A Glimpse Into Our Collections

We received word yesterday, March 26, on March 30 that all PHMC offices and facilities will remain closed to the public through Friday, April 3 Thursday, April 30. All programs and events are canceled through the end of April, but schedule changes will likely continue for programs in May and beyond. We will update schedule info as we are able. For ongoing updates, visit PHMC's homepage or the official Commonwealth of PA COVID-19 info page.

During this time, staff are taking care of buildings, grounds, and animals or teleworking on site projects and providing digital access to our history and collections. PHMC's Facebook page, Pennsylvania Trails of History, is a good place to start looking for resources to #LearnInPlace or #MuseumFromHome. If you're not already following your favorite site on Facebook, drop me a note in the comments and I'll send you a link.

So while we're here, how about a little of that historical content? In this week's post, curator Rachel Yerger, one of my colleagues in the Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums, highlights some of our "outdoor recreational collections that also promote responsible social distancing."


18th-century brick mansion with center door and steps - there are 6 windows on each of 3 floors, plus 3 dormers on the attic story
Historic Hope Lodge, located in Montgomery County, PA (photo via Facebook)
First up is a 1940s badminton set catalogued to the Degn Collection at Historic Hope Lodge. Hope Lodge, built between 1743 and 1748, is located in Montgomery County and is a prime example of Georgian architecture. The house was saved from demolition in 1922 by William and Alice Degn, who restored and lived at Hope Lodge until 1957, when the property was turned over to the state. (You can read more about Hope Lodge's two time periods on the website. Update 3/30: you can read about Susanna Heath Morris, mother of original owner Samuel Morris, on the Hope Lodge Facebook page. UPDATE 3/31: Be sure to see the embedded post from Hope Lodge at the bottom of this post with photos from the Degn period of residency.)

Remnants of badminton shuttlecocks - red rounded end and green band with bits of wood stuck in rim
Four badminton racquets and the box they came in lie on a table with yardstick
Top photo: remnants of two badminton shuttlecocks (HL76.1.1409 G-H)
Bottom photo: badminton rackets are measured and photographed as part of the cataloguing process (HL76.1.1409 A-F)
The game of badminton likely evolved from games played in ancient Europe and Asia. What we know today as badminton was modernized in British-occupied India during the mid-1800s. By the late 1930s, the game had become popularized in the United States. It became an Olympic event in 1992 and with the right equipment, it can also be played in the backyard! To comply with the current protocol on social distancing, I suggest a singles game. [Editor's note: it looks like two racquets' length apart should do it.]

Eight wooden croquet mallets lined up on a table with yardstick - the handles are approximately on yard long, the heads of the mallets have grooves and painted stripes
Three round wooden croquet balls - some traces of paint are still visible
Top photo: croquet mallets lined up for measuring (HL76.1.1360.2-9)
Bottom photo: close-up of croquet balls - you can still see a little of their original paint (HL76.1.1360.10-17)
Next is a croquet set from the first half of the 20th century. This set is also attributed to the Degn collection at Hope Lodge. The modern game of croquet originated in the 1850s in England and by the 1870s it had reached the U.S. It waned in popularity during the turn of the century but had a resurgence in the 1920s and 30s and then again in the 1960s and 70s. This set is likely from that first resurgence period.

What kind of activities are you doing to beat cabin fever?

The New Normal (for Now)

For information on closures and other schedule changes on the PA Trails of History, please see last week's post (it will also give you an idea of how rapidly things were changing late last week and over the weekend.) For ongoing updates, visit PHMC's homepage or the official Commonwealth of PA COVID-19 info page.

Dining room table with red patterned tablecloth and laptop computer
My home "office" on Monday morning
For now, we're settling in for site closures through the end of March and event cancellations through the end of April (we'll post updates as we get them). It's tremendously disruptive to site programming and operations (and we've had to postpone our annual Volunteer of the Year awards ceremony), but it's where we are. Those of us who can work remotely from home are teleworking, rapidly improving our Skype and other online meeting skills. Other staff are checking on buildings and tending to animals and plants, working one-at-a-time. We're doing our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by social distancing and "flattening the curve" (I found this Washington Post simulation to be a useful illustration).

Dining room table with papers and folders strewn next to laptop computer
My home "office" Thursday afternoon

Site personnel and social media folks are quickly exploring ways to share interesting historical content with the public (beyond what they normally do, of course, which is a lot). Here are a few examples. If you aren't already following your favorite sites on social media, now is a good time to check them out.


Image description: black and white photo of two men in shirt sleeves and hats, standing on either side of a large tree with a notch cut out. They are each holding one end of a two-man crosscut saw. Text reads, "Woodhick Social Distancing...keep one crosscut saw's length apart."

The Pennsylvania Military Museum blog is sharing information about items in their collection and the personal stories they represent. Stories include that of a US Army private in France during World War I and that of an American sailor from Erie who took part in the nuclear tests known as "Operation Crossroads" (the Flagship Niagara Facebook page shared the post to their followers as well). New content will be posted as staff continues to gather and share information.

Speaking of Erie, the Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara issued a "Marine Art Challenge," sharing paintings of ships and other maritime scenes and inviting families (and anyone else) to create their own art and post it.

Metal miners lamp with a shield and the letters U.M.W. of A.
Miners lamp from the collection of Anthracite Heritage Museum (via Facebook)

Expect to see lots of photos of our collections in the coming weeks. The Anthracite Heritage Museum posted the image above and invited followers to answer a question about what the letters stand for (and a bonus question about where the lamp was made). You can find the answers in the comments on this Facebook post.


Pennsbury Manor used their Facebook page to ask readers what kinds of content they want to see.


And I will leave you with these lovely photos from Graeme Park's Facebook page. Please be safe, be calm, and visit the Trails of History virtually during this time. And support your local businesses if you can.

On the Trails of History, March 13-31

Please note that PHMC's response to COVID-19 will evolve as circumstances change. For updates, follow PA Trails of History on Facebook, @PHMC on Twitter, or the Alerts page on the agency website.

PHMC Responds to COVID-19

The safety and well-being of our visitors, volunteers and staff is the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission’s highest priority. We are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it evolves in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

We are taking the following steps, developed in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, Department of Health, and the Department of General Services.

The State Museum and the Pennsylvania State Archives

In an abundance of caution the PHMC is cancelling all group events, tours and rentals within our facilities in the Capitol Complex and at all of our historic sites and museums through the end of April. The State Museum of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Archives are closed to individual visitors and researchers until further notice.

Sites in Montgomery County

In accordance with Governor Wolf’s closure of schools and community centers in Montgomery County, we will close the following sites to all visitors until further notice: Graeme Park, The Highlands Mansion and Hope Lodge.

Sites and Museums Outside the Capitol Complex and Montgomery County

Individual visitation will continue to be allowed at PHMC facilities outside the Capitol Complex and Montgomery County, however all group events, tours and facility rentals are cancelled through the end of April.

UPDATE 3/13/2020 Today, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Wolf announced the closure of all K-12 Pennsylvania schools, effective Monday, March 16. This closure will extend for 10 business days.

In our efforts to protect all Pennsylvanians, including our youngest, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission will mirror this strategy by closing all PHMC historic sites and museums to all visitors across the commonwealth, regardless of location, effective Saturday, March 14, [correction] Brandywine Battlefield Park is closed today, March 14, and remaining sites on the Trails of History will be closed starting tomorrow, March 15. The closures will extend through the end of March. Staff will report to work but they will not be welcoming visitors.

UPDATE 3/17/2020: as of today, all Trails of History sites are closed. Staff at sites and in PHMC offices who are able to are teleworking through the end of March. Site personnel will be doing daily checks on facilities and, where applicable, tending to animals and plants during the closure. We will keep you posted.

UPDATE 3/26/2020: we received word today that PHMC facilities and offices will remain closed to the public through Friday, April 3.

Staff Meetings and Events

The Governor’s Office has issued a memo limiting agencies’ hosting of and employees’ attendance at large meetings, conferences, trainings and community events. In line with that directive we are limiting in-person meetings within PHMC facilities to 10 people or fewer through the end of April and encouraging staff to collaborate with outside colleagues virtually if possible.

PHMC we will be monitoring this situation in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, Department of Health, and Department of General Services. Beyond these measures, work will continue at PHMC as usual.

On the Trails of History, February 28 through March 12

Please note that some site operating schedules start to "expand" in March, after seasonal winter closures or reductions. Be sure to check ahead before visiting. This schedule is subject to change. For events later in March, check the March program page.

Remember to set your clocks ahead one hour for the start of Daylight Saving Time, March 8 at 2 am. March 8 is also Charter Day - site schedules and activities are listed below.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
March 8: Charter Day —the museum will be open, free of charge, noon-5 pm. At 2 pm, PHMC Commissioner Bill Lewis, reporter David DeCosmo, and Mae Thomas, who is related to several Titanic passengers, will explore local connections to the famed ocean liner that sank in April of 1912.

Brandywine Battlefield Park
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-4 pm.

Bushy Run Battlefield
March 8: Charter Day —the site will be open, free of charge. There will be reenactor demonstrations, vendor booths, a basket raffle, and more from noon to 4 pm. Guides will available for tours of the battlefield from noon to 3. The visitor center and park will be open until 5.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
March 8: Charter Day—the site’s largest living history event of the year. Check the Facebook event page for details. Noon-4 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-4 pm. Guides will be stationed throughout the site to provide info and answer questions (press release has details).
March 10: Friends Lecture Series—Susan Boardman, a licensed Gettysburg Battlefield Guide, will present “Monuments of Gettysburg.” Lectures are held, free of charge, in Freeman Hall auditorium on the Buckingham Campus at Cornwall Manor. 7 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-4 pm. There will be 18th century music played on antique instruments, spinning, hearth cooking, and gun building demonstrations on site. The Boone house and other historic structures will be open for tours. The Amity Colonial Dancers will being giving dancing demonstrations with audience participation welcomed. Kids can learn quill writing, be mustered into the Revolutionary War militia, play period games, and much more! Check out the Facebook event page for details.

Drake Well Museum and Park
March 5, 12: Wisdom and Wine Series—enjoy hors-d’oeuvres and wine tasting (featuring Brokenstraw Valley Winery) and learn about a variety of topics: Mar. 5, “Back to Nature,” Ernst Conservation Seeds; Mar. 12, “Hidden History,” Jessica Hilburn. Tickets sold at the door - cost is $10 per person for wine tasting and lecture, $5 for lecture only (calendar of events has details). Doors open at 5:30 pm, programs start at 6:30.
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-5 pm.

Eckley Miners’ Village
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-5 pm. The gift shop will be open noon-4:30. The main parking lot may be blocked for construction, so please look for signs directing you where to enter the site and park.

Ephrata Cloister
March 5, 12: Winter History Class—class began in January, but you can still sign up for one or more of the remaining sessions (class schedule and topics.
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-5 pm. The Ephrata Cloister Chorus will perform in the Saal (meetinghouse) at 2, 3, and 4 pm. Visitors are also encouraged to bring a donation of paper towels; laundry detergent and cleaning products; canned fruit (low sugar); high protein items like canned tuna, canned chicken, peanut butter; cereal; jelly; snack items (boxes of crackers, peanut butter crackers, etc.); canned soup for Ephrata Area Social Services.

Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
March 8: Charter Day—the museum will be open, free of charge, noon-5 pm. Tour the Commonwealth’s Flagship, explore the museum’s exhibits, and visit the Hirt Auditorium at 2:00 p.m. for "Silkies, Sailors, and Lady Pirates," a concert by folklorist Kelly Armor of songs about women on the water. There will also be a new exhibit on the Lake Erie Sea Monster and special sea monster scavenger hunt. Visit the Facebook event page for details.

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

Graeme Park
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-4 pm. Tours of the Keith House will be offered (last admission to house is at 3:15).

Hope Lodge
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-3 pm.

Joseph Priestley House
March 8: Charter Day and Dr. Priestley’s Birthday—visit with costumed docents in each room (including the laboratory) and wish Dr. Priestley a happy birthday while he demonstrates the wonders of chemistry in the Pond Building. Try “Dr. Priestley’s Fizzy Water” (produced in NY state – I like the Cucumber Mint flavor) and visit the “When Pigs Fly” food truck.1-4 pm (chem demos at 1:30 and 2:30).

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Multiple dates: Winter-Spring Workshops for Adults—Landis Valley offers an array of workshops and classes for adults who want to learn new skills and information. Please visit the website (for class list and registration details).
March 4, 11: Homeschool Classes—different topics and activities for each date; visit website for details and registration. 9 am-12:30 pm.
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, noon-5 pm. Part 2 of LVM's latest exhibit, Thrown, Fired, and Glazed: The Redware Tradition from Pennsylvania and Beyond, will open to the public (runs through Dec. 2020).

Old Economy Village
March 8: Charter Day—kicking off our 2020 season, the site will be open, free of charge, noon-5 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, 1-4 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
March 8: Charter Day—the site will be open, free of charge, 9 am-5 pm. Guided tours of the site will be offered.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
March 7-8: Charter Day Weekend Celebration—the museum will offer guided tours and hands-on history stations, with free admission, on Saturday (10 am-4 pm) and Sunday (noon-4 pm). The Friends Lecture Series will offer a program at 2 pm on Sunday.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
March 7: Reading on the Rails—enjoy stories about trains, railroads, and amazing people, places, and things, read by a host of local notables (info on readers and story times on website). Children will receive stickers at each story-reading to decorate a cardboard suitcase. Catcher, the museum’s friendly mascot, teams from Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS), and an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter will be part of the program. The Bookmobile from the Library System of Lancaster County will be on site as well (Lancaster County residents age 5 and over may sign up for a library card). All activities are included in regular admission. 9 am-5 pm.
March 8: Charter Day—the museum is open, free of charge, noon-5 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Visit the website for a complete schedule of Planetarium shows.
Feb. 28: Learn at Lunch—RESCHEDULED FROM FEB. 21: Jason Wilson, historian for the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee, will lead a tour of Violet Oakley’s Senate Chamber murals, discussing their history and preservation (details on the website). Participants should meet at the Third Street entrance to the PA Capitol Building (if you don’t have a Commonwealth of PA id badge, you’ll need to go through security, so please gauge your time accordingly). 12:15-12:45 pm.
March 5: Curiosity Kids series—this month's program is "Feed the Birds!" and participants will make a feeder to take home (program details, including a nut allergy warning). Included in general admission, but space is limited so be sure to sign up at the front desk. 11:30 am.
March 6: Storytime—gather in the Anthropology and Archaeology Gallery to read Ruth Brown’s Ten Seeds and take a packet of sunflower seeds to sprout. Designed for ages 3-5 with an adult. Included in general admission. 10:30-11:30 am.
March 6: Learn at Lunchtime—Megan Evans and Darrill Ersery of the Pennsylvania State Archives will talk about the Gradual Abolition of Slavery Act of 1780, which is being displayed alongside Pennsylvania’s 1681 Charter this year. Included in general admission. 12:15-12:45 pm.
March 7-April 26: Celebrating Student Achievement—the museum will host three exhibits highlighting Pennsylvania students: South Central PA Scholastic Art Awards, National History Day in PA, and Future City Competition (see website for details). Included in general admission.
March 8: Charter Day—the museum will be open, free of charge, noon-5 pm (schedule of activities).

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

On the Trails of History, February 14-27

Many sites are on adjusted winter schedules, and February is notorious for bad weather, so it is advisable to check ahead before planning a visit. Most Trails of History sites will be closed on February 17 for Presidents Day; I’ve noted exceptions below where I have info.

Wood and stone museum building with snow on the ground and wooded hillside in the background
Celebrate winter this weekend at the PA Lumber Museum - see details below (photo via Facebook)
Bushy Run Battlefield
Feb. 22-23: Make an 18th-Century Shift—this 2-day workshop will explore women’s shifts from 1760 to 1800, including examining an extant shift ca. 1790-1800 and a reproduction 1770s shift. Some experience is necessary—participants should be confident in their hand-sewing skills, including running stitch, backstitch, buttonhole stitch, and felling stitch. Additional details on the Facebook event page. Cost is $180 and includes all materials, catered lunch, and snacks both days. Sat., 9 am-5 pm; Sun., 9 am-3 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Feb. 20, 27: Winter History Class—each Thursday morning participants in the Winter History Class learn about the history of the celibate brothers and sisters, the world they lived in, and the work of preserving the collections and buildings. Sign up for the series or for individual dates (visit website for session details and cost). Contact the site at 717/733-6600 to register. Class continues through March.

Fort Pitt Museum
Please visit the Fort Pitt Museum website for info on any events and programs happening this month. Fort Pitt Museum is open on Presidents Day, Feb. 17.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Winter/Spring Workshops—February brings learning opportunities, including craft and trade classes, lectures, and classes offered by the Heirloom Seed Project. Schedules and costs vary. The full list of classes through April is on the website, along with registration info.
Homeschool Classes—this year marks the 10th anniversary of Landis Valley’s homeschool program. On six Wednesdays in February through mid-March, the site offers a series of classes designed for homeschool groups. Each week has a different focus and activities. Sign up for all or some, depending on your schedule and interest (full details are on the website). 9 am-12:30 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Feb. 14-16: Snow-mobility Weekend—ride your snowmobile to the museum all weekend-long. Cross-country ski/ hike to the museum on Saturday (Feb. 15) for a Pancake Breakfast (9:30 am-1:30 pm). (Cross-country ski trek will meet at Susquehannock State Forest District HQ on Route 6, 4 miles west of the museum at the top of Denton Hill. Please be there no later than 9 am. They will have cross country skis to borrow. Call 814/274-3600 for more info.) Documentaries will be shown in the program room during breakfast. Check out the Facebook event for updates and details.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Feb. 23: Lecture/Movie—today’s event is focused on Iwo Jima; visit the museum’s calendar of events for updated info. 2-3 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Feb. 17: Presidents Day—the museum is open today, 9 am-5 pm (otherwise closed on Mondays through March).

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Planetarium Shows—check the State Museum website for schedule and program descriptions.
Feb. 16: Exhibit Tour—join Dr. Curt Miner and Amy Hammond for a curatorial tour of Picturing a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Mural Studies for the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber, 1911-1919 (more info on the website).  Included in regular admission. 2-3 pm.
Feb. 21: Learn at Lunch—Jason Wilson, historian for the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee, will lead a tour of Violet Oakley’s Senate Chamber murals, discussing their history and preservation (details on the website). Participants should meet at the Third Street entrance to the PA Capitol Building (if you don’t have a Commonwealth of PA id badge, you’ll need to go through security, so please gauge your time accordingly). 12:15-12:45 pm.
Feb. 27: Nature Lab—learn about Pennsylvania’s Wild Cats, native bobcats and cougars. Included in regular admission. 11:30 am-noon.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit the Washington Crossing website for operating schedules and info on events and programs happening this month. Washington Crossing will be open on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day.

On the Trails of History, January 31 to February 13

Many sites are on adjusted winter schedules, and February is notorious for bad weather, so it is advisable to check ahead before planning a visit. This week’s post gets you almost to Valentine’s Day; if you’re planning further ahead, the February program page is available.

Image: drawing of midcentury modern visitor center building at Historic Pithole shown with snow-covered trees. Text says Pithole Cabin Fever, February 1st
Join the fun at Historic Pithole this Saturday (Feb. 1) - see details below under Drake Well listing (image via Facebook)

Bushy Run Battlefield
Feb. 13: Historic Sewing Workshop Series—each program in the series starts with one hour of instruction in basic techniques, followed by an hour of open studio time to work on your projects and enjoy the company of the group (see Facebook event page for details (additional dates in series are Mar. 12 and Apr. 9). 6-8 pm.

Drake Well Museum and Park
Feb. 1: Pithole Cabin Fever Party—shake off your winter blues with food, crafts, games, and fun. If there is snow, grab your sled and cruise down the legendary boomtown’s slopes or build a snowman! Donations welcome. Takes place at Historic Pithole City, 14118 Pithole Road, Pleasantville, PA 16341 (check out the Facebook event for details). 10 am-2 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Feb. 6, 13: Winter History Class—each Thursday morning participants in the Winter History Class learn about the history of the celibate brothers and sisters, the world they lived in, and the work of preserving the collections and buildings. Sign up for the series or for individual dates (visit website for session details and cost). Contact the site at 717/733-6600 to register. Class continues through March.

Fort Pitt Museum
Please visit the Fort Pitt Museum website for info on any events and programs happening this month.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Winter/Spring Workshops—February brings learning opportunities, including craft and trade classes, lectures, and classes offered by the Heirloom Seed Project. Schedules and costs vary. The full list of classes through April is on the website, along with registration info.
Homeschool Classes—this year marks the 10th anniversary of Landis Valley’s homeschool program. On six Wednesdays in February through mid-March, the site offers a series of classes designed for homeschool groups. Each week has a different focus and activities. Sign up for all or some, depending on your schedule and interest (full details are on the website). 9 am-12:30 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Planetarium Shows—check the State Museum website for schedule and program descriptions.
Feb. 7: Storytime—this month's program takes place in the Planetarium, with Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper and a planetarium show. Geared for ages 3-5 with accompanying adult. Included in regular admission. 10:30-11:30 am.
Feb. 13: Curiosity Kids—this month's program will explore Native American clothing. Geared for young visitors, ages 3-6. Included in regular admission, but space is limited so be sure to sign up at the front desk when you arrive at the museum. 11:30 am-noon.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit the Washington Crossing website for operating schedules and info on events and programs happening this month.

On the Trails of History, January 17-30

Please note that Trails of History sites will be closed on Monday, January 20, for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Also, winter weather can interfere with operating schedules, so it can't hurt to check before heading to a site. Social media is the best place to look for updates. 1/26/20: February program page is now available.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Jan. 18: Knox Mine Disaster Commemoration—the program includes speakers, music, and a display of mining memorabilia (see Facebook event for details). Admission is free. 2-3:30 pm.

Brandywine Battlefield Park
Jan. 21: Revolutionary Dining Series—Joseph Seymour, Army National Guard historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, will present a talk on the Military Association of Pennsylvania, commonly known as the Pennsylvania Associators. Cost is $50 per person and includes salad, entree, and dessert in addition to the program (see Facebook event page for more info). Program takes place at The Gables at Chadds Ford, 6-9 pm.

Bushy Run Battlefield
Jan. 25-26: Making Basic 18th-Century Accessories—learn to make a plain pocket, a triangular linen neck handkerchief, a silk bonnet, and a pair of fancy garters during this two-day hands-on workshop. Cost is $165 and includes lunch and snacks both days. Check out the Facebook event page for details on how to register. Sat., 9 am-5 pm; Sun., 10 am-4 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Jan. 30: Winter History Class begins—learn about the history of the community at Ephrata and the world that surrounded it. Speakers include site staff as well as outside scholars. Sessions are held from 9 am to noon each Thursday through March 26, and there is a field trip (extra charge) on April 2. Cost for the entire class is $55, $45 for members; you can attend individual classes for $10 each. Call the site at 717/733-6600 for more information or to register.

Fort Pitt Museum
Fort Pitt will be closed in January for collections inventory and exhibit maintenance/upgrades. Please visit the website for information.

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Jan. 18, 19, 25: Winter Workshops—check out the workshop page on Landis Valley’s website for details on a variety of hands-on classes for adults; you’ll see the schedule for February and March as well. Times and costs vary.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Jan. 25: Winter in the Lumber Camp— outdoor fun in the snow with sledding, snow men, and snow art activities. Try your hand at cross-country skis, snowshoes and ice skates (conditions permitting) with the help of equipment provided by PA DCNR and volunteer instructors. Food and drink available in the program room. Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for details. 10 am-4 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Through Feb. 9: Murder on the Orient Express at Fulton Theatre—the museum is partnering with Fulton Theatre to offer group and individual tour packages during the run of the play, for a great cross-over experience. Visit the museum’s Facebook page for details and to see video of the play's cast touring the museum to learn more about trains and their history.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania
Please visit the museum’s Planetarium page for a full schedule.
Jan. 17: Learn at Lunch—join the Art Docents for a tour of Picturing a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Mural Studies for the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber, 1911-1919, on view through April 26. 12:15 pm.
Jan. 23: Nature Lab—learn how to identify different kinds of rocks. Included in general admission. 11:30 am.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit the Washington Crossing website for info on this month's programs and schedule.

On the Trails of History, January 3-16

This week's post covers the first half of January. If you're looking further ahead, please visit the January program page to see the rest of the month. Remember that many sites adjust schedules during the winter and that winter weather can impact operations. It never hurts to double check before heading to your favorite site.

Tomorrow, Jan. 4, is the start of the Pennsylvania Farm Show. As in past years, staff from various parts of PHMC will be there to share our agency's work with show goers. For more info, check PHMC's Facebook page or the Farm Show website. And don't miss the food court!

People stand in front of display of archaeology info and a recreated dugout canoe
PA Farm Show 2019 at the Archaeology Booth (photo via Facebook)

Bushy Run Battlefield
Jan. 9: Historic Sewing Workshop Series—each workshop consists of one hour of formal instruction followed by an hour of open studio stitching (see Facebook event page for details and registration instructions. Also offered Feb. 13, Mar. 12, and Apr. 9. 6-8 pm.
Jan. 11: Intro to Embroidery—Jessica Young will lead this beginner-level class exploring the basics of embroidery (all skill levels are welcome). Participants will make a hanging pincushion appropriate for accentuating your 18th-century wardrobe. Cost is $75 and includes all materials (and refreshments). See Facebook event page for details. 9:30 am-3 pm.

Fort Pitt Museum
Fort Pitt will be closed in January for collections inventory and exhibit maintenance/upgrades. Please visit the website for information.

Joseph Priestley House
Jan. 5: Twelfth Night—glimpse the Priestley family’s life in Northumberland with a taste of the English customs they remembered. The house will be decorated as an English country manor, costumed docents will be on hand, and there will be chemistry demonstrations and children’s games. Free admission. 4-7 pm (chem demos in the Pond Building at 4:30 and 5:30 - space is limited for those, get tickets at the visitor center).

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Jan. 4 (and later in the month): Winter Workshops—check out the workshop page on Landis Valley’s website for details on a variety of hands-on classes for adults; you’ll see the schedule for February and March as well. Times and costs vary.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Jan. 14-Feb. 9: Murder on the Orient Express at Fulton Theatre—the museum is partnering with Fulton Theatre to offer group and individual tour packages during the run of the play, for a great cross-over experience. Visit the museum’s Facebook page for details.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania
Please visit the museum’s Planetarium page for a full schedule.
Jan. 3: StoryTimethis month's program takes place in Nature Lab and features Charlotte the Scientist is Squished by Camille Andros. Program is designed for children ages 3-5 with an accompanying adult. Included in general admission. 10:30-11:30 am.
Jan. 9: Curiosity Kids—visit Nature Lab to learn about owls. Geared for ages 3-6 with an adult. This program is included in general admission, but space is limited, so be sure to sign up at the front desk when you arrive. 11:30 am.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit the Washington Crossing website for info on this month's programs and schedule.