Join the Discoverer Program at Sherbrooke Village
Disclosure: Our Family received an opportunity to try out the Discoverer Program at Sherbrooke Village in exchange for telling others about this amazing program. All opinions are our own.
Sherbrooke Village has been on my bucket list to visit for a few years. I remember visiting as a child, but we hadn’t gone there with the family yet. Because it’s about a 3.5hour drive from the Valley, you really need to stay overnight in the area.
This summer we finally decided to make it happen.
When I reached out to the museum to let them know we would be coming and would be writing about our experiences, they offered us the opportunity to partake in the Discoverer Program, dressing in 1860s clothing, participating in activities throughout the village.
Fearing rejection, I asked my family if they would be willing to participate, and to my surprise, they agreed, adding they would fully immerse themselves into the experience.
Before we arrived, we sent off our measurements, and waited to hear what our day would involve.
Little did we know just how much of an incredible experience we would have.
When we arrived, each dressing room was arranged with clothing in just our sized, and as soon as we put them on, we literally felt like we were putting on a second skin and were instantly transported back to 1867.
A few fears were instantly quelled. We did NOT have to wear woolens in the winter. Secondly, we were not required to role play, which was one of the boys’ fears.
However, we were told the more we immersed ourselves into the role, the better time we would have. Were they ever right!
It was hard not to think you were actually a villagerwhen you are parading around town in a hoop skirt or britches!
When we were ready, we were given our itineraries for the day which had been carefully mapped out before we arrived based on our ages and interests. Everyone who participates in the program would get a customized program!
We started our day at the Ambrotype Photography studio, which is one of the only places in Canada to still use this old technology of printing on glass prints!
The staff knew we were there celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary, so as a surprise gesture, they gifted us with a gorgeous card designed and made in the print shop and signed by all the staff! And it included a free photo session with just my husband and I – a rare treat for the two of us!
What an incredible gesture, and just a glimpse at the character of the amazing people who work at Sherbrooke Village who go above and beyond to create a wonderful experience for visitors!
What you can’t see is that there are metal rods behind us to keep us in position, as we couldn’t move for a good 14 seconds!
Do I ever look like my grandmother!
We were each given a bound booklet that outlined our schedule for the day. Some of our activities were together, while I went off on my own to partake in duties fit for a proper lady!
David and the boys started at the tailor’s shop where they sewed sails before heading to the woodworking shop to finish building a schooner.
Later in the day they got to be apprentice to a potter and tried kicking the wheel and making a creation. This will later be mailed to us when it is fired and ready!
My first activity was at the print shop – perhaps selected, or maybe coincidentally because – I am a journalist for the newspaper as well!
Here, I worked under Denise who helped me typeset a poster, and set it up on the printer to be inked!
I learned that I am so glad for modern technology as I don’t think I would have had the patience to be a typesetter!
In the afternoon, I visited with socialite Mrs. Cumminger in her manor where I practiced my embroidery skills.
We all met up at the school house for some deportment lessons from the school mistress.
Then to the hotel for high tea! We also had a lovely lunch here at the hotel where they serve up old-fashioned meals of soups, sandwiches, cakes and ginger beer and rhubarb soda!
It was a royal treat!
At the end of the day, we wandered the village on our own, popping into the buildings we had yet to visit.
At this point, I gave the boys the option of changing back into their regular clothes before exploring further, but they wanted to keep their costumes on for as long as possible!
When the day was over, and the museum was about to close, we had to head back to regretfully change back into our modern clothes. Although, I would never get used to a hoop skirt and not being able to hoist it up!
Sherbrooke Village is a dog-friendly museum, which is one of the major reasons we decided to make a family trip here! All dogs are welcome on leashes and most buildings have water bowls out for them.
When it came to eating, we ate on the front porch so we could stay with him!
Digby even got a lovely bow for his costume!
Activities for Children
If you are exploring the museum on your own, there are several different types of scavenger hunts for kids to enjoy. And, if little ones get tired from walking, there are some wagons to borrow!
There are so many hands-on activities and demonstrations throughout the day, that there is tons for kids to enjoy and keep busy!
And you may happen upon a tea party in one of the buildings or even a chance to help make and taste ice cream!
Besides the Discoverer Program we participated in, there is also an Explorer Program. Here, you can dress up in period costumes and wander the museum on your own, without the prepared activities.
Also, you can sign up for various workshops or camps that happen throughout the season. Take in a concert or come back for their Christmas celebrations.
Hours, Admission and Time to Explore
A tour of Historic Sherbrooke Village typically takes approximately 2 hours. Visitors have been known, however, to take anywhere from an hour to a full day depending on how engrossed they become in experiencing village activities.
One of the common comments from visitors is that they wish they had more time to spend at the museum.
If you are able, spend an entire day at Sherbrooke Village!
Admission rates for the various programs as well as the hours are found on the website.
It is about 3.5 hours from Kentville to Sherbrooke Village, or about 50 minutes from Antigonish.
When we went, we drove to Dartmouth and followed Route 7 along the Eastern Shore. This is a beautiful drive along the coast, but is quite windy.
On the way home, we continued along Route 7 up to Antigonish and took the highway home from here, which only added an extra 5-10 minutes to our journey.
Looking for a place to stay in the area? Consider staying at Liscombe Lodge, a family and dog-friendly place, just 20 minutes away!
Overall, we cannot tell you how much of an amazing day we had, and it far exceeded anything we could have imagined. It was well organized from start to finish, and carefully laid out for our day of discovery.
The staff is so incredibly friendly and welcomed us into their village. It was also wonderful to see how they interacted with each other, as many of them had been working there for over 20 years!
“This was the best interactive museum experience I have ever had!” says David, a history professor, who has traveled the world visiting museum.
We cannot recommend a visit to Sherbrooke Village highly enough. And, if you are going, to consider taking part in the Discoverer Program, which is at least one-of-a-kind in the province, if not country.
It will be a family experience of a lifetime!