Document Type



This thesis explores a challenge that living history museums currently face of being tied to a specific time and place but needing to attract and interact with changing 21st century visitors. One way that museums combat this challenge is through an engaging visitor experience. To explore this issue, Old Sturbridge Village is used as a case study. It is a living history museum, depicting the 1830s, that is located in central Massachusetts. OSV was founded in 1946. The research is coupled with literature on museum visitor experiences. This mixed methods study utilizes interviews of employees at the museum, participant observation of meetings, and content analysis of social media pages, signage, and magazines/brochures. Through these methods, the balancing act that museums undertake is examined. Finally, recommendations for continued engagement with 21st century visitors are made.