Museums for All

Please visit the April program page for info on upcoming events. I've highlighted some below, but there's always more to learn.


Earlier this month, some of the sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History joined a national program called "Museums for All." Coordinated by the Association of Children's Museums, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Museums for All participating museums provide free or discounted admission to people who present an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and photo ID. Up to four people can be admitted per card. At participating Trails of History sites, the discounted price is $2 per person and is good for regular admission, not special events or programs. Card holders don't use their EBT card to pay the admission; they present it to show their eligibility for the Museums for All discount.

You'll find a list of PHMC's participating museums on our website. We decided for our initial participation to stick with sites that are connected to our Point-of-Sale admissions system. That will allow us to track Museums for All admissions more easily and to take care of quarterly reporting from our central office in Harrisburg (which also happens to be Trailheads HQ). Please share the information with folks you know who may want to make use of this new discount.

In PHMC's press release announcing our participation, Executive Director Andrea Lowery noted, “At PHMC, we believe a visit to a museum or historic site can inspire the development of new skills and interests, ignite creativity, and enrich social connections. By removing the financial barrier, Museums for All represents a long stride toward the goal of reaching more children and parents and inviting them to take advantage of the valuable learning resources of museums.”


Many people make use of discounts or reduced/free admission when they visit Trails of History sites, such as membership in the site Friends group or the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation or membership in AAA. Reduced admission fees are always in place for seniors and youth, while young children are admitted free of charge (age varies, but it's 3 and under at most sites). PHMC sites participate in the Blue Star Museums program, which provides free admission for active duty military members and their families between Memorial Day and Labor Day; we offer that year-round.

Admission is free to all on Charter Day, the second Sunday of March each year. Individual sites also have free days from time to time, often in cooperation with local organizations or special events. Sites and museums in Erie, Lancaster, and Potter Counties participate in museum pass programs to make free admission available through their local and regional library systems.

World_War_I_reenactor_at_PA_Military_Museum
Courtesy PA Military Museum

This weekend

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
April 14: National Water Dance Ripple Effect—the event begins at Dobbins Landing, then dancers and friends from Mercyhurst University will lead the audience on a performance path to the Erie Maritime Museum, which will host research presentations, poetry, music, dance, children's crafts, and refreshments (more info). Admission is free. Begins at 4 pm at Dobbins Landing.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
April 14: Needle Felting—as of yesterday (4/12) there were still a few spots left, so call NOW if you're interested. Or see if there's room left in classes coming up the rest of the month (see the full list with registration info on Landis Valley's website).

Old Economy Village
April 14: Saturday Craft Programscheck the website for this week's program and others coming up.a variety of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on learning will be presented. Costs and details vary, so check the website for more information.

Pennsbury Manor
April 15: Historic Trades and Open Hearth Cookingcheck the website for details. Included in regular admission. Programming runs 1-4 pm, site open noon-5 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
April 15: 3rd Sunday Series—two programs this month: "Trout Grow on Trees," with staff from the Potter County Conservation District discussing the impact of forest health on trout streams, and "International Dark Skies Week," with PA DCNR staff talking about Cherry Springs State Park and its remarkable dark skies educational programs (more info on both). Included in museum admission (free for members). Trout program starts at 1 pm, dark skies at around 3.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
April 14-15: The Great War Remembered—2018 marks the 100th anniversary of American combat troops fighting in France and the end of World War I. Today's program includes lectures, films, and a living history reenactment on the grounds (check the website for details and updates). 10 am-4 pm each day.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
April 13: Learn at Lunchtime—view the T.M. Fowler bird's eye view maps exhibit through the lens of historic preservation. Included in general admission. 12:15-12:45 pm.
April 14 and 15: Planetarium closedsee website for other schedule info.

5 Things to Keep Your Mind Off the Weather

Please be sure to check the April program page for upcoming events and programs.

So the winter/spring/winter/spring roller coaster continues. I don't know about you, but I'm done. Not going to talk about the weather anymore. Nope. Not me. Let's think about other stuff.

Niagara_captain_throws_curling_stone_on_museum_plaza
U.S. Brig Niagara captain Billy Sabatini throws a curling stone on the Erie Maritime Museum plaza as ship uprig continues (via Facebook)
1) Despite the weather (so I lied), work has commenced to get the U.S. Brig Niagara ready for the 2018 sailing season. Follow U.S. Brig Niagara on Facebook to see more photos (or this video).

2) This year marks the 50th anniversary of the production of The Molly Maguires (released in 1970), parts of which were filmed in a real anthracite patch town during the summer of 1968. The attention and local pride generated an effort to preserve the town, which became Eckley Miners' Village, part of the PHMC's Trails of History. Multiple events are planned to celebrate the occasion and raise funds to support the historic site's programming (check Eckley's Facebook page for more info). In addition, the Hazleton Standard-Speaker wants to hear from people who worked as extras on the film or otherwise have memories from the movie set (learn how to share your memories in this article).

Poster_for_Eckley_Molly_Maguires_event_April_19

3) The National Association for Interpretation (NAI), a professional organization focused on cultural and natural heritage interpreters, is launching a virtual race this summer to raise funds. Participants are encouraged to do a 5K, 10K, or Half Marathon anywhere they like (even a treadmill) any day in June. They're particularly suggesting that people go to their favorite park, hiking trail, or heritage site. I think it's a great way to enjoy the Trails of History. Learn more about how to sign up and get your race bib on NAI's event page. Then pick your favorite Trails of History site and plan your day - please let the site know (or leave a comment on this post) so we can join the fun.

4) John Fea, author, professor, and scheduled speaker for the upcoming PA Museums conference, shared an article recently on his blog, "The Way of Improvement Leads Home," that may be of interest. Sarah Anne Carter's article for the Los Angeles Review of Books, "Scooby Doo in the Museum," explores ways objects and material culture were presented in the popular cartoon series.

5) In honor of Opening Week of Major League Baseball (anyone else watch the Pittsburgh Pirates play baseball in the snow Wednesday night?), the Library of Congress announced the online release of Branch Rickey's papers. As you know if you follow baseball history, Rickey's contributions to the sport include the development of the "farm system" and hiring Jackie Robinson to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Rickey papers include scouting reports for numerous players, such as Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Willie Mays.

On This Day in History - April 6
Innovation Edition

  • 1869 - 1st plastic, Celluloid, patented
  • 1889 - George Eastman begins selling his Kodak flexible rolled film for the first time
  • 1930 - Hostess Twinkies invented by bakery executive James Dewar
  • 1938 - Teflon invented by Roy J. Plunkett
  • 1954 - TV Dinner was 1st put on sale by Swanson & Sons
  • 1980 - Post It Notes introduced

Wrapping Up March

The March program page gets you through tomorrow (I've highlighted some events below) and the April page is ready to go. Please note that Trails of History sites will be closed on Sunday, April 1, for Easter (with the possible exception of Washington Crossing Historic Park - please check their website before heading there).

So, we're at the end of March. I thought I'd share a few items that have come across the radar here at Trailheads HQ but haven't made it into previous posts.

Close-up from tinsmithing workshop at Somerset Historical Center (via Facebook)
I really love this photo. It was posted along with several others from Somerset Historical Center's recent tinsmithing workshop. Roy and Sharon Phillips helped workshop participants learn how to make a variety of tinware forms, including a candle sconce, a drinking mug, and a 3-sided lantern. They used tools from several different eras of tinsmithing, so participants learned skills as well as the history of the craft. Check out Somerset Historical Center's calendar of events for more hands-on classes coming up this spring and summer.

Leadership Lackawanna Core Program participants learn leadership, interpersonal, and managerial skills, as well an understanding of community issues and topics. Jim Lockwood, of the Times-Tribune, recently reported that the Class of 2018 is working with the Anthracite Heritage Museum to mark 250 years of anthracite mining in the U.S. The class members will be procuring a commemorative plaque to be placed at the museum, which documents and interprets Northeast Pennsylvania's history of hard-coal mining, as well as its related industries, businesses, and immigrant culture. The plaque will be dedicated at a cocktail reception on May 10.

As we lurch fitfully into spring (surely, we're just about there), many thoughts turn to gardens and gardening. Chef Walter Staib posted earlier this week that he is preparing an episode of his award-winning Taste of History program featuring the gardens at Pennsbury Manor. Staib's show focuses on 18th-century cuisine and cooking throughout the world, and he filmed scenes for two episodes at Pennsbury back in November (see photos from the shoot). I'm not sure when either will air, but we'll be sure to let you know.

The PHMC has approved 16 new historical markers, commemorating a wide range of people and topics from Pennsylvania's history (full list in press release). To learn more about the Historical Marker Program, including how to submit a person, place, or event for consideration, visit the State Historic Preservation Office marker page. And since we're saying goodbye for now to Women's History Month, check out this list of current markers related to women's history.

Coming up tomorrow, March 31

On This Day in History, March 30