And the roundup continues...

I keep seeing interesting things I want to share here, so that's what I'm doing. The May program page is available if you're looking for something to do this weekend. And if you're one of those people that plans ahead (you know who you are), there's a list of sites that will be open on May 30 for Memorial Day.

Voting ends at midnight tonight (May 6) for Washington Crossing Historic Park's "Parkitecture" photo contest. They've posted the finalists on Facebook.

Nicole Belolan tweeted this and other photos from Somerset's coopering workshop
Somerset Historical Center held their annual coopering workshop last weekend. Experienced coopers teach their skills to folks who come from far and wide and leave with a finished (or nearly finished) maple sap bucket (or "keeler" as it's called in Somerset County). Nicole Belolan, a Ph.D. candidate in the History of American Civilization program at the Univ. of Delaware, attended with her husband, Tyler Putnam, and tweeted a number of photos as the weekend progressed. As it happens, Nicole is also a former PHMC Keystone intern. The Somerset Daily American also shared photos from the workshop, which continues to draw participants with a variety of reasons for learning this centuries-old trade.

PHMC's info specialist Sean Adkins and PA Heritage editor Kyle Weaver took one of their signature Trails of History road trips last week, visiting Pennsbury Manor. Lots of behind-the-scenes photos and video on Twitter, gathered on Storify for easy viewing.

Museum educator Michael Showalter recently spoke with abc27's Amy Kehm about one of Ephrata Cloister's historical personalities, Mother Maria Eicher. Michael explained Eicher's leadership in the community and its relation to Conrad Beissel's belief system. You can watch it here on abc27's website.

Global War on Terrorism memorial at PA Military Museum (photo by Charlie Fox)
A new monument was recently installed on the grounds of PA Military Museum - The 28th Infantry Division Global War on Terrorism Memorial. Funds for the memorial, which honors soldiers of the 28th killed in designated anti-terrorism operations since Sept. 2001, were raised through donations. The memorial will be dedicated at the annual Celebration of Service event at the Military Museum on Sunday, May 22, 2016. (You can find photos from PMM's recent WWI event, "The Great War Remembered," on Facebook.)

News Roundup for a New Month

As we're on the cusp of April and May, the program pages for both are up at the same time (April programs here, May programs here). Be sure to take a look to see what's what on the Trails of History.


The Pennsylvania State Archives will offer "Archives without Tears," their popular 2-day workshop on archival management and care, twice in the weeks ahead - May 24-25 at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum and June 16-17 at the Blair County Genealogical Society. The cost at each location is $30 for both days or $20 for either day (the program is different each day); registration fees include lunch, so it's quite a deal. Register by contacting the location you wish to attend. (You'll find an image of the brochure and more info here and a downloadable version of the brochure and registration form on Blair County Genealogical Society's website.)

Speaking of the State Archives, plans for a new building were announced earlier this week. PHMC has been working with the City of Harrisburg and others to secure property on which to build an updated and expanded facility to house the commonwealth's permanently valuable records and make them available for research. Tuesday's announcement (read about it on PennLive) included the fact that the new building will also house city archives and make them more readily available to the public. The project is expected to take about 4 years to complete; Archives staff are already preparing for the move to the new building.

Download the International Museum Day 2016 poster from ICOM

For those of you who combine a love of museums with a love of Twitter, May has not one, but two, days you should know about. May 12 is Museum Memories Day (#MusMem), where you are asked to share your favorite memories (recent or not-so-recent) of museums you've visited or work with. And May 18 is International Museum Day (#MuseumDay2016), an opportunity for museums all over the world to showcase their programs, exhibits, communities, what have you. UPDATE:May 25 is #MusFavObjects day - share a photo of your favorite museum object with the Twitterverse. Check out PHMC's Twitter account (@PHMC) throughout May (or anytime, for that matter) to see what sites on the Trails of History are sharing. I'll also try to share here on Trailheads or my own Twitter account (@AmyKFox).

The latest edition of PHMC's collections-focused blog, Pennsylvania Treasures, features a 19th-century weathervane that doubled as a commercial sign for blacksmith W. Gerfin. The post was written by Jennifer Royer, who co-curated the new Weathervane exhibit at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum. The exhibit, "Weathervanes: Three Centuries of a Pennsylvania Folk Art Tradition," will be on view through December.

If you read Trailheads regularly, you know that I usually encourage folks to vote in the now-annual Museum Dance Off competition (now in its third year as #MDO3). The first round of match-ups is drawing to a close and earlier this week we had a chance to vote for the Chemical Heritage Foundation's video. The focus of the video was an array of women who pursued research in the sciences (some I'd heard of, some I hadn't). Our own Dr. Joseph Priestley (whose American home is part of the PHMC Trails of History) made a cameo appearance (folks from the Chemical Heritage Foundation have supported projects at Priestley House on many occasions). Unfortunately, the video came in 2nd for Round 1, Day 7, so it will not move on to Round 2, which starts on Monday.

Celebrating Earth Day on the Trails of History

If you're looking for ways to enjoy this April weather, be sure to check out the April program page.

Today's post comes from frequent guest blogger Linda Bolla, writing about the Erie Maritime Museum's participation in the local expression of a project called "National Water Dance." The event took place last weekend. I also want to note that Eckley Miners' Village worked with folks from their local Keystone Job Corps Center to plant a tree in honor of Earth Day (I believe this is the second year (or more) that they've done this).

Water Dancers from coast to coast created a “movement choir,” performing simultaneously to draw attention to pressing water issues in the United States. Using the power of art and performance, the goal is to help create a national water ethic that can inform and inspire both performers and audience to take responsibility for conserving and protecting the water we use and enjoy.


The Erie Committee (led by Mercyhurst University Associate Professor of Dance Solveig Santilliano) subtitled the local event “The Ripple Effect” to emphasize our hope that the event would create a ripple throughout Erie, educating the community on water issues and suggesting steps the community can take to improve local water quality.

All participants performed in or near a significant body of water in their own community, so it was no surprise the dance in Erie began at Dobbins Landing, the oldest historic and most accessible pier on Erie Harbor.

Water Dancers at Erie's Dobbins Landing pier (photo by Mark Santilliano)

Performers and audience, led by saxophonist Kevin Timko, then processed along the waterfront to the Erie Maritime Museum, pausing for bits of theater along their way. When the audience arrived, they were greeted by dancers performing vignettes in six separate spaces in the Museum. Unique to the Erie event was the diversity of artistic offerings. In addition to dance, the Museum hosted a visual and sculptural art exhibit (on the 1st Floor through May 8th), the Delaware Gap Jazz Combo, and demonstrating artist, Keiko Miller, who created Japanese screens illustrating the water cycle and incorporating her students’ calligraphy and origami.

Dancers in the Museum's main gallery (photo by Mark Santilliano)
An enthusiastic audience member joins in the dancing (photo by Dana Borczon)

After the audience flowed through the Museum and lobby, where Mercyhurst University student ambassadors led a rainstick activity for children, the event culminated in a main stage celebration, showcasing Mercyhurst University dancers, musicians and vocalists, as well as dancers from many other Erie dance studios. The program was woven around narrative by Dr. Amy Parente of the university’s Chemistry Department, with poetic interludes provided by the middle-school winners of the NW Pennsylvania Poetry Contest.

"Down to the River to Pray," performed by Mercyhurst Dancers (photo by Mark Santilliano)

So, are you inspired yet? Happy Earth Day – and make every day, earth day.