February 2015 on the Trails of History

But first, I wanted to share two links related to Trails of History sites that might bring a smile on a cold winter day (unless your heart is frozen). Earlier this week, Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara hosted their monthly "Storytime at the Maritime" program, with guest readers from the local US Navy Reserve Center (local news covered it and there's video on the Your Erie website). In totally unrelated news, the Ephrata Merchants Association has a small figure of a burro (aka The Burro of Ephrata - get it?) whose visits to local attractions are posted on Facebook. A recent stop at Ephrata Cloister included dressing the burro in the familiar white habit of the brothers and sisters (photo from Facebook).

Eckley Miners' Village in winter (this photo is a few years old, but I'm having trouble uploading new photos)
Okay, so February. Winter schedules in effect, weather-induced closures, blah-blah-blah. Be sure to check ahead to make sure the site you want to visit will be open when you plan to be there. Fort Pitt Museum and the Railroad Museum of PA will be open on Feb. 16 for Presidents Day; the other Trails of History sites will be closed that day.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Feb. 15: Lackawanna Audubon Society—speaker is Nick Spinelli, executive director of the Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District. Program is free, but admission is charged to visit the museum’s exhibits. 2:30 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Feb. 15: Fireside Tales—children ages 4-8 and their families are invited to enjoy an afternoon of storytelling in the Wayside Lodge, with animal tales Daniel Boone might have heard as a child. Dress for the weather and bring an extra blanket if it’s really chilly. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Donations accepted; regular admission is charged for touring the Boone Homestead and the historic area. 2 pm.

Drake Well Museum
Feb. 7: Pithole Sledding Party—Enjoy an old-fashioned sledding party at historic Pithole. Refreshments will be available. Weather permitting (as of last week the sledding hill looked fabulous). Call Drake Well Museum, 814/827-2797, for directions. 11 am-2 pm.
Feb. 14: Something More Saturday—this month's program is "Love Among the Derricks." View handwritten love letters from the past, try your hand at calligraphy, and make a Valentine for your Valentine. Included in regular admission; special family rate, up to 2 adults and 3 children for $20. More info on Facebook. 10 am-3 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26: Winter History Class—each Thursday participants in the Winter History Class learn about the history of the celibate brothers and sisters, the world they lived in, and the work of preserving the collections and buildings. Check out the class schedule for details.
Feb. 11: Storytime—designed for pre-K students, this program will pair a story with age-appropriate hands on activities to help young learners and their adults explore the historic site. Cost is $6 for one adult and accompanying child (age 3-5), $3 for each additional child; program is free with Ephrata Cloister Associates Family Membership. 10-11 am.

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
Feb. 17: Museum Lecture Series—historian Gene Allen Smith will present "African Americans and the War of 1812." African Americans made up 15-20% of enlisted men on all ships and stations of the US Navy during the War of 1812. Program is free; RSVP to Andrew at 814/452-2744 x225 or outreach@flagshipniagara.org. 6:30 pm.
Feb. 20: Wintertime at the Maritime—shake those winter blahs (and your booty) with live music, heated tents, hors d'oeuvres, and adult beverages. Enter the Funky Winter Hat Contest. Must be 21 or older to attend. Cost is $60 per person, $100 per couple (a portion of your ticket is tax deductible). Purchase tickets online, by calling 814/452-2744 x208, or in person at the Erie Maritime Museum gift shop. 6-10 pm.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25: Homeschool Classes—Activities and age ranges vary; check the website for details.

Winter Craft and Trade Classes (details and registration form)
  • Feb. 7: Needlebook and Collections Care; Intro to Hearth Cooking; Domestic Medicine Traditions; Basic Blacksmithing
  • Feb. 14: Broom Making; Beginning Genealogy; Basic Blacksmithing; Beginning Woodcarving
  • Feb. 20-21: Advanced Open Hearth Cooking
Folk Art & Friendship (registration form and details, including additional March and April classes)
  • Feb. 21: Pressed Flower Art
  • Feb. 28: German Paper Star
Feb. 21: Heirloom Seed Project workshops—sessions cover a variety of topics (visit website for class descriptions and registration info). Registration deadline is Feb. 13.

Old Economy Village
Last night (Jan. 29) was the opening preview for "Harmony in Wood, Revisited," which brings back a popular exhibit on Harmonist furniture and craftmanship (Trailheads visited the original exhibit and it was one of our early posts).
Feb. 4: Behind the Scenes Tours—a chance to see the "Harmony in Wood" exhibit, visit artifact storage, and get beyond the velvet ropes in the newly restored George and Frederick Rapp Houses. The evening includes light refreshments. Reservations are required; cost is $20 ($16 for Friends of OEV). The website has more info. 6-9 pm.
Feb 8: Open Sunday—OEV's new operating schedule includes staying open (just the visitor center thru the end of March) until 8 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and being closed on all but one Sunday a month. Visitor center will be open noon-5 pm on the 8th.
Feb. 11, 18 and 25: Beginner Knitting Class—come learn basic knitting techniques and skills. Cost is $25 for all 3 classes ($20 for Friends of OEV); the instructor will have some materials at the first class for an additional fee. More info is on the website, including how to register. 6:30-8:30 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Through Feb. 15: Inaugural Exhibit of Pennsylvania Art—organized as part of the inaugural activities for Gov. Tom Wolf, this exhibit brings together artwork from 45 institutions across the state and features works by a wide variety of Pennsylvania artists. (Find posts about individual artists on The State Museum's Facebook page.) Included in regular admission.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Feb. 22: George Washington's Birthday—Celebrate GW's birthday with blacksmithing and cooking demos, a book signing, birthday cards, and cake. Admission is $1. 10 am-2 pm (Genl. Washington arrives around 1 pm to receive birthday greetings and serve the cake.)

Museum Selfie Day

Thanks to PHMC's information specialist Sean Adkins, staff and volunteers on the PA Trails of History participated in Wednesday's Museum Selfie Day via Twitter and Facebook. Lots of sites joined in by sending their selfies to Sean. People picked locations at sites or favorite objects in the collection. The folks at the Erie Maritime Museum/US Brig Niagara and Pennsbury Manor posted their own selfies from various locations. It was fun and I hope PHMC's social media audiences enjoyed it, too. Sean gathered all the photos from Twitter into a Storify post, so check it out.

I hope your new year is off to a good start. Before we jump into the January program listings, I'd like to share a couple of links to images of the 2014 Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware at Washington Crossing Historic Park. Not quite the same as being there, but for many of us, it will have to do. Friends of Washington Crossing Park uploaded photos to their Facebook page, and the Times of Trenton has an online article with photos.

Not on the PA Trails of History but a favorite photo from the past year (photo by AKF)
Please be sure to check site operating schedules before you visit, to avoid disappointment and frustration. Winter brings adjusted days, hours, and/or building availability, as well as the occasional weather-related closure. Most sites will be closed on January 19 for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday; the Railroad Museum of PA UPDATED 1/5/15 and the visitor center at Washington Crossing Historic Park will be open.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Jan. 10-24 is Mining History Week and the Museum is cooperating with various other regional institutions offering programs. For more information on events, visit the Facebook page, Public History at Wilkes University or this article in the Citizens' Voice [added 1/12/15]. Jan. 17: Knox Mine Disaster—this program looks at the events of Jan. 22, 1959, when the Susquehanna River flooded the mine at Port Griffith (Luzerne County), and explores the effects on the local community. Admission is free. (UPDATED 1/5/15 Snow date is Jan. 25.) 2 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Jan. 18: Fireside Tales—come to the Wayside Lodge for an old-fashioned storytelling session, a warm fire (but bring a blanket if it's really cold), and refreshments (more info in the Pottstown Post). The program is geared for children age 4-8 and their families. Suggested donation of $2 per child. 2 pm.

Drake Well Museum
Jan. 10: Something More Saturday—join storyteller Bill Stumpf as he brings to life the tall tales of the oil region's Gib Morgan. Included in regular admission. Special family rate of $20 for up to 2 adults and 3 children. 10 am-3 pm.

January is winding down, but there is still stuff to do. Watch for the February program listings next week.

Ephrata Cloister
Jan. 24: Young Curators of Our Community—Ephrata's curatorial and educational staff will answer questions about their work and teach attendees some of the basics of organizing, caring for, and exhibiting their own special collections. Program is recommended for pre-K through 8th grade; a parent or guardian must accompanying children. Cost is $6 for one adult and one child, $3 for each additional participant. Please register by Jan. 17; call 717/733-6600. 1-3 pm.
Jan. 29: Winter History Class—weekly sessions explore a variety of topics related to the Historic Ephrata Cloister and the world in which it existed. Classes continue each Thursday through March and conclude with a field trip on March 26. Cost is $50 ($40 for members of Ephrata Cloister Associates) with an additional fee for the field trip; or you can pick individual sessions at $8 each. Call 717/733-6600 for details or to register. 9 am-noon.

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
Jan. 26: Storytime at the Maritime—enjoy a maritime-themed story, meet the guest reader, and tour the museum. Please contact Andrew at 814/452-2744 x225 or outreach@flagshipniagara.org to register. Event is free. 10 am.

Fort Pitt Museum
Jan. 31: Museum reopens—Fort Pitt is currently closed for routine maintenance and exhibit updates, but will reopen next Saturday.

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Jan. 31: Folk Art and Friendship Class—learn about tinsmithing and try your hand at making a simple project. Cost is $15. (More information, including a registration form and a list of upcoming classes, is on the website.) 1-3 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Jan. 28: Registration opens—as part of its celebration of Read Across America Day on March 7, the museum will offer "Breakfast with the Conductor and Catcher [the museum's mascot, Catcher the Cow]" as an add-on. Space is limited and reservations will be accepted starting Jan. 28.

Settling into the New Year

Be sure to check out the January program listings for things to do this weekend. Also, please note that the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will be open on Monday, January 19, for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; all other sites on the Trails of History will be closed.

The 99th Pennsylvania Farm Show is wrapping up, but there's still a little time to enjoy the best of the state's agriculture and food products (potato donuts - yum!). PHMC has several displays featuring the State Museum's Archaeology program, the historical marker program (complete with a scavenger hunt), and Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum's Heirloom Seed Project. Information specialist Sean Adkins live-tweeted his visit and collected the tweets on Storify. It's a nice tour of the show, especially if you can't get there on your own, but you'll have to supply your own milkshake or fried mushrooms.

Although they are normally closed on Tuesdays, the State Museum will be open on Jan. 20 as part of the inaugural festivities for the new governor. An exhibit of artworks from institutions around the Commonwealth will open (it will be on view through Feb. 15) and there will be activities for children.

The folks at Landis Valley are prepping for their 2015 exhibit, "1865: Lancaster County at the Close of the Civil War," which will open on Charter Day (March 8). Among the items featured is a piece of iron balustrade from Lancaster's Caldwell House hotel. The balustrade is from a balcony that at various times "hosted" Presidents James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt (read more about it at Lancaster Online). The piece was collected by museum co-founder Henry Landis, who was born in 1865 and is also a focus of the exhibit.

Wednesday, Jan. 21, is #MuseumSelfieDay. It's a chance to help promote your favorite museum or collection. PHMC social media will be sharing staff selfies and we'd love it if you'd add yours (especially if it's a Trails of History site). Watch for posts on Facebook or Twitter on the 21st.