Honoring Volunteers for Service in 2016

The April program page has info on events this weekend, and the May page is up for those of you who like to plan ahead.

On Saturday, April 22, folks from all over the Trails of History gathered at The State Museum of Pennsylvania to celebrate our Volunteers of the Year for service in 2016. PHMC Commissioners Ophelia Chambliss, Bill Lewis, and Fred Powell joined James Vaughan, PHMC executive director, Brenda Reigle, director of the Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums, and Beth Hager, director of The State Museum, to present resolutions, volunteer pins, and complimentary family memberships in the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation. Most of our attendees were able to be on hand for this festive occasion.


The honorees are pictured below, and there is a link for each so that you can read more about their volunteer activities. Please join me in congratulating them and thanking them for their support of PHMC's historic sites and museums.

Maureen McGuigan and Alysia Scazafabo-Adam, Anthracite Heritage Museum & Scranton Iron Furnaces (citation)

Ralph Denlinger, Brandywine Battlefield Park (citation)

Margaret Herron, Bushy Run Battlefield (citation)

Harold Taylor, Conrad Weiser Homestead (citation)

Maxine Coopey, Cornwall Iron Furnace (citation)

Deb Drager, Daniel Boone Homestead (citation)

Jane Bradshaw, Drake Well Museum (citation)

Gina Gibbon, Eckley Miners' Village (citation)

Cathie Oliphant, Ephrata Cloister (citation)

Bill Koehle, Erie Maritime Museum & U.S. Brig Niagara (citation)

Diane Horan, Graeme Park (citation)

Hope Webster Kopf, Joseph Priestley House (citation)

Carol Vogt and Dee Perry, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum (citation)

Sandy Smailer, Old Economy Village (citation)

Val Long and Steve Ringel, Pennsbury Manor (citation)

Carola Glennon, PA Lumber Museum (citation)

Scott Davis, PA Military Museum (citation)

Stu Jack, Railroad Museum of PA (citation)

Terry Werner (2nd from right), Somerset Historical Center (citation)

Merikay Wood, State Museum of PA (citation)

Outstanding Service Award, John "Augie" Holtz, Drake Well Museum and Park (citation)

An April Roundup

There are plenty of Trails of History activities still to come this month; the April program page has the details.

The Trailheads post on April 6 highlighted the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into World War I. I missed noting that, in addition to a full calendar of programming, the PA Military Museum has put together a temporary exhibit on the Boal Troop, which was organized and trained on the grounds now occupied by the museum. The Boal Troop saw service during the Mexican Border campaign in 1916 and in France during WWI. If you aren't able to get to the temporary exhibit, you'll find info on the Boal Troop on PMM's website; the troop will also be highlighted in the museum's new core exhibit currently under design.

Boal Troop exhibit at PA Military Museum
Temporary exhibit on the Boal Troop (photo PA Military Museum)
You might also like to catch up with WITF's "Smart Talk" program on April 6 that featured State Museum director Beth Hager and Richard Saylor of the PA State Archives talking about the WWI poster exhibit now on display at the State Museum.

Thank you to our contributors...

Last week, Rob Coates of PHMC's Preservation Construction Field Services section shared with me a before-and-after photo of a project he and his crew recently completed. The Landis House privy (at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum) was in bad shape. Rob and crew "removed the structure and transported it back to Daniel Boone Homestead, completed a total restoration of the structure, then returned it to the site and placed it on a new foundation." The Field Services crew works on projects all over the Trails of History; their workshop at Daniel Boone Homestead allows them to keep projects moving forward during the winter, when the weather isn't cooperative.

Landis House privy before and after restoration
Landis House privy before (L) and after (R) restoration (photo Rob Coates)

Drake Well Museum curator Sue Beates sent me some info on the latest appearance of images from the museum's collection in a major oil industry publication. The most recent issue of Connections (published by Oiltanking, an oil storage company founded in Hamburg, German) includes images from Tarr Farm and Tidioute. Sue reported that the oil droplets on the cover are heat-activated; they turned black after cooling down from the scanner/copier.

Page from Connections magazine with historic oil industry images
Cover of Connections magazine showing 3 drops of oil
(Top) Historic images of oil industry from Drake Well collection (photo Sue Beates)
(Bottom) Cover of April issue of Connections magazine

Frequent Trailheads contributor Linda Bolla sent the following info from Erie last week: There’s a real energy on the [Erie Maritime Museum] Plaza as U.S. Brig Niagara’s crew works to prepare for up rig next week (subscribe to the ship's YouTube channel to watch the action). Also, Erie Harbor welcomed a semi-annual visit from a special U.S. Coast Guard vessel, which means sailing season is coming soon. USCGC Hollyhock tied up overnight at Dobbins Landing last Tuesday, April 11th, visiting Erie to tend to maintenance on floating buoys and other aids-to-navigation along our stretch of Lake Erie. This 225-foot Seagoing Buoy Tender’s primary missions are maintaining nearly 150 aids-to-navigation on the lower Great Lakes, search and rescue, environmental protection, and domestic ice-breaking. Little ice-breaking was done during this unusually mild winter on Lake Erie, and kayakers are already out on Misery Bay at Presque Isle, braving windy conditions to get a first look at nesting birds and wildlife emerging from winter naps.

USCGC Hollyhock docked in Erie April 2017
USCGC Hollyhock docked at Dobbins Landing, Erie (photo Linda Bolla)

And I couldn't resist sharing this post of Niagara's crew training for the upcoming sailing season. It made me smile. Enjoy your weekend!

Spring is Springing

The April program page has all you need to know about what there is to do on the PA Trails of History. Please note that most sites will be closed on Sunday, April 16. However, The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and The State Museum of Pennsylvania will be open regular Sunday hours, noon to 5 pm.

With spring finally getting its feet under it, sites have been sharing photos of historic and natural landscapes coming to life. This week, I thought I'd just share some of those and let you enjoy. We'll be back with more news and recaps next week.



Grape hyacinth at Landis Valley Museum
Grape hyacinth at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum (via Facebook)




Sustainable forestry trail at PA Lumber Museum
Signs of spring on the Sustainable Forestry Trail at the PA Lumber Museum (via Facebook)

U.S. World War I Centennial

The April program page has info on events of all kinds coming up this weekend and the rest of the month.

Photo from Great War Remembered at PA Military Museum
"The Great War Remembered" program at PA Military Museum 2016 (via Facebook)

Trailheads is a day early this week to mark the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I on April 6, 1917. This important anniversary is being commemorated in numerous places along the Pennsylvania Trails of History, not to mention the rest of the state, country, and world.

Throughout this month the Pennsylvania Military Museum will offer lectures and interpretive programming focused on World War I (see brochure). If you aren't able to be there in person, you have some options. The museum's (newly redesigned) website provides background information on the history of the site (home to the Boal Machine Gun Troop) and the 28th Division Shrine, which honors Pennsylvanians who died in World War I and later conflicts. (There is also a photo gallery of previous programs.)

In addition, site administrator Tyler Gum will take part in the National Museum of American History's World War I Social Media Day on Tuesday, April 11. From 1 to 2 pm that day, he will be "Facebook Live" representing the PHMC and talking about the role of the citizen soldier in WWI and Pennsylvania's legacy of military service.

PMM educator shows student how to use trench periscope
PMM educator Joe Horvath shows a visitor how a trench periscope works at "The Great War Remembered" in 2016. This year's event is slated for April 22-23 at the PA Military Museum (photo via Facebook)

Last weekend, The State Museum of PA opened an exhibit of World War I posters from the collections of the Pennsylvania State Archives. PHMC's Twitter account has a recap of the opening reception, which featured a tour by archivist Rich Saylor. The exhibit is open to the public during regular operating hours and is included in museum admission; it will remain on view through Nov. 12.

An article from the Erie Times-News earlier this week explored the World War I centennial. The Erie Maritime Museum's Linda Bolla spoke with reporter Ron Leonardi about the crew of USS Wolverine and their service in World War I. Wolverine had been decommissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1912 and turned over to the Pennsylvania Naval Militia, based in Erie. When word of U.S. entry into World War I reached Erie on the night of April 6, the crew of Wolverine were put on alert. On April 11, most of them marched from Erie's Public Dock to Union Station to board troop trains bound for Philadelphia. From there they were deployed for wartime. The ship itself, and some of the crew, remained on the Great Lakes during the war, recruiting sailors for the U.S. Navy and serving as a training vessel. Bolla, a regular contributor to Trailheads, has been researching Wolverine's crew, their service, and their post-war histories.

USS Wolverine crew 1913
Crew of USS Wolverine, 1913 (photo Erie Maritime Museum)


Other items of interest...

We'll try to keep you apprised of other WWI-related activities on the Trails of History as the centennial commemorations continue through the end of 2018. In the meantime:

Moving into April

As we get ready to move forward into April, we can look back at a few events and announcements that we missed on the blog.

Joggers at PA Military Museum
L to R: Tyler Gum, Janice Mullin, and Brenda Reigle at the PA Military Museum (photo John Stevens)

We've noted in the program listings that the PA Military Museum has started a new Monday and Friday program called PT in the PM, that mixes typical military physical training activities with a history of the grounds and some of the heavy equipment. Many people use the pathways on the museum grounds for walking and jogging, so it seemed like a good way to reach out. Last week, Janice Mullin, chief of partner and placed properties, and bureau director Brenda Reigle were at the Military Museum and joined site administrator Tyler Gum for a tour (photo above). If you're in the area on a Monday or Friday afternoon, meet at the flagpoles at 4 pm and give it a go.

Somerset Historical Center hosted a class last weekend for participants to create a 1700s-style women's ensemble of a shift, short gown, and petticoat. They shared some photos on Facebook. Upcoming sewing classes include May 6 (for kids and moms to create period clothing for an 18" doll) and July 15-16 (to create 1700s-style men's clothing). Visit the website for more details and to register.

WITF (Harrisburg's public media organization) took their "Smart Talk" program on the road to the Railroad Museum of PA last week. Museum educator Patrick Morrison spoke with host Scott LaMar and there were some other guests as well. If you missed it, you can listen via WITF's website.

Some students from Allegheny College in Meadville spent their spring break at the Erie Maritime Museum volunteering with the crew of the U.S. Brig Niagara. They assisted with the ongoing work of getting the ship ready for the coming sailing season. Photos on Facebook show happy, smiling people hard at work.

The Univ. of Maryland is recruiting for its archaeology and historic preservation field school to be held at Eckley Miners' Village this summer. For-credit participants as well as local volunteers are welcome. See below for details from their Facebook page.



This weekend...

Conrad Weiser Homestead
April 2: Spring Lecture—Scott Wert, a teacher in the Conrad Weiser School District, will present a talk entitled "'The Calamett, a Sure Bond and Seal of Peace': Native-Pennsylvania Treaties as Religious Discourse." Site is open noon-4 pm, the lecture is at 2.

Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
April 2: Erie Maritime Museum Lecture Series—Richard E. Buys (Lt. Col, US Air Force, Ret.) will present "The Naval History of World War One and Erie's Contribution." Takes place in the H.O. Hirt Auditorium. Lecture is free. 2 pm.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
April 1: Museum Store Class—"Tin Punching" is this week's class. Check the brochure for details and registration info.

Old Economy Village
April 1-2: Village reopens for the season—check the website for special activities planned, including the grand opening of the newly renovated blacksmith shop.

Pennsbury Manor
April 2: Sunday programming starts for the season—this week is historic trades and cooking demos. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
April 1: Kids Day I: Dress Up and Discover!!—kids of all ages can try on field gear and head gear from the museum education collection. Photo backdrops will be set up in the museum theater and there will be learning stations throughout the galleries. Included in regular admission. 10 am-3 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
April 2: Exhibit opening—"Pennsylvania at War: World War I Posters from the Pennsylvania State Archives" features a sampling of the nearly 500 WWI posters in the State Archives. Archivist Richard Saylor will provide a walkthrough of the exhibit (which will be on view through Nov. 12). Included in regular admission. Exhibit opening is 2-3 pm.

Does it feel like spring yet?

Look for the April program page coming late next week with lots of stuff to do on the Trails of History.

Gardens at Old Economy March 13 2017
Gardens at Old Economy are ready for spring (via Facebook)
Old Economy Village is known for its beautiful gardens, among other things. They have begun posting photos on their Facebook page as the gardens transition out of winter into spring (see above). You can follow them to track their progress as we move into summer. In-person visits will be possible again as of April 1, when the site reopens for the season.


Coming up...
Anthracite Heritage Museum/Eckley Miners' Village
March 28: Panel discussion at Bucknell University—Dr. Bode Morin, site administrator at the Anthracite Museum and acting administrator at Eckley will be part of a panel discussion, "Immigrant Experiences of the Anthracite Coal Region." The program is part of a lunchtime series sponsored by the Bucknell Center for Sustainability and the Environment that takes place in the atrium lobby of the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. The program is free (bring a lunch if you like), and small tastes of regional foods will be provided. Noon.

Drake Well Museum and Park
March 25: Something More Saturday—come celebrate Col. Edwin Drake’s 198th birthday and learn about life in the early oil boom era (and have cake). Included in regular admission; special rate - purchase 2 adult tickets and get 3 youth tickets free. 10 am-3 pm.
March 30: Petroleum Program Series—this spring's series wraps up with "The United States Enters the Great War," Maj. Gen. John Stevens (ret.). Admission charged. Doors open at 6 pm, programs start at 6:30.

Ephrata Cloister
March 30: Winter History Class—this is the last class of the season. Even if you didn't enroll for the whole series, you can pay $8 to attend. Weather caused some changes to the original schedule; Dr. Jeff Bach will be on hand to talk about the Moravian Church. Call the site at 717/733-6600 if you have questions. 9 am-noon.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
March 25: Winter Learning for Adults—the final class for March is "Tole Painting" with Pat Oxenford; cost is $55 (register online or call 717/569-0401). 1-4 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Mondays and Fridays: Military PT on Grounds—Mondays and Fridays at 1600 hours (4 pm), the museum will present info on physical training in the military as well as the history of the museum and military equipment on the grounds. Take part in some calisthenics and a 1-2 mile run - a great way to liven up your workout. No registration necessary, just show up and join in. Meet at the flagpoles. 4 pm. Be sure to check the museum's Twitter account for weather-related or other updates on the PT schedule.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
March 24 & 31: Special Lunchtime Planetarium Shows—March 24 is "We Are Stars," exploring the secrets of cosmic chemistry. March 31 is "We Are Astronomers," which focuses on the challenges of studying our vast universe. Museum admission and planetarium fees apply. 12:15-12:45 pm.
March 31: PA State Geography Bee—the museum will be hosting the state contest that determines who heads on to the National Bee in Washington. Galleries will experience "rolling closures" as the preliminary rounds of judging take place between 10 am and 3 pm. The final round will be in the auditorium at 3 pm.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
March 25: Berry Basket Workshop—learn to weave a reed basket over a wooden form, finish the rim, and attach handles. Participants will complete two baskets. All tools and materials will provided by the instructor. Fee is $50 per person; there is a limit of 12 for the class. Call 215/493-4076 to register.

Digging Out

The March program page has info on events coming up this weekend and beyond. REMINDER: The State Museum of PA is closed this weekend, March 18-19, for electrical upgrade work.

Eckley snow scene March 14 2017
Eckley Main Street, March 14, 2017 (more photos on Facebook)

Most sites on the Trails of History were affected by Winter Storm Stella (insert "Streetcar Named Desire" reference here), but perhaps none as much as the sites in the anthracite region. Eckley Miners' Village (above) saw up to 30" of snow. Everyone is getting back to normal, so regular schedules are in force. (Update: Lancaster Online posted a satellite map from NOAA that shows all of PA covered in snow.)

The weather was cold last Sunday for Charter Day, but more than 6,500 visitors (not counting State Museum) took advantage of free admission to help us celebrate Pennsylvania's birthday. Several sites have posted photos on Facebook - Anthracite Heritage, Ephrata Cloister, and State Museum of PA. And a couple of photographers have posted their own photos from Trails of History sites - Christopher Malone posted his photos of Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum on The Daily Antiquarian page and Ryan Patches, of Patches Photography, posted photos of Conrad Weiser Homestead's Charter Day activities. Thanks to Ryan and Chris for sharing!

In other news...
PennLive posted an article about the Last Raft, a reenactment of the log rafting that was a crucial part of the lumber industry in the first half of the 19th century. Leaving Clearfield County on March 14, 1938, the raft reached Fort Hunter, just north of Harrisburg, on March 25. En route, the raft hit a bridge pier near Muncy on March 20, throwing many passengers into the water, killing 7. You can learn more about the lumber industry and Pennsylvania's forests at the PA Lumber Museum. Tomorrow, March 18, the museum will host an event featuring Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers, a book of lumber region photos by William T. Clarke. Authors Ronald Ostman and Harry Littell are scheduled to be on hand to sign copies of the book, accompanied by Linda Ries, retired photo archivist for the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Susan Holloway Scott of the Two Nerdy History Girls blog wrote about a recent visit to Brandywine Battlefield Park, where she toured the Gideon Gilpin House.

Military uniform from Pennsbury conscientious objector exhibit
Military uniform and items from Pennsbury's temporary exhibit (from Facebook)
Pennsbury Manor, connecting the site's Quaker heritage to the PHMC's current #PAatWar initiative, has opened a small temporary exhibit about Pennsylvania conscientious objectors. The exhibit runs through July and includes material from the Pennsylvania State Archives and private collectors. In a related story, the PA Trails of History Facebook page posted photos (below) of curator Rachel Yerger cataloguing a World War II flight suit for the PA Military Museum; the flight suit belonged to Sgt. John Thomas Strine.



As part of Drake Well Museum and Park's Petroleum Program series, site administrator Melissa Mann gave a talk on March 9 about Women's Activism in the Oil Region. She discussed the museum's ongoing research efforts to document women's history related to the oil industry and to the communities that were part of the region. You can read more about her talk in an article from the Titusville Herald. If you'd like to support this effort and other programs of the museum, you can donate March 20-24 through the Bridge Builders Community Foundations' Week of Giving online campaign (more info).

Charter Day and More

The March program page has lots of info on events coming up.

This Sunday, March 12, is Charter Day. Every year, on the second Sunday in March, PHMC commemorates King Charles II's grant to William Penn of the land we know as Pennsylvania. Most sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History will be open free of charge (we have a list) as we wish PA a happy birthday and kick off the spring season (assuming the weather cooperates).

The March program page provides more info on special activities at the sites, and you can learn more in this article on PennLive.com.

Don't forget that Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 am on Sunday. If you still have clocks that don't reset themselves automatically, be sure to "spring forward" an hour or you'll miss some of the fun on Charter Day.

In related news (these sites are all open on Charter Day)...

Anthracite Museum billboard - Know Your Family

Thanks to Lamar Advertising, the Anthracite Heritage Museum has been a presence on billboards (above) around the Scranton area this month.

Atlas Obscura, which highlights and explores places all over the world for its readers and followers, recently posted on Facebook about Ephrata Cloister.

The Harrisburg area's public media provider, WITF, just announced that they will broadcast their popular "Smart Talk" radio program from the Railroad Museum of PA on Thursday, March 23. If you want to be part of the live audience and see the museum, you must RSVP (form included in this article on WITF's website).

How did it get to be March already?

The March program page is up and running, along with the list of Trails of History sites open on Sunday, March 12, for Charter Day.

On February 17, PHMC participated in #DayofFacts, which was an effort to highlight the work of museums, libraries, and other cultural organizations that are trusted sources of information about a myriad of issues. Sean Adkins, PHMC's social media manager, compiled tweets from the Trails of History on Storify. Please take a look to see some of the info we shared.

Episode 217 of the Chemical Heritage Foundation's "Distillations" podcast looks at the cultural history and science of "fizzy water," noting the contributions of Joseph Priestley to the science of artificial carbonation (take a listen - it's a little over 13 minutes and the Priestley story comes near the end, but the whole thing was interesting to me). You can also learn about Priestley's life and work at the Joseph Priestley House in Northumberland, part of the PA Trails of History. Lab demos and house tours will be on tap at Priestley House on Charter Day.



The PHMC's annual Summer Apprenticeship Program is currently accepting applications for a variety of training programs at various locations. PHMC and several partner organizations are offering paid 12-week apprenticeships for this summer to introduce students to the preservation and traditional building trades. The program is open to people with building trades experience and students/recent graduates of post-secondary trade schools, technical colleges, and other training programs. Hiring is handled separately by each sponsoring company or institution - find the info you need on the PHMC website and review the opportunities. The hiring period ends April 30.


Today, March 3
  • Pennsylvania Military Museum, Military PT on Grounds. Meet at the flagpoles at 1600 (4 pm) for some physical training and a 1-2 mile run on the grounds (learn a little about the military equipment and memorials). This is the inaugural offering of this program; it will continue on Mondays and Fridays through the month (and, we hope, beyond). No registration necessary; just show up.
  • State Museum of Pennsylvania, Storytime. Read Fire Engine No. 9, by Mike Austin, and explore the Transportation and Industry Gallery (more details). Included in general admission. 10-11 am.
Saturday, March 4
Sunday, March 5
  • Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Heroes of Conservation Film Showing and Panel Discussion. The museum will show two documentaries, Mira Lloyd Dock: A Beautiful Crusade and Gifford Pinchot's Conservation Legacy starting at 1 pm (each runs about 30 minutes); a panel discussion will follow (more info on Facebook).

Time Moves Pretty Fast, or Ox and Ye Shall Receive

Well, this week has gotten away from me, so I'm resorting to outright theft (thank you, Pennsbury Manor and PA Lumber Museum) and a horrible pun.

Earlier this winter, when there was snow on the ground instead of spring warmth in the air, Pennsbury Manor posted video of Bill the Ox cutting loose on a sunny afternoon.


If that doesn't bring a smile to your face, then maybe a "Bill the Ox" temporary tattoo will do the trick.

Temporary tattoo available in Museum Store at Pennsbury (via Facebook)

Also, this week...

The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum was included in a community report segment produced by Blue Ridge Communications 13 - the segment features site administrator Josh Roth showing off the visitor center exhibit and the grounds of the museum. The video is available on YouTube (or watch it below); the Lumber Museum segment is the first 10 minutes or so. Great local coverage.


The March program page will be up and running early next week, but don't miss out on these upcoming events:
  • Today (2/24), State Museum of Pennsylvania, Nature Lab Program. In honor of National Engineering Week, today's program is "Simple Machines." Included in regular admission. 11:30 am-12:30 pm.
  • Saturday (2/25), Drake Well Museum. This month's "Something More Saturday" explores parlor games and other low-tech entertainments, included in regular admission. Special rate: purchase two adult tickets, receive up to three youth admissions. 10 am-3 pm.

Day of Facts

Check out the February program page if you're looking for things to do (I've included events for this weekend below, but you may want to plan ahead for next weekend.) Most Trails of History sites will be closed on Monday, Feb. 20, for Presidents Day, but Fort Pitt Museum and the Railroad Museum of PA will be open.

Today (2/17) is "Day of Facts," an international social media event in which "museums, libraries, archives, cultural institutions, science centers and other trusted public sources of knowledge will share mission-related content using the hashtag #DayofFacts." (You can read more about it on the #DayofFacts blog.) Several sites on the Trails of History will be participating among hundreds worldwide to focus attention on primary sources, data, and research that underpins the work we do. Check out @PHMC on Twitter or Drake Well Museum, Ephrata Cloister, or the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum to see what's up.

PHMC's annual report for fiscal year 2015-16, Small Budget, Big Impact, is now available online. You may also want to watch the Pennsylvania Trails of History Facebook or Twitter page for posts about the scope of services PHMC provides to Pennsylvania, using the hashtag #PHMCbigimpact. Please help spread the word.

As part of their recurring "Hidden History" feature, WBRE and WYOU in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area broadcast a report earlier this week by reporter Crystal Cramore, who visited the Anthracite Heritage Museum. Cramore spoke with Chester Kulesa (recently retired as site administrator) about coal sculptures by artist C. Edgar Patience that are part of the museum's collections and exhibits. Cramore also spoke with Patience's niece, Christine Patterson, who is researching a book on African American coal miners in northeastern PA. This story will be part of an hour-long "Hidden History" special airing at 7 pm on Feb. 25 on WYOU and at 11 am on Feb. 26 on WBRE.

The Tall Ships Erie 2016 festival recently was awarded Tall Ships America's Economic Impact Award in recognition of a highly successful event last fall. The Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara hosted this event (and a successful event in 2013), with leadership from the Flagship Niagara League. According to an article on GoErie.com, VisitErie estimated that the event "generated more than $8 million for Erie's economy." Mayor Joseph Sinnott also presented The Flagship Niagara League with an official proclamation from the City of Erie that noted the tremendous economic contribution of the Tall Ships Festival. Erie will next host the festival, which rotates among Great Lakes, Atlantic, and Pacific venues, in 2019.

In sports news...


Weekend events

Today, Feb. 17
Sunday, Feb. 19
  • Anthracite Heritage Museum, Lackawanna Audubon Society: program is "Uganda, South Africa, and the Great American Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017." Program is free; admission charged to visit museum exhibits. 2:30 pm.
  • Daniel Boone Homestead, Fireside Stories: geared for children ages 4-8 and their families. Featured story is Cinderella. Dress for the weather and bring an extra blanket if it’s really chilly. Cookies, hot cocoa, coffee, and tea will be served. Program is free; donations are welcome. 2 pm.
  • Washington Crossing Historic Park, George Washington's Birthday Celebration: children are encouraged to bring homemade cards for GW, who will be marking his 285th birthday. At 1 pm, the General will be on hand to receive birthday wishes and cut the birthday cake, which he will share with well-wishers. Admission is $1. 10 am-2 pm.

Snow! And Other Stuff

The February program page has info on events coming up between now and the end of the month.

Ephrata_Cloister_in_snow_Feb_9_2017
Ephrata Cloister in the snow, Feb. 9 (photo AKF)
The forecast for my part of PA didn't quite live up to the hype, but it was enough to cover us with a lovely blanket of snow. And disrupt routines a bit. Since I spent Thursday at Ephrata Cloister, I was able to take a few photos.

Sisters'_house_at_Ephrata_in_the_snow
The Sisters' House (right) and Bakery (photo AKF)
Congratulations are due to one of our sibling blogs here at PHMC. This Week in Pennsylvania Archaeology has been listed as one of the Top 50 Anthropology Blogs by Feedspot, based on search and social metrics. TWIPA reports on activities of the State Museum's Section of Archaeology and their work to promote an understanding of the role of archaeology in the study and preservation of heritage.

The When You Work at a Museum blog has announced the schedule for "Museum Dance Off 4: A New Hope." As you may know, this is an international contest (although most of the entries come from the U.S. and Canada) in which folks from galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) pick a song and produce a dance video that highlights their institution's collections, exhibits, programs, or other activities. The rest of us get to participate by voting for our favorites and learning about other institutions in the process. Entries for this year's contest are being accepted through 11:59 PM EST on March 31. The organizers will begin posting videos for competition on April 17 (each round of voting lasts 24 hours). (Read more about submitting an entry or voting on the blog.) I'll include links in Trailheads as things get rolling in April.

I spent much of last weekend learning how to make candy at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum. Under the skilled instruction of Dr. Susan Richman and assistance of Virginia LaFond and Shayla Carey, a small group of us learned to make toffee, salted caramel, buttercream, marshmallow, and coffee truffle fillings. Then we learned how to temper chocolate and enrobe the fillings. The basic class (as well as an advanced class) will be offered again as part of this year's Summer Institute (June 20-23), and I highly recommend it. Here's a little chocolate to sweeten your weekend.

(top) Working the buttercream filling (photo Shayla Carey, LVM)
(middle) One method for tempering chocolate (photo AKF)
(bottom) Dipped chocolates - they may not look perfect, but they taste sublime (photo AKF)

A Tradition of Service

The February program page has info about upcoming events on the PA Trails of History.

My thanks to Linda Bolla at the Erie Maritime Museum for text and photos related to our top story this week.


Echoing Erie’s long relationship with significant events and ships of the U.S. Navy, at least once a year the Erie Maritime Museum is privileged to honor a request from service personnel to hold their reenlistment ceremony at the Museum or onboard Niagara. Last month, the Museum hosted an unprecedented four reenlistments in a two-week period.

Captain James Bier, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, administered the service oath for Staff Sergeant Kristina Perieff and Sergeant Steven Aceves on Jan. 13. Museum docent Lieutenant Colonel Bill Koehle, U. S. Marine Corps Reserves (Ret’d), facilitated arrangements and gave a tour to the Marines directly following the reenlistment ceremony. Marines served in both Oliver Hazard Perry’s squadron at the Battle of Lake Erie and in USS Michigan throughout her long career on the Great Lakes, home port Erie [both stories are told in the Museum's exhibit galleries].

Marines take oath of service at Erie Maritime Museum
Sgt. Aceves (3rd from left) takes the oath of service as SSgt Perieff (far right) and other Marines look on (photo Linda Bolla)
After the oath of service is given, another important award is always made for the families of active duty personnel. At BU2(SCW) Matthew Pfadt’s reenlistment ceremony on Jan. 19, his parents and fiancee were honored for their support and sacrifices. Matt's reenlistment ceremony and his wedding to Ashley were moved up on short notice as he is soon to be deployed to the Middle East. We wish Matt and his family the very best.

Family of Matthew Pfadt honored for their support
LCDR Baughier (left) honors Matthew Pfadt's (right) family - fiancee Ashley, mom Pam, and dad Jerry (photo Linda Bolla)
On Jan. 26, Petty Officer Jeremy Mong reenlisted and was promoted to “NC1” – Navy Counselor, First Class. Along with some of Petty Officer Mong’s colleagues, Lieutenant Commander Peter Hoegel drove to Erie from Pittsburgh to accept his reenlistment and commend him on his excellent work in recruitment.

LCDR Peter Hoegel congratulates Petty Officer Mong
LCDR Hoegel (left) congratulates Petty Officer Jeremy Mong on his promotion (photo Linda Bolla)

On a related note, we mentioned last week (or week before) that the Pennsylvania Military Museum (which also serves as a venue for military commissioning ceremonies) was hosting a town hall organized by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Site Administrator Tyler Gum recently received a thank you letter from the acting director of the VA's James E. Van Zandt Medical Center in Altoona, Charles Becker. Becker commended the museum staff and volunteers for their exemplary support of the event and their role in making it a success. "Your facility displays respect and reverence to our Nation's Heroes, and it was our honor to be associated with the Museum."

Thank you all--active duty personnel, reservists, veterans, and families--for your service. And thank you to the staff and volunteers of the Erie Maritime Museum and the Pennsylvania Military Museum for your efforts in honoring our service personnel.

In other news...

The Railroad Museum of PA has reached a significant milestone in their $250,000 "Ready for the Roundhouse" campaign, which will support media blasting, painting, and repair of 5 PRR steam locomotives destined for exhibit in the new Roundhouse. The PA Railroad Technical and Historical Society challenged the Friends of the museum, saying they would match the first $50,000 raised when the campaign was announced in November. They set a deadline of April 15 for the Friends to raise their share. As of Jan. 31, $60,000 has been raised, triggering the match. Combined that puts the museum at not quite halfway to the ultimate fundraising goal. Congratulations to all concerned and thank you to PRRT&HS for their continued support. (Read more here from Lancaster Online.) If you'd like to help them get the rest of the way, you can donate online via the Museum website.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, State Sen. Art Haywood, State Rep. Jordan Harris, DGS Secretary Curt Topper, and PHMC officials marked the beginning of Black History Month by unveiling "Trailblazers: Notable African Americans in Pennsylvania History" at the PA State Capitol. The panel exhibit originated at the State Museum of PA.

The State Historic Preservation Office has reported out some of the results of a public survey that will help inform the next statewide historic preservation plan (covering the period 2018-2022). You can read a summary of the results on the PA Historic Preservation blog; they'll be posting about more detailed analyses periodically in coming months.

A couple of deadlines...
  • Undergraduate and graduate students wishing to be considered for this summer's Keystone Internship Program have until next Friday, Feb. 10, to submit their applications.
  • The State Museum is accepting entries for the 50th Art of the State exhibit through Feb. 28. Submitting artists must be Pennsylvania residents. All entrants will be notified of the jurors' decisions no later than April 7. The exhibit runs from June 11 to Sept. 10.

The Week in Review

The February program page is up, so you can plan ahead for the month to come. Not to rush the demise of January, though. There are still some January events, which I've listed below.

Horse at Pennsbury soaking hooves
TC gets her hooves soaked in epsom salts after the farrier trims them (via Pennsbury Manor Facebook page)

It may be the off-season at Pennsbury Manor, but that doesn't mean there's nothing going on. When there are animals to be cared for, that's a full-time, all-year endeavor. The Facebook post that carried the above photo noted that most horses do not cooperate as readily as TC with the hoof-soaking, intended to prevent bacteria from entering the freshly trimmed hooves. Winter has been fairly mild so far in the southeastern part of PA, allowing for more outside time for the animals and the people who take care of them. Landis Valley posted some photos of sheep, including a new lamb, enjoying the fresh air. We didn't compete in the #CuteAnimalTweetoff this week, but we'd have been heavy contenders if we had.

Sheep at Landis Valley enjoying mild January weather
Sheep outside the Log Farm at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum (via Facebook)

The Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton recently hosted their annual commemoration of the Knox Mine Disaster, which took the lives of twelve miners on Jan. 22, 1959. This year's event included a tribute to Bill Hastie, 97, the last surviving employee of the Knox Coal Company and an active speaker on the history and legacy of the disaster. An article in Wilkes-Barre's Times Leader has photos and a full description of the program.

The Times Leader also reviewed the premiere of Gunpowder Joe: Joseph Priestley, Pennsylvania, and the American Experiment, a new play by Anthony Clarvoe, now in performances at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, through Feb. 5 (so still time to see it). An article in the Sunbury Daily Item explores some of the historical themes (political, religious, and scientific) and personages portrayed. Some of the action is set at Priestley's home in Northumberland, which is part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History.


Coming up...

Today, Jan. 27
Tomorrow, Jan. 28
  • Drake Well Museum's Something More Saturday has a Valentine's Day theme, "Love Among the Derricks." More info.
  • Fort Pitt Museum reopens after being closed most of the month for annual upkeep and cleaning.
Sunday, Jan. 29
  • Museum Store Folk Art Class at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum - learn about about PA German painted furniture and decorate a miniature blanket chest. More details (including how to register and what kind of brushes to bring.)
  • UPDATE: You can meet artists Dominick Brandt, Ralph Hocker, and Don Lenker from 2 to 3 pm at the State Museum of PA. They are featured in the current exhibit, The 7 Lively Artists, which closes on Feb. 12. Included in regular admission.

History and Change

The January program page has info on upcoming events.

My Twitter feed yesterday included a tweet from PA Museums (statewide association of museums and historical organizations) retweeting PA House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana County), who shared historian Michael Beschloss's tweet of the oldest known photograph of a presidential inauguration. The photo, in the collection of the Library of Congress, shows the 1857 inauguration of PA's only president, James Buchanan. Rep. Reed noted that Buchanan's home, Wheatland, is open as a museum in Lancaster.


The New York Times recently featured an article, "From Mystery to History: Pennsylvania's Bygone Lumber Industry," exploring the photography of William T. Clarke, who documented life and work in the lumber region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Clarke's work is the subject a new book, Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers, by Ronald E. Ostman and Harry Littell, published by Penn State Press in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Lumber Heritage Region and PHMC. Linda Ries, formerly on staff at the PA State Archives, worked with the authors to identify Clarke's work and research his biography; Ries also wrote the intro to the book. The State Archives holds a significant collection of Clarke's glass plate negatives and prints, and we used quite a few Clarke images in the "Challenges and Choices" exhibit at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum. The Times article includes a slideshow of images from the State Archives and other repositories. Littell and Ostman's book is available from Penn State Press, online retailers, or at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum.

Logging camp, Potter County, ca. 1900
One of my favorites - "Feeding the hogs, logging camp near Nine Mile Run" (Potter County), W.T. Clarke (RG-6, PA State Archives)

We've included info in previous posts about a new play, Gunpowder Joe: Joseph Priestley, Pennsylvania, and the American Experiment, by Anthony Clarvoe. The play makes its debut this weekend at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. Following Sunday's (Jan. 22) matinee at 3 pm, there will be an informal symposium. Director Laurie McCants provided a description:
"This isn’t a formal presentation; rather it’s a “chat” with the creative team (actors, designers, playwright, director, composer, choreographer, Priestley electricity machine builder, Bucknell engineering student Eli Raeker-Jordan), our consultants (Dee Casteel and Pat Martino, Chemistry Department, Joe Tranquillo, Engineering Department, Bucknell) and others (Priestley scholar Mary Ellen Bowden from the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Tom Bresenhan of the Friends of the Joseph Priestley House, and there’s a very slim chance that Steven Johnson, author of THE INVENTION OF AIR, might show up!)."
I'll note that Dee Casteel is the current president of the Friends of Joseph Priestley House and Pat Martino is a board member. The play runs through Feb. 5; tickets are available on the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble website.

Keystone interns summer 2015
PHMC Keystone Summer Interns, 2015 (photo Amy Jukus)
PHMC's Keystone Summer Internship Program is currently accepting applications for the 2017 program, which runs from May 15 to August 4. Internships provide an opportunity to network with public history professionals, explore career options, and complete a project that advances their interests as well as PHMC's. (Not to mention a chance to write for Trailheads - that's the real prize.) Keystone internships are unpaid; students must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and are strongly encouraged to pursue academic credit through their home institution. Applicants are asked to specify their areas of interest and/or preferred location (in Harrisburg or at one of the Trails of History sites). Initial review will match applicants with potential mentors, who will contact students for interviews. The application deadline is Feb. 10. More information, including the application form and list of other materials required (essay, transcript, and letter of recommendation), is available on PHMC's website.