Life in Pictures

We had a special extra post this week, a piece written by BHSM's Collections Advancement Project curator, Rachel Yerger, about hunter Helen Sites Miller and her hunting-related items in the exhibit at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum. If you missed it, please be sure to take a look. As always, the December program page has info on Trails of History events this weekend and beyond.

So, recapping some recent events and looking ahead to some upcoming stuff:

This week marked the 75th anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet Hawaii by aircraft from the Japanese Imperial Navy. The State Museum of PA opened a new exhibit, Pennsylvania at War: The Saga of the USS Pennsylvania, exploring the history of PA's eponymous battleship during World War I and World War II. And the Pennsylvania Military Museum hosted its annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day tribute beneath two 14-inch guns that were on the USS Pennsylvania at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Local news covered the event (Centre Daily Times article and footage from WTAJ-TV), which included US Navy CPT Jim Bloom (Ret), a Marine Corps League color guard, a 21-Gun salute by the Nittany Navy League, and "Taps" played by a US Navy bugler.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance at PA Military Museum 2016
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day tribute, PA Military Museum 2016 (photo courtesy PMM)
On Veterans Day, staff and volunteers from the Erie Maritime Museum and US Brig Niagara were on hand at Presque Isle State Park provide interpretation on Erie's military history. During the remainder of November, the Museum was a collection point for personal care items for members of the armed forces (included in earlier Trailheads post). As a follow-up, the museum's Linda Bolla reported: "Thanks to the generosity of many in November, the Presque Isle Partnership, Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC), and the Erie Maritime Museum partnered to collect enough comfort items for active duty service men and women to fill 32 boxes! Every box contained letters of thanks, written by students at Harborcreek Youth Services, Maplewood Jr. & Sr. High School, or visitors to TREC. A cash donation by the City of Erie helped purchase additional items not donated during the drive, and Erie V.F.W. Post 470 paid to ship the boxes, most destined for overseas military personnel from Northwestern Pennsylvania." Thank you all for your role in this effort.

Personal items collected for service members
Boxes ready for shipment
Photos by Linda Bolla

Candlelight at Pennsbury Holly Nights 2016
Holly Nights 2016 via Pennsbury Manor Facebook page

Members of the Pittsburgh Opera Company performed at Old Economy Village's annual fundraising dinner this week. (Visit Old Economy's Facebook page to hear more.)

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum shared Jennifer MacNeill Photography's album of images from last weekend's Country Christmas Village event. If you've enjoyed Jen's photos of Landis Valley (and other sites) in the past, you'll want to take a look. And if you haven't enjoyed them in the past, you'll want to start now. In my opinion.

There are lots of programs this weekend on the Trails of History (check the December page for details). I'll leave you with this snowy photo from Erie, taken yesterday (12/8) - perfect weather for the 2016 Christmas Tree Ship program.

Snow in Erie December 8 2016
Niagara under winter cover, Dec. 8, 2016, awaiting the arrival of Santa (from Facebook)

Historic hunting: Helen Sites Miller excelled at male-dominated pastime

Helen Sites Miller, an active hunter in the Potter County area throughout the 1950s, posing with her catch.
Many sportsmen have descend upon the more than 2 million acres of state-managed land open to recreational hunting and trapping. Welcome to deer hunting season in Pennsylvania. But don’t let the term “sportsmen” throw you off. Many women, as well as men, excel at hunting. For example, in this photo from the collections of the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, we see Helen Sites Miller, an active hunter in the Potter County area throughout the 1950s, posing with her catch. This photograph was taken around 1957-1958 in Thompson Hollow, a community situated between Coudersport and Galeton in Potter County. The rifle depicted in the photograph is a Remington Winchester lever-action Model 94, .30-30, which Helen used for hunting through the early 1960s.

In order for Helen to legally hunt doe in Pennsylvania, she had to have a hunting license, obtained then and now through the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). Created in 1895 PGC enforces hunting and trapping laws and regulations. In addition, PGC conducts hunter-trapper educational programs, determines the various hunting seasons, sets bag limits and conducts wildlife research. Licenses vary according to season and type of animal, and if a licensed hunter is as skilled as Miller, the catch must be reported to PGC.

You may be wondering why the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum preserves hunting-related artifacts. The museum collects, preserves and interprets the history of Pennsylvania’s forests, which includes recreational activities such as hunting. This photograph of Helen Sites Miller is currently on display at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, along with her rifle and hunting license.

We thank Rachel Yerger, a museum Curator with the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission’s Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums, for writing this article.


Be sure to check out the December programs page for all your holiday needs.

This Sunday (12/4) at 2 pm, the State Museum of PA will open a new exhibit, Pennsylvania at War: The Saga of the USS Pennsylvania. On view through the end of 2017, the exhibit explores the history of Pennsylvania's namesake ship during World War I and World War II (there have been several - earlier and later - that carried the name). The exhibit also inaugurates PHMC's most recent history initiative, "Pennsylvania at War," commemorating the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into WWI (2017) and the 75th anniversary of entry into WWII (2016). On a related note, the Pennsylvania Military Museum will hold its annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day tribute on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 12:45 pm. The event (rain or shine) takes place beneath two 14-inch guns from USS Pennsylvania. The ship was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. You can read more about USS Pennsylvania and about how the Pennsy guns ended up at the PA Military Museum in the Fall 2016 issue of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine.

Earlier this week, the State Museum shared a short clip of curators and exhibit staff installing a detailed scale model of USS Pennsylvania in the gallery (see below). I've included a photo of the Pennsy Guns at PMM to give you an idea of the size of the ship.

2015 Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute (photo by Chuck Smith)

So, if this kind of activity - museum and archival work - appeals to you, there are currently three PA State Civil Service Commission tests open to fill jobs with the PHMC. They're called tests, but they're more of a resume restatement around a series of pre-qualifying factors (I ain't been a bureaucrat for more than 20 years for nothin'). Anyway, those who successfully pre-qualify are placed on a list from which interviews are scheduled when a civil service job opening is filled. (Unless you are in a PA civil service classification that allows you to bid on a job opening, you MUST be on the list to be eligible for consideration.) The timetables and requirements vary, so please be sure to read and follow all instructions carefully. Each test announcement includes info on existing vacancies, but these lists will be used for future openings as well (until the list is exhausted or expires). So don't wait!!