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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: September 10, 2013

Back in time (for 24 hours): Live-in history experience at Washburn-Norlands

Written by: Shannon Bryan

Who hasn’t wished for a time machine? Maybe you’d like to undo one particular decision (a haircut, a tattoo, a husband). Maybe you’d like to relive that glorious period from 1984-1993, when you fit into single-digit pant sizes and didn’t have a mortgage to worry about.

The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center can’t really make that happen for you. Sorry. But they, in their own living history way, can help you go back in time. And I mean way back.

The center is offering a Live-in History Experience at their 19th century farm and museum in Livermore from September 27-28. This two-day adventure will immerse attendees in 19th century life – from the wood stoves to the colloquialisms. There will be no cell phones, but there will be quill pens, farm meals, and chores. Just like they used to do!

From the press release:

The Live-In History Experience is an overnight introduction to the food, activities, and living conditions of the past and a unique and fun way of learning about rural Maine farm life after the Civil War.  Here’s a sampling of what to expect for 24 hours:

-Fully participate in an experiential 19th-century living history program
-Assume the character of someone who actually lived near the Norlands in the 19th century and become a part of a farm family
– Learn appropriate behavior and customs, speech and colloquialisms of the time
-Use 19th century farm implements and discover the challenges of cooking on a wood stove
– Learn the realities of 19th century farm life by participating in indoor and outdoor chores.  Feed the chickens, gather eggs, pump water from the well, harvest vegetables, muck stalls, and more!
– Play period games and listen to stories in the evening. 
– Relax on the piazza and soak in the tranquility and beauty of Norlands
– Go back to the basics of reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic in the District #7 one-room schoolhouse. 
– Practice your penmanship with a quill pen.  
– Tour the 1867 Washburn family mansion and hear about this remarkable Livermore family
– Perhaps enjoy a humorous neighborly visit from “Mercy Lovejoy”, a pauper living on the town farm
– Stay in an authentic reproduction of an 1870’s Farmer’s Cottage with old-fashioned beds
– Three authentic farm meals, evening snack, one night’s lodging, and instructional materials
Fees are $125 per adult and $95.00 for ages 12 and under.  Sign up by September 13.  Space is limited to a maximum of 15 participants. 

For safety reasons, the physical activities, and the need to participate, this program is open to adults and children age 9 and older.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.   Live-ins last a full 24 hours, from 2:30 pm one day to 2:30 pm the following day.  For more information please call 207-897-4366, email, or visit our website,

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