major battles and don’t learn to consider the other effects of such a major historic event. By visiting Storrowton Village for this special event, students will be provided with information essential to understanding the Civil War (and war in general) as a major event, the effects of which are incredibly far-reaching.

Before deciding to attend, families should consider the fact that the tour will include graphic descriptions and some violence, and may not be appropriate for all children. In order to take part in the tour, families must contact the village at 413-205-5051 or storrowton@thebige.com to make reservations. Tickets are $8 per person.

Photo credit: NTIS.gov

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