Catching Up and Looking Forward

Be sure to check out the June program listings for events this weekend and the rest of the month.

Catching Up...

World Doll Day tea party at Joseph Priestley House
Lots of goodies to enjoy at Joseph Priestley House's first World Doll Day tea party (via Facebook)
On Saturday, June 9, Joseph Priestley House held their first World Doll Day event, in honor of long-time volunteer Ruth Eleanor McCorkill. Doll collectors and vendors displayed all kinds of dolls. A festive tea party (see photo above) included adults, kids, and dolls. Among the program offerings were some intriguing and well-executed photo op stations, such as the boat (complete with oars) below. You can find more photos in the World Doll Day 2018 album on the Priestley House Facebook page.

One of several photo op stations at Joseph Priestley House Doll Day event
One of several photo op stations for visitors to the World Doll Day event at Joseph Priestley House. Dr. Priestley himself (Ron Blatchley, center of photo in white shirt) even took a turn with an oar (via Facebook)

Last week (June 6), as has become an annual tradition, Hope Lodge hosted the Ambler Symphony Orchestra for a concert on the lawn. Folks brought their blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy an evening of music and fresh air.

Orchestra concert on lawn in front of Historic Hope Lodge
The Ambler Symphony Orchestra performing at historic Hope Lodge on June 6 (via Facebook)

Did you follow the voyage of the Lettie G. Howard from South Street Seaport Museum in NYC to its new temporary berth at the Erie Maritime Museum? The Lettie has been leased by the Flagship Niagara League and will spend two years providing Erie-based day sails and educational programs in addition to the U.S. Brig Niagara, which also spends time traveling to other Great Lakes ports. The U.S. Brig Niagara Facebook page has lots of photos and video documenting the trip out of New York, the coast of Atlantic Canada, through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Welland Canal, and finally into Lake Erie and Presque Ile Bay. There's also been plenty of publicity, including an article about Allison Taylor, who will serve as captain of the Lettie during its stay in Erie. Visit the Niagara Facebook page or Erie Maritime Museum website for more info on sailing schedules and other events for the Lettie G. Howard and the U.S. Brig Niagara.

Schooner Lettie G Howard docked in Erie
Schooner Lettie G. Howard docked in Erie after its voyage from NYC (via Facebook)

...and Looking Forward's list of 5 ways to celebrate Father's Day includes Pennsbury Manor's Brews and Bites event coming up tomorrow, June 16. Visit Pennsbury's website for info on ticket options and a list of participating breweries and wineries. The event runs from 4 to 8 pm and you must be at least 21 years old to attend.

The annual Patchtown Days event at Eckley Miners' Village is a tribute to the immigrants who lived and worked in this coal company town. This year's event, scheduled for June 23-24, celebrates the 50th anniversary of Paramount Pictures’ 1968 production of The Molly Maguires, starring Sean Connery, Richard Harris, and Samantha Eggar. The event will feature live entertainment, reenactments, artifact displays, craft and food vendors, kid’s activities, and more! On Saturday evening, the film that started it all will be shown in the visitor center auditorium, with doors opening at 6 pm, a brief lecture at 6:30, and the screening at 7 pm.

Molly Maguires production photo of Samantha Eggar
Production photo of Samantha Eggar, who played Miss Mary Raines in The Molly Maguires 

At the beginning of April Emily Arcaro, Eckley's Americorps VISTA staffer, sent an email to Samantha Eggar detailing the upcoming events. Eggar replied with some of her thoughts on the production, which Emily shared with volunteers (and other readers):
...Personally it was one of the best career experiences for me. The cast were so involved with the history and emotions of that period. We were all very happy on that film. To work in the actual town lent such credence to each day and I recall shooting in a home where the miner came home each day, exhausted, face stained, sitting silently at his kitchen table in the small space as we worked around him. The silence spoke all we needed....

Thank you again for contacting me. I am proud to have been in your town and seen the true history of anthracite mining in PA.

With blessings to you all,

So Many Ways to Learn

Please check the June program listings for events coming up.

Colorful thank you notes from third graders to PA Lumber Museum
Third graders from Otto Eldred Elementary wrote colorful thank you notes after their visit to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in May (courtesy PLM)
Thousands of elementary school students visit the Pennsylvania Trails of History every spring and fall, and many more visit with their families and friends throughout the year. The thank you notes pictured above, received by staff at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, are just a few of the hundreds sent to our staff and volunteers. Many teachers find it a great way to find out what their students remember about their visit, and we find them helpful, too. While younger students are most common for organized visits, we certainly see our share of older students and adults, eager to learn in a variety of ways.

William Penn's legacy as founder of Pennsylvania

This year to commemorate the 300th anniversary of William Penn's death, Pennsbury Manor is asking school visitors to describe Penn's legacy. They'll be sharing those insights every Wednesday. This week, they posted about Penn's role as founder of Pennsylvania, certainly a significant legacy for us all. Follow Pennsbury's Educator page on Facebook to see more on Penn's Legacy Year.

The University of Maryland's Eckley Archaeology Project has begun for this summer, with students documenting the Rubin House. Local high school students interested in archaeology may want to apply for the high school field program, which starts on June 18. More information on applying, as well as photos of numerous activities, can be found on the Eckley Archaeology Project Facebook page. Otherwise, be sure to take a look at the excavations while at Eckley Miners' Village for this summer's Molly Maguires semicentennial.

Last weekend, to help kick off the summer season, The Allegheny Ironsides vintage baseball club were on site at Historic Pithole for Wildcatter Day. They helped the Drake Well team learn how to play 1860s baseball as it would have been played during Pithole's heyday. They posted a summary and lots of photos on their Facebook page.

Ephrata Cloister staff members Michael Showalter and Nick Siegert contributed a section for the upcoming museum studies text, Interpreting Religion at Museums and Historic Sites, edited by Gretchen Buggeln and former PHMC executive director Barbara Franco. The book is part of the American Association for State and Local History's Interpreting History Series, published by Rowman & Littlefield. It is due out in September.

WBRE's Lauren Hensley recently visited Joseph Priestley House and posted about it on her Facebook page. Tomorrow, June 9, the site hosts its first World Doll Day event, dedicated to longtime volunteer Ruth Eleanor McCorkill and devoted to teaching about the Priestley family in the 18th and 19th centuries. Kids are encouraged to bring their own dolls along. The event is free, but there is a fee for the doll tea party and reservations are required.

Ruth Eleanor McCorkill with Merry Mary doll she created for Joseph Priestley House
Ruth Eleanor McCorkill (1920-2017) with Merry Mary doll she created for Joseph Priestley House (photo JPH)

So Long, May - Hello, June

Please check the June program listings for all of your event needs. So much to choose from.

Another month has come and gone. That long, cold spring gave way to whatever you call the season we're having now - "sort-of-but-not-really-summer"? School visits spiked. As always, there were programs and events on the Trails of History that engaged the public. Here are a few highlights that you might have missed.

Display of artwork at Hope Lodge during art center fundraiser
Whitemarsh Art Center (WAC) fundraiser at Hope Lodge, May 19 (photo Friends of Hope Lodge)
Thanks to the Friends of Hope Lodge (FoHL) for the photo above and an update:
FoHL hosted the Whitemarsh Art Center (WAC) gala fundraiser “Hundred for Hundred” on May 19th. WAC’s leaders raffled over 50 original pieces of art. Over 300 people attended the event, which featured wine and cheese, music by guitarist Baird Standish, and tours of the 18th-century mansion and property. WAC executive director Corinne Dieterle expressed her gratitude to the FoHL for their support in making the event so successful.
Congratulations to all on a successful community collaboration! Hope Lodge was also recently featured in Zach Brown's "The Montco Explorer" blog (read Brown's write-up of Hope Lodge on the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board's website. And visit the June program listings for info on Hope Lodge events coming up this weekend.

Visitors exploring woods at Bushy Run during spring nature walk
Annual spring nature walk at Bushy Run Battlefield (photo BRBHS)
Bushy Run Battlefield opened its 2018 programming season with a wide range of activities organized by the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society, including the Spring Nature Walk on May 12 (pictured above and in the Spring Nature Walk photo album on Facebook). Also on the schedule were the kickoff of the site's new History Speaks Series on May 16 (next installment is June 20) and the annual Spring Tea on May 19, which sold out well in advance. This past weekend saw the premiere of the new Bushy Run Market featuring local vendors, entertainment, and concessions on the grounds (set to continue the 4th Saturday of the month through the fall. Visit Bushy Run's website to keep up with this summer's events.

A weathervane from the collections at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (see above) is featured in a folk art exhibit at San Francisco International Airport's SFO Museum; the exhibit continues through the middle of July. In other Lancaster County news, Ephrata Cloister's Student Historian program was featured in an article that focused on their work with site staff to document and transcribe gravestones of some of the community's earliest members.

Sean Connery on set of The Molly Maguires at Eckley Miners' Village
Sean Connery on the set of The Molly Maguires, filmed in part at what is now Eckley Miners' Village in 1968 (via Facebook)
There's lots of activity going on at Eckley Miners' Village this summer, much of it focused on the 50th anniversary of filming of The Molly Maguires in and around Eckley in 1968. This year's Patch Town Days event (June 23-24) will be focused on the film, with reenacted scenes, a mustache contest (see photo above for inspiration), and much more (details on Eckley's website). Publicity around the filming of The Molly Maguires and interest generated by the movie's release were significant factors in the development and preservation of Eckley Miners' Village as a state historic site. Students Dan Kimbrough's class at Misericordia University produced a documentary about the history of the site, interviewing numerous volunteers (doc is available on YouTube). An article in the Scranton Times-Tribune provided background information on the May 25 Google Doodle featuring James Wong Howe, who was the cinematographer for The Molly Maguires. Howe was born Wong Tung Jim in China in 1899 and moved to the U.S. at the age of 5. He was denied citizenship under the Chinese Exclusion Act, finally winning an appeal in 1943. Laws prohibiting interracial marriage meant that he and poet Sanora Babb could not be legally married until 1949. Howe's work received ten Academy Award nominations; he won Oscars for The Rose Tattoo and Hud. According to a biography of Howe on the IMDb website, working on The Molly Maguires, his next-to-last film, was one of his favorite assignments.

Collage of activities at PA Lumber Museum Youth Field Day
Activity photos from PA Lumber Museum's 2017 Youth and Family Field Day (via Facebook)
One last note on something coming up next weekend. The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, in conjunction with the Black Forest Sportsman's Club, has a Youth and Family Field Day scheduled for June 9. The event is free, but you must register by June 7. Pre-registrations have been a bit slow, so if you're planning to go, please contact the site ASAP. Program details and a registration form are on their website.