On and Off the Trails Again

Please visit the August programs page to find info about events on the Trails of History.

There is no discernible theme to this week's post (shocking), so don't try to find one. On the other hand - if you do try, and you do find one, feel free to let me know in the comments! Otherwise, enjoy the stroll and enjoy the weekend.

Last week, Joseph Priestley House hosted their annual Oxygen Day event commemorating Dr. Priestley's scientific work on the isolation of the gas we call oxygen (he called it "dephlogysticated air"). In addition, the Friends of Joseph Priestley House invited descendants of Joseph and Mary Priestley to visit, providing behind the scenes tour of the home and Priestley-related sights in and around Northumberland (read more on the JPH website). Reporter Suzanne Goldklang of WNEP-TV covered the event and spoke with some of the descendants, including a teenage boy whose family recently discovered their connection to the Priestley family. (If the embedded video below does not play, you can find it on WNEP's website.)

Hearth cooking class at Graeme Park
Graeme Park shared this photo of Erin Agnew and participants in hearth cooking class on Sunday, Aug. 6 (via Facebook)
The first of four hearth cooking classes, "Let Food Be Thy Medicine," was offered at Graeme Park this past Sunday (to see other photos visit Graeme Park's Facebook page). It's not too late to sign up for the remaining three (discounts offered for members and for multiple classes). Online registration is available.

Reenactors Battle of Bushy Run
Col. Henry Bouquet (right) talks with colonials (photo Bushy Run Battlefield)
Bushy Run Battlefield commemorated the Battle of Bushy Run (Aug. 5-6, 1763) last weekend with their annual two-day reenactment. So that visitors can get the full scope of the history in one day, they always reenact the action of August 5 on Saturday morning and August 6 in the afternoon (then repeat on Sunday). An epic effort by Bushy Run board, staff, and volunteers along with all the reenactors who take part presenting British, colonial, and Native American forces. Museum facilitator Colleen Madore shared some photos with me (one of them is above) and there are more photos and video on Bushy Run's Facebook page.

Boot Camp for Kids at PA Military Museum
This year's participants in Boot Camp for Kids, PA Military Museum (via Facebook)
Last weekend was also the annual Boot Camp for Kids event at the Pennsylvania Military Museum, which provides boys and girls ages 8 to 13 with a taste of military training, teamwork, and rations, under the instruction of staff and volunteers with prior military experience. More photos are available on PMM's Facebook page. (I'm not sure I shared a link to images from last month's VIETNAM Revisited living history program, which you can also find on Facebook.)

Bundling flax at Landis Valley
First step in linen production: pull up the flax plants (via Landis Valley Facebook page
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum shared some photos of Heirloom Seed Project staff and volunteers pulling and bundling flax plants that are now ready to be turned into linen at Colonial Williamsburg (close ups of the bundles on FB).

If you get a chance, catch "2017 Eclipse Across America" at the State Museum Planetarium between now and August 20 for a good overview of how eclipses work and what to expect from the one coming up on Aug. 21. If you haven't already gotten eclipse viewing glasses from a reputable dealer, you may have to improvise (here in PA, we'll get a 75-80% partial eclipse, which requires eye protection the entire duration).

A few links from off the trails...

A Brand New Month

The full August program page is available for those of you who like to plan ahead. I've highlighted events coming up this weekend and next week in the space below.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Aug. 5: Labor Heritage Day—commemorating the coal miners' and laborers' strike of Aug. 1, 1877. At 2pm, an original play, After the Shots were Fired, by Margo L. Azzarelli, Marnie Azzarelli and Alex Lotorto, will be presented in the auditorium. The one-act play commemorates the 140th anniversary of the 1877 riot on Lackawanna Avenue where four men lost their lives during a time of labor unrest in the country. (After the Shots were Fired is funded by a Lackawanna County Arts & Culture Community Project Grant.) The day will conclude with various labor related literary submissions being read from members of our local community. Light refreshments will be served. The heritage day events are free; museum admission is charged to view the core exhibits. Noon-4 pm.

Bushy Run Battlefield
Aug. 5-6: 254th Anniversary of the Battle of Bushy Run—there are two battle reenactments (morning and afternoon), so you can learn about the events of August 5 and 6, 1763, all in one day. You'll also find military camps, period craftspeople, and food vendors at this annual event. Admission is $8 for ages 13+, $5 for ages 4-12. 10 am-4 pm both days.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Aug. 6: Living History Sunday—learn about life in Berks County in the mid-18th century. Guided tours offered. Noon-4 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Aug. 8: Lecture—Jim Polcynski will present "Transition from Grubbs to Colemans." Learn about the transition of ownership of the Cornwall Furnace, Ore Banks, and related properties from the Grubb family to Robert Coleman in the late 18th century. 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.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Aug. 5: Colonial Games and Gambling—learn about and try your hand at a variety of early American games, such as cards, hazard, draughts, dice, and backgammon. Peanuts will be used for wagering. 2 pm.
Aug. 9: Sawmill Operation Day—subject to staff availability, there will be demonstrations of the site’s water-powered sawmill at 11 am and 2 pm. Free of charge (admission rates apply to tour the historic area.)

Drake Well Museum
Aug. 5-6: 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.
Aug. 6: 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. 5-6: 1940s Weekend—learn about life during World War II through home front and military displays, music, food, and more throughout the site. Off-site at 6 pm on the 5th, there will be a Swing Dance at Freeland Public Park Pavilion. Admission charged (separate fee for dance). 10 am-5 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Aug. 6: Ice Cream Social—ice cream (courtesy of Turkey Hill and dipped by PA State Representatives Mindy Fee and David Zimmerman) and an old-fashioned sing-along in a beautiful setting. K-Pets therapy dogs will be visiting, and the winning ticket for quilt raffle will be drawn. Admission is $5 per person for ages 6 and up (younger than 6 get in free). 1-4 pm.

Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
Aug. 8: Erie Gives—you can support the museum and ship and stretch your donation by participating in Erie Gives Day. Online giving only, 8 am-8 pm, on the Flagship Niagara League's Erie Gives page.

Fort Pitt Museum
Aug. 5-6: Guided Tours—docents will lead one-hour tours of the museum exhibits twice daily on weekends this summer. Visit Fort Pitt's Facebook page for this weekend's tour times.
Aug. 5 and 6: Living History Programs—this "Artillery and Artificers" explores the fort's artillery, the people who fired it (with demos during the day, weather permitting), and the people who made it; 11 am-4 pm both days. The Fort Pitt Fife and Drum Corps will be on hand Sat., Aug. 5, from noon to 4 pm.

Graeme Park
Aug. 6: Hearth Cooking Class—today's class, "Let Food Be Thy Medicine," is the first in a series of four offered this month. Each class is $45 per person ($35 for members), but there are discounts for taking multiple classes. Check out Graeme Park's e-newsletter for details on the other classes and for a link to register for one or more.

Hope Lodge
Aug. 9: Movie Night—bring a blanket or lawn chair and settle in to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Presented by Whitemarsh Township Parks and Recreation. Admission is free, snacks available for purchase. Starts at dusk. (Raindate is Aug. 10.)

Joseph Priestley House
Aug. 6: 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. 1-4 pm; chemistry demos at 1:30 and 2:30 pm.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Aug. 8: Hands-On History Day—experience chores, games, and crafts from the past, take a wagon ride, and learn your lessons in the one-room schoolhouse (more info and online ticketing on website). Cost is $11 per person (FREE for Landis Valley Associate members and kids age 5 and under). 10 am-3 pm.

Old Economy Village
Aug. 5: Spotlight Saturday—glimpse life and work in the 19th century through demonstrations and tours. This week's focus is blacksmithing. Included in regular admission, so please start at the Visitor Center. 11 am-4 pm (site open 10 am-5 pm).

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Aug 5-6: Guided Tours—the 1 pm guided tour each day is included in museum admission.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Aug. 4: Free Summer Friday, StoryTime, and Learn at Lunchtime—admission is free all day on Fridays in the summer; timed tickets will be available for 45 minutes of play in Curiosity Connection; regular fees apply for the Planetarium. Today's StoryTime program (10-11 am) will include a tour of selected works in the "Art of the State" exhibit and a reading of Perfect Square by Michael Hall. Today's Learn at Lunchtime program (12:15 pm in Nature Lab) is "Pennsylvania Birds."
Aug. 6: Artist's Conversations—take an informal tour of this year's "Art of the State" exhibit with artist Michael Brolly, first prize winner in the Craft category, and Collections Advancement Project curator Carol Buck. Included in general admission. 2-3 pm.
Aug. 7-10: Nature Lab and Planetarium—visit the Museum's events page for details.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Aug. 6: Kayak the Canal—all equipment will be provided and no kayaking experience is required for this leisurely paddle along the Delaware Canal. Cost is $5 per person and you must pre-register. Register online for either the 10 am-noon paddle or the 1-3 pm paddle.

Intern Insights

Don't forget to check the July program page for info on this final weekend of July. The August page is also available if you want to plan ahead.

Did you know that yesterday was National Intern Day? I was already working on this post when I found out, so that must mean something, right? Thank you to all of our interns and to the staff and volunteers who serve as mentors, teachers, and supporters.

Interns in horse drawn wagon at Landis Valley July 2017
Keystone interns and PHMC staff took a horse-drawn wagon ride with Joe Schott at Landis Valley during a field trip earlier this month
So we're nearing the end of summer intern season, and I hope that all of our interns have had a great experience with PHMC. Some interns apply through the PHMC Keystone Summer Internship Program and are placed at the State Archives, State Historic Preservation Office, State Museum, or one of our Trails of History sites. Others apply directly to a site that interests them. Our intern mentors work hard to provide real-world experience and exposure to a variety of professional activities and issues. For some, an internship is a brief interlude on the way to another career (let's be honest, internships can be great for figuring out things you don't want to do with your life). For others, an internship helps build a resume and establishes personal and professional relationships that will last long after the summer has ended.

A Facebook post from the Anthracite Heritage Museum (AHM) featuring one of their summer interns illustrates the lasting impact of internships. The post is shown below, but what you don't see are two comments from past AHM interns. One said, "Congrats, Anna! I was one of the first interns there. Best of luck." The second said, "Same here. I was an intern 9 years ago for the museum. I really enjoyed my time there and hope you do too Anna!" I think that speaks volumes about the intern experience, not to mention the connections that social media enables.

Another AHM intern is chronicling her experience via her university website. Amber is working with curator John Fielding to learn about cataloguing museum collections and mounting photos for an exhibit, sharpening her public speaking skills by giving tours and working with public programs, and researching local history about the Lithuanian community (read all about it on Misericordia University's Local History Projects site).

The Pennsylvania Historic Preservation blog recently shared info about Keystone interns spending the summer in the State Historic Preservation Office and a related program that is run in cooperation with PennDOT.

And my thanks to Courtney Goodzinski, interning with Linda Bolla at the Erie Maritime Museum this summer, for sharing about some of her projects. Courtney is working on a master's degree in public history at Indiana Univ. of PA and expects to graduate in May 2018.

Wall of Admirals at Erie Maritime Museum
Wall of Admirals, Erie Maritime Museum
As an intern at the Erie Maritime Museum, I get the opportunity to work on large projects, such as the ARGUS catalog transition and following an artifact being presented to the collections committee in August. While these projects take up a majority of my time, there are moments when I get to take a break and work on smaller projects, such as correcting exhibit displays involving grammatical errors or helping out in the museum store. This week, however, I was able to help redisplay the biographies hanging on the Admiral Wall, located on the second floor. Given Erie's rich naval history, the museum likes to honor and recognize men who have gone above and beyond to serve our country as admirals, and we are proud to recognize ten men from the area who have achieved that ranking. While some of the alterations to the men’s biographies were just changing text format, altering photograph size, or adding additional information, we were able to make a major change to one man’s biography. Matthew J. Kohler was recently promoted to the U.S. Navy rank of Vice Admiral in Suffolk, Virginia. Achieving this new ranking as Vice Admiral and Commander of Naval Information is much deserved, considering that Vice Admiral Kohler has served in multiple tours since 1984. (Adm. Kohler was part of a fighter squadron tour in the 1984 Libyan Strike, served two deployments to Somalia with the Marine Corps 1994-95, and went on several operations to Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2007.)

Being able to read about Vice Admiral Kohler’s service to our country and his achievements in life was a wonderful break from renaming image files and researching artifacts. It’s stories and projects like this that remind me that being involved in public history isn’t always about the next big, flashy exhibit. Sometimes it’s as simple as making sure we properly honor and share the stories of those who served in the past and preserve the stories of those who are currently serving in order to share them with future generations. This experience is one of many that I’ve participated in while interning, and they all helped confirm that I made the right career field choice. To Vice Admiral Kohler and all others who have served and are continuing to serve our country, thank you for your service and dedication.