The Yoyo Drilling Rig at Drake Well

Last week's post lists events on the Trails of History through August 22, and the August program page covers the rest.

My thanks to guest blogger Susan Beates, curator at the Drake Well Museum and Park, for this week's post. Sue notes that site staff "have rearranged the outdoor exhibits at the museum. The goal is to have the outdoor exhibits mirror the themes of the indoor museum, with new signage to challenge visitors to think about the old machinery in new ways. The first phase called for most of the machinery to be moved so the artifacts will be grouped by subject – drilling, producing oil, etc." But first, a brief recap of recent events on the Trails of History.

Previously on the Trails of History

  • The Pennsylvania Military Museum has posted as series of albums from the 2019 Boot Camp for Kids; check out their Facebook page to see them all.
  • If you like photos of animals, you need to visit Pennsbury Manor's page for Duo the Barn Cat, Bill the Ox, and several geese whose names I don't know
  • Ephrata Cloister shared photos from their Ice Cream Social, with visitors enjoying tours of the Saal, music by Ethan Fasnacht and (of course) Turkey Hill ice cream. Visitors also saw demos by the Lancaster Spinning and Weaving Guild and got to know the K-PETS therapy animals
  • Kids attending the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum's Cork Camp spent the first day learning "woodhick" skills and the second day demonstrating those skills at the Cherry Springs Woodsmen Show

The Yoyo Drilling Rig

Metal machinery with geared wheels and a tall structure at one end
The Yoyo Drilling Rig at Drake Well Museum and Park. The tall piece on the left side of the photo is called a "mast."
Seventy-five years ago John Hawley, owner of Northern Ordnance Company of Minneapolis, MN, thought the U.S. needed a new system of exploration in order to avert a potential oil shortage. He jumped into the oil industry and said “Oilmen are a bunch of fuddy-duddies.” His system was to “drill all over hell.” The portable Yoyo Drilling Rig at Drake Well Museum was one way he accomplished that.

Hawley and Albert “Slick” Spence of Pleasantville, PA, designed a heavy-duty "spudding" machine for exclusive use on Northern Ordnance’s Pennsylvania oil leases, which covered over 10,000 acres. Using surplus naval pumps and gun-mount parts from Northern Ordnance's World War II defense contracting jobs, they built about 40 of these flat-bottomed 14-ton machines at Hawley’s Minneapolis factory. It takes a D-6 Caterpillar bulldozer hooked on to the front bottom to tow the rig to a new drilling site. When drilling, the mast leans forward then jumps back up like a yoyo. The machine could drill wells to a depth of 2,000 feet and was used in Warren, Forest and Venango Counties in Pennsylvania's oil region.

Man positions one of two tow trucks needed to move oil drilling rig

This past summer, Shambaugh Towing of Titusville moved the Yoyo Drilling Rig onto a cement pad. As the photo above shows, it took two large tow trucks to pull the beast in place. Its new location next to the Standard Steel Drilling Rig will help visitors see how drilling technology changed over time. (To plan your visit, check out Drake Well Museum's website.)

The PA Trails of History, August 9-22

The full August program page lists events through the end of the month. This week's post gets you through August 22.

Large water wheel with gears, axle and surrounding stairs inside Cornwall Iron Furnace
There's still time to get your tickets for the Blast! food and beverage event on August 16 at Cornwall Iron Furnace - see below for info (photo via Facebook)
Bushy Run Battlefield
Aug. 10: Games Day—Bushy Run will have a variety of historical miniature war-games ranging from fights between groups of tough foot-sloggers to aerial combat over the skies of the Pacific. If you are an experienced war-gamer and want to bring a game to run at the event, please email facilitator@bushyrunbattlefield.com. If you would just like to play in one of the games, all you have to do is show up. Included in regular admission. Food and drink will be available for purchase. 9 am-4:30 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Aug. 13: Lecture—James A. Lewars will present "The Kauffman Farm of Oley" (additional info on topic and speaker). Part of the Friends of Cornwall Iron Furnace lecture series, the program takes place in the auditorium of Freeman Community Center at Cornwall Manor. 7 pm.
UPDATE 8/15: EVENT IS SOLD OUT - NO TICKETS AT THE DOOR Aug. 16: Blast!—this event features local breweries and wineries (more info on Facebook event page or this LebTown post), music by jazz keyboardist Wayne Fox, and catering by Hess Barbecue (pulled pork sandwiches, marinated chicken, sides, and dessert). You must be at least 18 years old to attend and 21 to sample alcoholic beverages. Advance tickets are $40; designated driver and under 21, $25. On the day of the event, tickets are $45 ($30 for DDs and under 21). Advance tickets may be purchased at the furnace or by calling 717/272-9711 to charge by phone. 6-9 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Aug. 14, 21: Sawmill Operation Days—subject to staff availability, there will be demonstrations of the site’s water-powered sawmill at 11 am and 2 pm.
Aug. 17: Braided Wool Rug Workshop—learn to make a round braided rug. Materials are included in the cost ($40), and the instructor will have tools for participant use (and to purchase if you want to take them home). More info on the Facebook event page. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and registration is required; call the site at 610/582-4900. 10 am-4 pm.

Drake Well Museum
Aug. 10-11, 17-18: Historic Pithole Open—the visitor center will be open, so enjoy the orientation film and the excellent diorama that shows the town in its heyday. Admission charged. 10 am-4 pm.

Map, flute, playing cards, cannonball, journal, other repro ship items
One of the rolling carts to be found in the galleries at the Erie Maritime Museum
Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
Thursday-Saturday through Aug. 31: Experience History – Rolling Cart Series—the new rolling cart program presents maritime-themed activities for visitors or all ages. Find out what’s in a sailor’s seabag, learn about the busy life of a lighthouse keeper, build your own warship and more! Included with Museum admission. Stay tuned to Erie Maritime Museum’s social media accounts (such as Facebook) for more information and weekly schedules.
Aug. 22-25: Tall Ships® Erie—this is a huge event with 10+ ships, sailing excursions (most of these are sold out), entertainment, and more. Find details on the website or the Facebook event page. Schedule varies by day.

Fort Pitt Museum
Please visit the Fort Pitt Museum website for information on this month's programs and events.

Graeme Park
Aug. 18: Living History Sunday—costumed interpreters will be on hand to talk about life at Graeme Park (info on the website). There will be a special focus on 18th-century clothing and what it reflects about the wearer's status. Living history program is free; admission is charged to tour the Keith House. Noon-3 pm.

Hope Lodge
Aug. 11, 18: Site open—enjoy the grounds and take a guided tour of the mansion. Admission charged. 1-4 pm (tours at 1:00 and 2:30 pm).

18th century style women's cap made of white linen with pleated front
Basic Hand-Sewing Skills (Aug. 10) is one of several workshops coming up at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Aug. 10, 17: Workshops—Landis Valley offers a variety of craft workshops for adults throughout the year. See the list and find out how to register on the website. Costs and times vary.

Old Economy Village
Aug. 9: Exhibit Opening and Reception—in 1832, one-third of the members of the Harmony Society living at Oekonomie left to follow a new leader. This new exhibit, Out of Harmony: Secession from the Harmony Society, takes a look at the seceders and the impact of their leaving on the group they left behind (more info on the website). The exhibit will be on view through Dec. 31. To register for the opening reception, contact Chloe Thomas at c-chltoma@pa.gov or 724/266-4500 x104. 7-9 pm.
Aug. 11: Picnic in the Garden—bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy the beautiful gardens. There will be some tents, tables, and chairs available. Included in regular admission (Buy One-Get One if you bring a picnic basket), so please start at the Visitor Center (more info on Facebook event page). Noon-5 pm.
Aug. 17: Beer Brewing Class, Part 1—brewer Zack Ruskin will teach you how to make beer from scratch, using only water, barley, and wheat. (Part 2 on Aug. 31 will be when you come back to taste the beer you made.) Class size is limited, so please register by August 10 (info on the website). 10 am-4 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
Aug. 11, 18: Special programming—8/11, Living History Theater: "The Runaway Servant"; 8/18, Open Hearth Cooking: "Cook's Choice". Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Aug. 17: All about BATS!—the Pennsylvania Game Commission will present this family-friendly program. Included in regular admission (or membership). 1-2 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Aug. 10: Lecture—Rick Bigelow will present "American Caesar: MacArthur as Viceroy of Japan, 1945-1951," discussing General Douglas MacArthur's role in post-WWII planning for peace in the Pacific. Included in regular admission. 2 pm.

black steam locomotive (model) with tracks and miniature buildings
HO scale steam locomotive at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Aug. 17-18: Model Railroading Days—model train layouts from numerous railroading clubs will join the museum's layouts for a weekend of family fun and learning. Included in regular admission. 9 am-5 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Please visit the Planetarium webpage for a full schedule of shows.
Aug. 14, 15, 21, 22: Nature Lab and Curiosity Kids programs—a variety of presenters will share their expertise in Nature Lab and lead younger visitors on an exploration of the museum (program details are on the events calendar). Included in regular admission. 11:30 am.
Aug. 9, 16: Summer Fridays—general admission is "pay as you wish" on Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm. Curiosity Connection will have free timed tickets available. Art docents will be on hand in the "Art of the State" exhibit from 11 am to 1 pm. Regular fees apply for planetarium shows. From 12:15 to 12:45 pm, a variety of Learn at Lunchtime programs will be offered (check website for specifics).
Aug. 16: 3rd in the Burg—the "Great Summer Switch" is on the program. Susquehanna Art Museum director of education Tina Sell will lead a tour of the State Museum's Art of the State exhibit at 6 pm. Visitors can then travel up the street to the Susquehanna Art Museum, where PHMC Commissioner and artist Ophelia Chambliss will lead a group through Picasso: A Life in Print at 7:30. Admission is free. The State Museum will be open 5:30-7:30 pm.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit the Washington Crossing website for information on programs and events.

What Are We Up To?

Last week's post covers events through Thursday, August 8, and the August program page takes you to the end of the month (which will come sooner than we think).

New Developments in Accessibility

As part of our 21st Century Museums Initiative, we met in January with staff from the Dept. of Labor and Industry's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS). We wanted to explore ways that we could partner to improve accessibility at our Trails of History sites for people who are blind or have low vision. BBVS staff were enthusiastic and offered to do some site visits to provide us with specific suggestions. A team visited Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum in May, and we have a visit to the Pennsylvania Military Museum tentatively scheduled for later this month. BBVS also told us about Aira, an app that uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to remotely assist people who are blind or low vision with everyday tasks. Aira "explorers" subscribe to the service, which connects them to professional agents who provide audio description of whatever their smartphone or smart glasses camera is pointed at. When we talked to the folks at Aira, we learned that destinations (stores, museums, etc.) can also subscribe and allow explorers to visit their locations without using up their subscription minutes. The Smithsonian Institution had just launched as an Aira location, so we talked with the accessibility coordinator to get her experience.

Woman with guide dog talks with man in exhibit gallery at Erie Maritime Museum
Shelley Rhodes, Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, her guide dog, Humphrey, and museum guide Chuck Lehr explore the Erie Maritime Museum using the Aira app (photo Natalie Ditzler)
We decided to create a pilot project for Aira (see PHMC press release) and selected six sites: Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania Military Museum, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and The State Museum of Pennsylvania. We worked with Aira to geo-fence each site so that explorers could use the service for free while visiting. The service went "live" on June 1, and we are gradually learning about the kinds of information we need to provide for the agents. The Erie Maritime Museum, especially staffer Natalie Ditzler, has been proactive in working with the Erie BBVS, where the staff has been very generous with their time and expertise. Several staff members have tested Aira in the galleries and provided the rest of us with useful insights. Shelley Rhodes, a vision rehabilitation therapist in the Erie BBVS office who is blind, said she found Aira easy to use and enjoyed exploring the exhibits - "One of the hardest things I had to accept about my vision loss was that I could not see art and artifacts any longer with my eyes. But with apps like Aira I can explore things in a new and exciting way." She also noted that she was able to browse in the museum store, with the Aira agent describing items or reading book titles. In addition to helping us test Aira, staff from the Erie BBVS office also returned to the museum to provide some training for guides on how to create the best visitor experience for people who are blind or low vision. That information will also be shared with the other pilot sites. Stay tuned.

Learning about Marine Archaeology

Students around a table with worksheets and other papers
Students learn about charting shipwrecks with Erie Maritime Museum educator Chuck Johnson (in maroon shirt) (photo by Marcus Masternak)
Trailheads Erie correspondent, Linda Bolla, reports that "Erie Maritime Museum Educator Chuck Johnson is taking summertime opportunities to roll out a Museum Archaeology Lab, piloting the activities for the museum’s 2019-2020 school field trip schedule during Flagship Niagara League’s Tall Ship Summer Camp. Among other goals, the program will help students develop observational skills and apply math concepts through activities such as locating and charting objects. While the activities meet several Pennsylvania Core Standards, the Lab meets the campers’ most important criteria – fun!"

Table with pieces of wood, tin cup and plate, and coins to simulate shipwreck debris field
Two students next to debris field table ruler and worksheet, one student is wearing latex gloves
Top photo shows the simulated shipwreck debris field (photo Linda Bolla)
Bottom photo shows students learning how to measure and chart the debris field (photo Marcus Masternak)

Wrapping Up July

Vietnam era military encampment with tents and jeep, people in uniform
Vietnam Revisited event at PA Military Museum, July 20-21 (via Facebook)
Just to recap late July a bit, the photo above is from the Pennsylvania Military Museum's 2019 Vietnam Revisited event, which took place July 20-21 (more photos in the Facebook album for the program). Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum's Civil War Days was held the same weekend. Lancaster Online covered the event and posted a gallery of photos with their article. Photographer Jennifer MacNeill's photos of the cavalry demo are on her Facebook page. MacNeill regularly photographs events at Landis Valley; her portfolio also includes other Lancaster County scenes and numerous photos of horses and the people who love them (you can find one of her horse photos, Back Scratch, in the current Art of the State exhibit at The State Museum of Pennsylvania).

On the PA Trails of History, July 26-August 8

The August program page is now available. This week's post wraps up July and gets us into early August.
Native American and colonial reenactors talk to visitors at Bushy Run
Visitors and reenactors at the 2018 Battle of Bushy Run anniversary event (via Facebook)
Bushy Run Battlefield
July 27: Bushy Run Market—this open air market features a changing variety of vendors (last Saturday of the month, May-September). This month, Ligonier Valley Writers will also be on hand. The concession stand will have drinks and light fare. Free for visitors and vendors (prospective vendors should contact market@bushyrunbattlefield.com to discuss participation). 8 am-noon.
Aug. 3-4: 256th Anniversary of the Battle of Bushy Run—the reenactment of the first day of the battle will take place on the afternoon of Aug. 3, with the 2nd day reenactment on the afternoon of Aug. 4 (see the website or Facebook event page for details). You'll also find military camps, period craftspeople and musical performances, and food vendors at this annual event. Admission is $10 for ages 13+, $5 for ages 4-12; a two-day pass is available for $15 (adult) and $7 (child). 10 am-4 pm both days.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Aug. 4: Living History Sunday—learn about life in Berks County in the mid-18th century. Guided tours offered. Free admission. Noon-4 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
July 31, Aug. 7: Sawmill demonstrations—the site's water-powered up-down sawmill will be demonstrated at 11 am and 2 pm.

Late 1800s streetscape with hotel and businesses in Pithole Pennsylvania
Danforth House and other businesses in Pithole during its heyday (photo from Drake Well Museum collection, via Facebook)
Drake Well Museum and Park
July 27: Something More Saturday—in addition to the regular indoor and outdoor exhibits at Drake Well Museum, learn about and try your hand at 19th-century lawn games. Included in regular admission. 10 am-3 pm.
July 27-28, Aug. 3-4: Historic Pithole open. Admission charged. 10 am-4 pm.
Aug. 4: Drake Well Marathon and 1/2—this is a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon. Both races (full marathon and half marathon) begin and end at the Museum and make use of Titusville streets and the bike path in Oil Creek State Park. Proceeds benefit Drake Well Museum and Park. You must register to participate.

Eckley Miners’ Village
Aug. 3-4: Time Warp - From Civil War to WWII—this is a mixed-era military and homefront history event packed with reenactors, music, food, and more throughout the site. (At 6 pm on the 3rd, there will be a Swing Dance at Freeland Public Park Pavilion.) Admission charged (separate fee for dance). 10 am-5 pm.
Ephrata Cloister
Aug. 4: Ice Cream Social—enjoy ice cream sundaes and live music, meet therapy dogs from KPETS, and visit the historic buildings. $5 per person. 1-4 pm.

Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
Thursday-Saturday through Aug. 31: Experience History – Rolling Cart Series—the new rolling cart program presents maritime-themed activities for visitors or all ages. Find out what’s in a sailor’s seabag, learn about the busy life of a lighthouse keeper, build your own warship and more! Included with Museum admission. Stay tuned to Erie Maritime Museum’s social media accounts (such as Facebook) for more information and weekly schedules.
Through Aug. 16: Tall Ship Summer Camp—sail on board the schooner Lettie G. Howard and learn all kinds of nautical skills. Geared for ages 10-14. Details and registration info are on the website.

Fort Pitt Museum
Please visit the Fort Pitt Museum website for information on upcoming events and programs.

Front view of Hope Lodge showing symmetrical arrangement of windows on brick facade
Classic Georgian architecture at Hope Lodge (via Facebook)
Hope Lodge
July 28, Aug. 4:—the site is open for tours every Sunday, through mid-October. Admission is charged (cash or check only). Site is open 1-4 pm, with tours at 1 and 2:30.
UPDATE 8/6 - Due to expected weather, this event is moving to the raindate of Aug. 8 Aug. 7: Movie Night—bring a blanket or lawn chair and settle in to watch A League of Their Own (1992). Presented by Whitemarsh Township Parks and Recreation. Admission is free, snacks available for purchase. 8-10 pm. Raindate is Aug. 8.

Joseph Priestley House
Aug. 4: Oxygen Day—in honor of Dr. Priestley’s best known scientific contribution, this program features costumed docents throughout the house and chemistry demonstrations (more info on the website). Admission is free, but space is limited for the chemistry demos, so be sure to pick up a ticket at the visitor center (or reserve a spot by calling 570/473-9474). 1-4 pm; chemistry demos at 1:30 and 2:30 pm.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
July 27: Splint Reed Chair Caning Class—instructor Patti Erickson will teach participants how to weave a herringbone pattern seat for a small stool. Fee charged includes materials. Details and online registration on Landis Valley's website. 10 am-4 pm.
Aug. 6: Hands-On History Day—wind down the summer and learn what life was like for kids a century ago. Cost is $11 per person (FREE for Landis Valley Associates members and kids age 5 and under). 10 am-3 pm.

Old Economy Village
July 27: Woodworking Class: Beyond the Basics—Dave Blair will teach this class for people who have taken the Intro to Woodworking class or have a basic knowledge of 19th-century woodworking tools. Class is free, but space is limited so you must register (details on the website. 10 am-1 pm.
Aug. 1: Culture and Foods of the Native Americans—part of Old Economy's series on food and culture. This presentation focuses on the people who lived at Logstown in the mid-1700s and their uses of local flora and fauna. Food samples will be provided. The program is free, but registration is required (contact Chloe Thomas at 724-266-4500 x104 or at c-chlthoma@pa.gov). 7-8 pm.

Green leaves and vines of hops growing in Pennsbury Manor garden
Hops growing in Pennsbury's garden in June (via Facebook)
Pennsbury Manor
July 28, Aug. 4: Sunday Programming—something different every week: chat with the gardeners and the brewers (7/28); meet the joyner, blacksmith, and spinners (8/4). Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
Aug. 3: Monthly Book Club—this month's selection is Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore (more info on the book and the meeting). 10 am.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Aug. 3-4: Cork Camp—this 2-day program is designed with kids age 10 and older in mind (families are welcome). On Day 1, learn about the history of logging in PA and the skills needed to be a successful "woodhick." On Day 2, help demonstrate those skills at the Cherry Springs Park Woodsmen's Show. Pre-registration is required (visit the museum website for details).
Pennsylvania Military Museum
Aug. 4: Lecture—Joseph R. Fischer, PhD, will present "Road to Nowhere: The Struggle for the Hürtgen," exploring the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, which stretched from Sept. 19 to Dec. 16, 1944 (details on the website). 2-3 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Aug. 1: Garden Railway Tour and Swing Dance Tickets on saleGarden Railway Tour: this year's (self-guided) tour is on Sunday, Oct. 6 (rain or shine). Tickets may be purchased at the museum starting today and will be available at Stauffer's locations in central PA starting Sept. 1. Swing Dance: Saturday night, Nov. 2, will find 1940s dance music and dancers among the trains in Rolling Stock Hall from 7 to 10 pm.

Somerset Historical Center
Through Sept. 15: Traveling Exhibit—the center is hosting "We Can Do It," an exhibit from the Heinz History Center exploring Western PA's role and impact during World War II. SHC has also teamed up with the Turkeyfoot Historical Society to add a focus on Somerset County during the same period. Included in regular admission during regular operating hours.
Aug. 2: First Friday Food Fest—local food trucks and vendors will be on site with casual dinner options. There will also be live music and tractor-drawn hayrides. Free admission; $2 per car for parking. 5-8 pm.
Aug. 3: Family Fun 5K Run/Walk—the Center's groomed trail makes a loop through woods and meadows; once around is 5K (you can make as many circuits as you want). Enjoy the scenery! No admission charged, and maps are available. 8 am-noon.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Please visit the State Museum website for a full schedule of Planetarium shows.
July 26, Aug. 2: Summer Fridays—Fridays are "Pay as You Wish" for general admission (through Aug. 23). Regular fees apply for the Planetarium, and Curiosity Connection will have timed tickets between 10 am and 3 pm. At 12:15 pm each Friday, a special "Learn at Lunchtime" will be offered (July 26 details, Aug. 2 details).
July 31, Aug. 1, 7, 8: Nature Lab—a wide assortment of programming is scheduled for the museum's Nature Lab area (July 31 details, August details). Included in regular admission. 11:30 am.
Aug. 2: StoryTime—this month's participants will enjoy a reading of Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet and then use finger paints to try to recreate the images in the story. Geared for children ages 3-5 with an adult. Included in general admission. 10:30-11:30 am.
Aug. 4: Artist's Conversations—take an informal tour of this year's Art of the State exhibit with PHMC executive director Andrea Lowery and artist Amy LeFever, whose ceramic piece, Untitled, won first prize in the craft category this year. Included in general admission. 2-3 pm.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit the Washington Crossing website for a complete listing of upcoming programs and events.

Catching Up and Cooling Off on the Trails of History

Last week's post includes events through July 25, and the July program page does the rest. Highlights for this weekend are below.

Graphic with sun in the middle and tips for dealing with heat
Tips from the PA Department of Health (via Facebook)
As I write this (Thursday 7/18), the weather forecast for most of Pennsylvania is "hot, hot, hot," with the worst temps and heat index in southcentral PA. I'm not aware of any Trails of History program or schedule changes as of now, and I will do my best to add updates to this post as I can. As always, it's never a bad idea to check ahead with sites on social media or websites to be sure about schedules. Sites with outdoor events or activities will be keeping an eye on the health and safety of staff, presenters, and public (not to mention any animals that may be part of the program). Dress for the weather (as if you don't always do that), stay hydrated, and find the shady spots (more heat-related tips from ReadyPA). Of course, some Trails of History sites are fully air-conditioned - be prepared to have lots of company.



On the other hand, if you, like me, really cannot stand to leave the house when it's this hot, why not stay inside and immerse yourself in the 50th anniversary of the moon landing? I have a very sleepy memory of staying up really late to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take their first steps on the moon - truth to tell, 7-year-old me was probably asleep when Buzz left the lunar module. In the lead-up to the anniversary, I've watched (or watched again) a couple of documentaries and marveled at footage of the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket projected onto the Washington Monument (see that and more from the National Air and Space Museum). You can find a list of NASA's anniversary events on their website. The National Archives has gathered all kinds of resources you can browse and dive into, including an item that has always fascinated me--the memo sent by White House speechwriter William Safire to Richard Nixon's chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, with a suggested speech for the President in case Armstrong and Aldrin were stranded on the moon ("In the Event of Moon Disaster").

The State Museum of Pennsylvania has been celebrating Moon Madness (see website for activities today and this weekend). Earlier this week, they had a program for kids to learn about rockets, which culminated in a launch just outside on the plaza (see video below).



Scheduled for this weekend (as of 7/18)...

Drake Well Museum and Park
July 20-21: Historic Pithole open. Admission charged. 10 am-4 pm.

Graeme Park
July 21: Living History Sunday—learn about the traditions, games, crafts, and foodways of the Lenni Lenape (more info on the website). Admission charged for tours of the Keith House. Noon-3 pm.

Hope Lodge
July 21—the site is open for tours every Sunday, through mid-October. Admission is charged (cash or check only). Site is open 1-4 pm, with tours at 1 and 2:30.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
July 20-21: Civil War Days—the site is transformed into a rural Pennsylvania village in 1863, with reenactors portraying soldiers and civilians (more info). The event takes place rain or shine. Admission charged; tickets are available online from Brown Paper Tickets. Food will be available for purchase. 10 am-4 pm both days.

Pennsbury Manor
July 21: Sunday Programmingsee what the cooks are up to in the kitchen. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
July 20: Paths Less Traveled—explore basements, attics, and other spaces not generally included on tours. Benefit of membership in The Pennsbury Society (joining is easy). 10-11:30 am.
July 21: Play the Past!—learn 17th-century games that families would have played during their leisure time. Fun for all ages. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.

A man and a woman compete in a log rolling contest in sawmill pond at PA Lumber Museum
Log birling competitors at the PA Lumber Museum (photo via Facebook)
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
July 20: 3rd Weekend Program—have you ever wanted to try log birling (aka log rolling)? This is your chance. Details are on the Facebook event page. Included in regular admission. 1-2 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
July 20-21: VIETNAM Revisited—living historians will be on the grounds portraying American combat and support troops “in country” in the late 1960s. 10 am-5 pm (tactical demo at 1:30 pm each day).

Somerset Historical Center
Opens July 20: Traveling Exhibit—the center is hosting "We Can Do It," an exhibit from the Heinz History Center exploring Western PA's role and impact during World War II. SHC has also teamed up with the Turkeyfoot Historical Society to add a focus on Somerset County during the same period. Included in regular admission during regular operating hours (exhibit will be onsite through Sept. 15).

Photo of moon with words Moon Madness and July 17-21

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Please visit the State Museum website for a full schedule of Planetarium shows.
July 19: Summer Fridays—Fridays are "Pay as You Wish" for general admission (through Aug. 23). Regular fees apply for the Planetarium, and Curiosity Connection will have timed tickets between 10 am and 3 pm. At 12:15 pm, a special "Learn at Lunchtime" will be offered (see events page for details). Tonight for 3rd in the Burg, join Harrisburg Young Professionals for "Moon Madness," with a variety of activities from 5:30 to 7:30 (details).

Trails of History Info, July 12-25

This week's post will cover you for most of the rest of July, but the full July program page will get you to the 31st.

Water flowing across water wheel to power sawmill demonstration
Operating demonstration of Bertolet Sawmill at Daniel Boone Homestead (ca. 2007)
Daniel Boone Homestead
July 17, 24: Sawmill demonstrations—the site's water-powered up-down sawmill will be demonstrated at 11 am and 2 pm.

Drake Well Museum and Park
July 13: MEET-U BBQ—St. Louis-style BBQ ribs with Drake Well's signature Sweet Crude Sauce plus sides, all to benefit the museum's mobile education unit (details on the website). 5-8 pm.
July 13-14, 20-21: Historic Pithole open. Admission charged. 10 am-4 pm.

Eckley Miners' Village
July 13: Eckley Car and Bike Show—enjoy vehicles of years past, ice cream, live music, a 50/50 raffle, People’s Choice contest, and much more. If you are interested in having a car or motorcycle in the show, please complete and submit the Vehicle Registration Form. Admission charged. Noon-5 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
July 13: Ephrata Cloister Chorus—the chorus will perform a brief concert in the Saal (meetinghouse) Saturday afternoon, included in regular admission. 2 pm.

Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
Thursday-Saturday through August 31st: Experience History – Rolling Cart Series—the new rolling cart program presents maritime-themed activities for visitors of all ages. Find out what’s in a sailor’s seabag, learn about the busy life of a lighthouse keeper, build your own warship and more! Included with Museum admission. Stay tuned to Erie Maritime Museum’s social media accounts (such as Facebook) for more information and weekly schedules.

Fort Pitt Museum
Please visit the Fort Pitt Museum website for information on upcoming events and programs. Fort Pitt Museum will be open on July 4.

Graeme Park
July 21: Living History Sunday—learn about the traditions, games, crafts, and foodways of the Lenni Lenape (more info on the website). Admission charged for tours of the Keith House. Noon-3 pm.

Hope Lodge
July 14, 21—the site is open for tours every Sunday, through mid-October. Admission is charged (cash or check only). Site is open 1-4 pm, with tours at 1 and 2:30.

Joseph Priestley House - white clapboard siding
Joseph Priestley House (photo via Facebook)
Joseph Priestley House
July 24-26: History Camp—this year's theme is "Dr. Priestley in Northumberland." The program offers a wide range of activities for first through sixth graders (more info and registration form). Fee charged; registration deadline is July 23. 9 am-noon.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
July 16-19: Summer Sampler Camp—kids ages 5-11 will enjoy a variety of activities, inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. Details and instructions for registering are on the website. 9 am-12:30 pm.
July 20-21: Civil War Days—the site is transformed into a rural Pennsylvania village in 1863, with reenactors portraying soldiers and civilians (more info). The event takes place rain or shine. Admission charged; tickets are available online from Brown Paper Tickets. Food will be available for purchase. 10 am-4 pm both days.

Old Economy Village
July 13: Introduction to Wine Making—instructor Frank Mazzotta started making wine as a hobby; in 2015 he decided to do it professionally and opened Mazzotta Winery. This class will discuss various types of wines and the process for making wines. Class is free, but space is limited to 50 people. Please register by July 10 by contacting David Miller, Museum Educator at davmiller@pa.gov or 724-266-4500 ext.110. 10 am-1 pm.
July 13: Crop and Kettle—learn about a community organization whose mission is to help people gain sustainable employment in food-related fields. The program is free, but reservations are requested (details and registration info). 1-2 pm.
ADDED July 14: Picnic in the Garden—bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy the beautiful gardens. There will be some tents, tables, and chairs available, and you'll have a chance to meet site administrator Michael Knecht and his wife Barbara. Included in regular admission, so please start at the Visitor Center (more info on Facebook event page). Noon-5 pm.
July 15-19, 22-26: History Camps—retired art teacher Dee Ruckert will lead the classes. Children age 6-12 (6-year-olds must have completed kindergarten) will experience a variety of activites while exploring the historic buildings for inspiration. Details and registration info are in the summer camp brochure). 9 am-12:30 pm.
July 24: Culture and Foods of the Middle Eastern Immigrants—Center Township native Patrick Michael, owner of Rafka Foods and Jemila Foods, will present a program on Lebanese culture and food. The program is free, but registration is required (info on website); there will be food samples provided. 7-8 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
July 13: Conversations in History—this month's program is "The Lenni Lenape of Pennsylvania" (more info on website). Fee charged (includes site admission). 10-11 am.
July 14, 21: Sunday Programming—something different every week: Pirates in the Tavern! (living history theater) (7/14); see what the cooks are up to in the kitchen (7/21). Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
July 15-19: Time Traveler's Camp—this camp is for students who've finished grade 5, 6, or 7 who want to learn about life 300 years ago. Registration is required (info and online registration are on the website). 10 am-3 pm.
July 20: Paths Less Traveled—explore basements, attics, and other spaces not generally included on tours. Benefit of membership in The Pennsbury Society (joining is easy). 10-11:30 am.
July 21: Play the Past!—learn 17th-century games that families would have played during their leisure time. Fun for all ages. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.

A man and a woman compete in a log rolling contest in sawmill pond at PA Lumber Museum
Log birling competitors at the PA Lumber Museum (photo via Facebook)
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
July 20: 3rd Weekend Program—have you ever wanted to try log birling (aka log rolling)? This is your chance. Details are on the Facebook event page. Included in regular admission. 1-2 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Through July 14: Annual People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts—celebration of arts and artisans held on the museum grounds (visit the festival website for details). Festival is free, $5 charged for on-site parking at PMM; regular museum admission applies to tour the indoor exhibits. Fri-Sat, 10 am-9 pm (museum open 10 am-5 pm); Sun., noon-5 pm.
July 20-21: VIETNAM Revisited—living historians will be on the grounds portraying American combat and support troops “in country” in the late 1960s. 10 am-5 pm (tactical demo at 1:30 pm each day).
July 25: Registration deadline for Boot Camp for Kids—this year's Boot Camp will be held Aug. 3 (more info and registration forms.

Somerset Historical Center
Opens July 20: Traveling Exhibit—the center is hosting "We Can Do It," an exhibit from the Heinz History Center exploring Western PA's role and impact during World War II. SHC has also teamed up with the Turkeyfoot Historical Society to add a focus on Somerset County during the same period. Included in regular admission during regular operating hours (exhibit will be onsite through Sept. 15).

Photo of moon with words Moon Madness and July 17-21

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Please visit the State Museum website for a full schedule of Planetarium shows.
July 12, 19: Summer Fridays—Fridays are "Pay as You Wish" for general admission (through Aug. 23). Regular fees apply for the Planetarium, and Curiosity Connection will have timed tickets between 10 am and 3 pm. At 12:15 pm each Friday, a special "Learn at Lunchtime" will be offered (see events page for details). On July 19 (3rd in the Burg), join Harrisburg Young Professionals for "Moon Madness," with a variety of activities from 5:30 to 7:30 (details).
July 17: Moon Madness - Build and Launch a Paper Rocket—kids between the ages of 6 and 12 are invited to learn about rockets, design and build one out of paper, and test its flight-worthiness using Alka-Seltzer (more info). Included in regular admission. 11:30 am.
July 18: Curiosity Kids - Moon Making—this program, designed for ages 3 to 6, will teach about the moon and guide participants in making an image of it to take home. Included in general admission. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up at the front desk when you arrive. 11:30 am.
July 24, 25: Nature Lab—an assortment of programming is scheduled for the museum's Nature Lab area (visit the events page for details). Included in regular admission. 11:30 am.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit the Washington Crossing website for a complete listing of upcoming programs and events. The site will be open on July 4.

Programs, Programs, Programs

I hope that you had a safe and fun Independence Day yesterday. (The weather forecast as I write this on July 1 is a bit iffy, so who knows?) Last week's post features Trails of History events through July 11, and the July program page will take you through the end of the month.

As we move into the thick of the summer (I've already been complaining about the heat for two weeks now), there are lots of programs going on (see links above to find out more). There's also plenty of activity behind the scenes and out front for visitors exploring our sites. Here are just a few highlights.

Woman playing a harp on the grounds of Ephrata Cloister with building in background
Harpist performing at Ephrata Cloister's Summer Fest artisan event on June 29 (photo via Facebook)
Ephrata Cloister partnered with Artisans in the Park to offer their first annual Summer Fest, which brought artisans and musicians to the site for a lovely open air event (luckily the thunderstorm held off until mid-afternoon). Photo above is from Saturday's event; you can see more on Ephrata Cloister's Facebook page. Artisans in the Park has also partnered with Conrad Weiser Homestead on several events and will offer a Harvest Festival there on September 28 (see Facebook event page).

PA Lumber Museum curator Joshua Fox recently shared the post above related to the production of birch oil in the lumber region. The museum has a reproduction birch still built by dedicated volunteers. You can see it in operation this weekend at the annual Bark Peelers' Festival.


This year's Patch Town Days event at Eckley Miners' Village featured Italian heritage and culture, and included performances by students at the Keystone Ballet Academy. One of the parents shared video of the dancers - be sure to turn the sound on to hear the music.


PHMC's Keystone Summer Internship program is in full swing and we have a number of great interns working in Harrisburg and at various sites. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania introduced their Keystone intern, Mitchell Rebuck, in a recent Facebook post (above) and also featured Benjamin Barnhart, an intern from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology who is splitting his time between the Railroad Museum (in the restoration shop) and Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (in the tin shop and blacksmith shop). We'll try to introduce you to some of the other summer interns before summer is over.

On the Trails of History, June 28-July 11

The full July program page is now available for those of you who want to look further ahead. Many sites on the PHMC's Trails of History will be open on Thursday, July 4; open sites and any special programming are noted below.

Erie County government representative presents proclamation to two members of League of Women Voters
(photo Linda Bolla)
On Monday, June 24, Erie Maritime Museum hosted a celebration of the centennial of Pennsylvania's ratification of the 19th Amendment. In the photo above, Gary Lee (right), on behalf of Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, presented a proclamation to Christal Lepak (left) and Lori Morse-Dolan (center) of the Erie Chapter of the League of Women Voters. Museum staff put together a pop-up exhibit documenting women's suffrage campaigning in Erie - the first women's suffrage parade in Pennsylvania took place in Erie in 1913 as part of the centennial of Perry's victory in the Battle of Lake Erie. The League of Women Voters held a voter registration drive to highlight the importance of exercising our right to vote. For more information, see local coverage on Go Erie.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
July 4: Site opencheck website for hours.

Brandywine Battlefield
July 4: Site opencheck website for hours.
July 8 thru week of August 5: Summer History Camp—visit Brandywine's website for more info on each week and to register.

Bushy Run Battlefield
July 6: Annual Classic Car Cruise—classic and custom cars, live music, food, drink, and more. Event is free; regular admission applies to visit the exhibits. 11 am-3 pm.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
July 7: Living History Sunday—enjoy a summer afternoon at the homestead learning about life in the Tulpehocken. Admission is free. Noon-4 pm.

Ornate 19th-century mansion with front porch and tower
Curttis and Peter Grubb, sons of the builder of Cornwall Furnace, built this mansion in 1773. The Coleman family, whose patriarch Robert Coleman had acquired the furnace and estate, did extensive remodeling in 1865. Included in the renovation was the addition of Italianate architectural elements. Today a few residents of Cornwall Manor have apartments in this building. (photo via Facebook)
Cornwall Iron Furnace
July 4: Site opencheck website for hours.
July 9: Friends Lecture Series—Henry Deemer will present "Historic Sites on Cornwall Manor Campus" (more info on Facebook event page). Admission is free (donations are welcome). Lectures are held in Freeman Hall Auditorium at Cornwall Manor Retirement Community. 7 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
June 29: Celebrating Our Country's Heritage—enjoy tours of the Boone Homestead, see blacksmithing and other demos, and support the Keystone Military Food Bank. Requested admission donation is 2 non-perishable food items per person over age 5. Regular admission fees apply to visit without donating food items. 10 am-4 pm.
July 3, 10: Sawmill demonstrations—the site's water-powered up-down sawmill will be demonstrated at 11 am and 2 pm.

Drake Well Museum and Park
June 29: Something More Saturday—this month's focus is the Mobile Energy Education Training Unit (MEET-U). There will also be blacksmithing demonstrations. Included in regular admission. 10 am-3 pm.
June 29-30, July 6-7: Historic Pithole open. Admission charged. 10 am-4 pm.
July 4: Site opencheck website for hours.
July 11: Discovery Days—children age 8-12 will experience nature, perform experiments, discover history through artifacts and exhibits and so much more (program offered Thursdays through August 1). Fees charged and registration is required (program brochure and registration form) by July 5. 9 am-4 pm.

Eckley Miners' Village
July 4: Site opencheck website for hours.

Ephrata Cloister
June 29: Artisans in the Park Summer Fest—spend the day touring the site, visiting with the artisans and vendors, and enjoying delicious food - all in support of Ephrata Cloister and its programs (more info on the Facebook event page and in this article from The Ephrata Review). Event is rain or shine and admission is free. 9 am-4 pm.
July 4: Site opencheck website for hours.

Mast of Lettie G Howard with Pride flag
View of schooner Lettie G. Howard with "Don't Give Up the Ship" and LGBTQ Pride Flag (photo Linda Bolla)
Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
Ends June 30: Blue Star Museum exhibit—several items from the collection are on display in recognition of the museum's participation in the Blue Star Museums program. The items are related to the World War I service of William L. Morrison and William H. Stine. The collection includes the earliest use of the Blue Star Flag, incorporated into personal items and a commercially-made flag to represent a man serving in the front lines. Included in regular admission during regular operating hours.
July 1-August 16: Tall Ship Summer Camp—sail on board the schooner Lettie G. Howard and learn all kinds of nautical skills. Week-long camp sessions are still booking (first week is just 3 days), geared for ages 10-14. Details and registration info are on the website.
July 3: Lights Over Lake Erie Sail—enjoy Erie's Independence Day eve fireworks from the deck of Lettie G. Howard. Tickets and details are available online. 9-11 pm.
UPDATED INFO July 4: Friends and Family Day—free admission and tours of Lettie G. Howard (Niagara will be sailing the Great Lakes). 9 am-5 pm.

Fort Pitt Museum
Please visit the Fort Pitt Museum website for information on upcoming events and programs. Fort Pitt Museum will be open on July 4.

Stone kitchen building with garden at Graeme Park
The kitchen and garden at Graeme Park (via Facebook)

Graeme Park
July 4: Independence Day at Graeme Park—there will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence and tours of the Keith House (more details on the website). Admission charged for tours of the Keith House. Noon-3 pm.

Hope Lodge
June 30, July 7—the site is open for tours most Sundays, through mid-October. Admission is charged (cash or check only). Site is open 1-4 pm, with tours at 1 and 2:30.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
July 4: Site openplease check the website for hours.
July 9-12: Summer Sampler Camp—kids ages 5-11 will enjoy a variety of activities, inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. Details and instructions for registering are on the website (Summer Sampler also offered July 16-19). 9 am-12:30 pm.

Old Economy Village
July 8-12: Art Camp—retired art teacher Dee Ruckert will lead the class. Children age 6-12 (6-year-olds must have completed kindergarten) will experience a variety of activites while exploring the historic buildings for inspiration. Please note that OEV is also offering History Camps July 15-19 and 22-26 (details and registration info are in the summer camp brochure). 9 am-12:30 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
June 29: Brews & Bites at Pennsbury Manor—sample beers from Philadelphia-area craft brewers and enjoy food, musical entertainment, and demonstrations of historic beer brewing. The event page has info on ticket options and link for online purchase. NOTE: VIP and Designated Driver tickets have sold out. Must be at least 21 to attend. 3-7 pm.
June 30: Play the Past!—learn how to play popular 17th-century games at this family-friendly event. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
June 30, July 7: Special Sunday Programming—something different every week: Meet the Animals that live and work at Pennsbury (6/30); meet the joyners, blacksmiths, and wool spinners (7/7). Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
July 4: Site opencheck website for hours.
July 6: Monthly Book Club—July's book is I, Eliza Hamilton (2018) by Susan Holloway Scott. Book club is free and open to the public (light refreshments served). 10-11 am.
July 8-12: History Camp—learn about life 300 years ago. Geared for kids who have completed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade. Registration is required (details on website). 10 am-3 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
June 30: Application deadline for Cork Camp scholarships—a limited number of scholarships are available for Cork Camp attendees age 18 and under. More info and instructions are available on the website. (Cork Camp takes place August 3-4; scholarship winners will be notified by July 11.)
July 4: Site opencheck website for hours.
July 6-7: Annual Bark Peelers’ Festival—this hugely popular event recreates the 4th of July celebrations of Pennsylvania’s early 20th-century lumber camp workers and “woodhicks.” The schedule for this year's event is now available online. Admission is charged. 9 am-5 pm (events start at 10 am).

Child trying on military gear at PA Military Museum event
Learning about soldier life by trying on military gear (photo via Facebook)
Pennsylvania Military Museum
June 29-30—the 1 pm guided tour is included in regular admission (normally an additional charge).
July 4: Kids Day—kids (of all ages) can try on uniforms from the museum's education collection and learn about soldier life. Have your photo taken behind the wheel of an authentic military Jeep. Included in regular admission. 10 am-3 pm.
July 6: Documentary screening—filmed by the British War Office in 1916, The Battle of the Somme documents the first days of a battle that lasted four months. The museum's press release for this event notes that many of the Western Front action scenes in this film were restored for Peter Jackson's recent film, They Will Not Grow Old. Included in regular admission. 2:30-3:30 pm.
July 11-14: Annual People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts—celebration of arts and artisans held on the museum grounds (visit the festival website for details). Festival is free, $5 charged for on-site parking at PMM; regular museum admission applies to tour the indoor exhibits. Thurs-Sat, 10 am-9 pm (museum open 10 am-5 pm); Sun., noon-5 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
June 30-July 7 (open July 4): Reading Railroad Days—offered in conjunction with the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society, this program features an enormous HO-scale model railroad and highlights Reading Company rolling stock in the Museum’s collection. Included in regular museum admission during regular hours.

Somerset Historical Center
July 5: First Friday Food Fest—come down and enjoy a casual dinner, selected from a variety of local food trucks and vendors (details on website). There will be live music and tractor-drawn hay rides. This event that will take place the first Friday of August as well. Admission is free; $2 per vehicle for parking. 5-8 pm.
July 6: Family Fun 5K Run/Walk—SHC has a groomed trail that runs through woods and meadows, circling back around to the main site; once around is 5K (but you can take more than one lap). There's no admission charge, and maps are available. This event will also be offered the first Saturday of August. 8 am-noon.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Please visit the State Museum website for a full schedule of Planetarium shows.
June 28, July 5: Summer Fridays—Fridays are "Pay as You Wish" for general admission (through Aug. 23). Regular fees apply for the Planetarium, and Curiosity Connection will have timed tickets between 10 am and 3 pm. At 12:15 pm each Friday, a special "Learn at Lunchtime" will be offered (see events page for details).
July 3, 10, 11: Nature Lab—a wide assortment of programming is scheduled for the museum's Nature Lab area (visit the events page for details). Included in regular admission. 11:30 am.
July 5: StoryTime—this month's book, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, is Man on the Moon by Anastasia Suen. Reading time will be followed by a planetarium show about the moon, suitable for the program's audience of 3-5 year olds (with an adult). Included in regular admission. 10:30-11:30 am.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit the Washington Crossing website for a complete listing of upcoming programs and events. The site will be open on July 4.