One More September Weekend

I've been updating the September program listings post, but I still missed a couple of events. The October preview isn't fully baked yet, so I'm also noting items below that you might want to consider before the next Trailheads.

Garden at Eckley Miners' Village last week. Info on how to enter Eckley's fall foliage photo contest is on the website
 (photo by AKF)
In addition to other activities going on at Pennsbury Manor this coming Sunday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation will host a reception for members. Meet Kyle Weaver, the new editor of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine, and take a tour with site administrator Doug Miller. Free to PHF members or included in site admission. Pennsbury is open noon to 5 pm on Sunday, with living history and beer brewing activities scheduled from 1 to 4 pm. The PHF reception will take place from 2 to 4 pm, with the director's tour at 3 pm.

UPDATED INFO (another item I missed): The Hardtackers, a folk music group known for their renditions of old and new sea shanties, will perform a free, family-friendly concert Saturday, Sept. 27, while they film a concert DVD. The concert will take place at 7:30 pm in Hirt Auditorium at the Erie Maritime Museum. Monday, Sept. 29, (and the last Monday of each month) is Story Time at the Maritime. Erie Maritime Museum will present the program at 10 am; this month's featured book is The Littlest Lighthouse Keeper. Attendees will have a chance to meet and greet guest reader Lance the Lighthouse Keeper and take a tour of the museum. More info is available on the museum's Facebook page.

Graeme Park's Lunch & Learn Lecture Series kicks off on Wednesday, October 1, and continues on Oct. 8 and 15. The program for October 1 is "Your Appointment with Dr. Benjamin Rush," featuring Dr. Jim Miller as Dr. Rush, discussing the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. The program fee is $20 per lecture or $50 for the series; each program includes continental breakfast, lecture, lunch, and a tour of the Keith House. More details are available on the program flyer.

Tickets for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania's annual Garden Railways Tour (Sunday, Oct. 5) are on sale now at the museum and at Stauffer's of Kissel Hill locations throughout central PA. Private homes, including retirement communities, will showcase their G-scale model train layouts. It's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon touring the countryside around Lancaster County. And there's more. Each ticket holder can enter a drawing for one of two G-scale starter kits provided by Bachmann Trains, to use if you feel inspired to start your own garden railway. Details are on the program flyer.

Please check back here next week for the October program listings. In the meantime, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

5 Reasons to Look Forward to Fall on the Trails of History

It's been busy here, what with Ask A Curator Day falling in the middle of the week. Whether you were able to participate or missed it this year, Storify has a recap of the Q & A with three PHMC curators, Todd Galle (Pennsbury Manor), Sarah Buffington (Old Economy Village), and Susan Beates (Drake Well Museum), moderated by PHMC's information specialist for social media, Sean Adkins.

We still have two weekends of September to go, so the program listings for this month are posted under "About Us."

Fall harvest goodies at Landis Valley via Facebook

So, it's almost officially fall, my favorite season. We had a blissfully mild summer in my part of the state, but I still welcome that almost imperceptible change in the coolness of the air, followed by the need for a jacket or sweater. And while I'm not really a big fan of pumpkin spice (fill-in-the-blank), any season that involves more apples and cinnamon has my vote.

There are many more than 5 reasons to look forward to fall at our historic sites and museums, but 5 is a good start:
  • Reason #1: enjoying the smell of wood smoke without having to clean up the ashes. You can find open-hearth cooking at our sites throughout the year, but it takes on a different aspect when the weather starts to cool - Autumnfest, Old Economy Village (this weekend, Sept. 20 & 21); Harvest Days, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (Oct. 11 & 12); The 17th-century Confectioner, Pennsbury Manor (Nov. 16)
  • Reason #2: seeing Trails of History sites in a new light. Generally, our sites are open during the day; in the fall (okay, and some other times too, humor me) evening programs give you another perspective - Drake Well by Moonlight, Drake Well Museum (Oct. 4); Bonfire Harvest Festival, Scranton Iron Furnaces (Oct. 18); Candlelight Tours, Conrad Weiser Homestead (Nov. 22)
  • Reason #3: Halloween!! This is not an exhaustive list - Haunted Halloween Lantern Tours, Eckley Miners' Village (Oct. 10-11, 17-18, 24-25); Haunted Halloween Tours, Graeme Park (Oct. 24); Historical Halloween, Somerset Historical Center (Oct. 25)
  • Reason #4: Autumn Colors. Pennsylvania is beautiful in the fall, so take a road trip or enjoy an outdoor program - Garden Railways Tour, Railroad Museum of PA (Oct. 5); Fall Antiques and Collectibles Show, PA Lumber Museum (Oct. 11-12); Heritage Day, Daniel Boone Homestead (Oct. 19)
  • Reason #5: Whatever interests you most. Watch for the October program listings next week (or Oct. 3 if I don't get it pulled together in time).

Have a question? #AskaCurator

Sarah Buffington, curator of Old Economy Village, cleans a historic quilt in storage.  Buffington is one of three curators who will take part in #AskaCurator Day on Wednesday.  (Photo courtesy of Old Economy Village) 

Nearly every guest who strolls through a museum has questions beyond what the exhibits and volunteers can answer.  

Here's your chance to dig deep and quell your curiosity.

On Wednesday, curators from three stops along the Pennsylvania Trails of History will break free from their jobs and log on to Twitter for International Ask a Curator Day.  

From 11 a.m. to noon, Todd Galle, a curator at Pennsbury Manor in Bucks County, will field questions on military history, specifically World War I and the American Civil War. 

Previously, Todd served as assistant curator of military, political and industrial history at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. 

Do you have questions about historic clothing and textiles? Between 1 and 2 p.m., Sarah Buffington, curator at Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Pa., will offer insights on furniture, pottery, communalism, archival arrangement and exhibit production.  

Next, join Susan Beates, curator at Drake Well Museum in Titusville, Pa., between 2:15 and 3:15 p.m. as she answers questions regarding historic photographs, archives and oil technology.  

Susan received a Master of Arts in Public History from West Virginia University and Bachelor of Arts in History & Folk Arts from the same university.  She's been floating in oil since February 1998.  

Want to participate in the Q&As? 
Tweet your questions to @PHMC using the hashtag #AskaCurator . 
Not sure what to ask?  Here's a short list of questions visitors often ask of curators: 
-- What is it like to be a curator?
-- What is your favorite artifact?
-- What is the oldest piece in your collection?
-- Which artifact has the best story?
-- Which artifact makes you laugh and/or cry?
-- How do you know when to wear gloves?
-- How do you decide which artifacts go on display. 

*Please refrain from asking for item appraisals or artifact identification.