January 2018 on the Trails of History

Please be sure to check site operating schedules before you visit to avoid disappointment and frustration. Winter brings adjusted days, hours, and/or building availability, as well as the occasional weather-related closure. All sites will be closed on January 1. Most sites will be closed on January 15 for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday, but Fort Pitt Museum and the Railroad Museum of PA will be open.

Please note: many sites are in the process of updating their online calendars for the coming year. I will try to post new info as it becomes available. Please check back periodically for additions or check with the site if you are looking for a particular program.

UPDATED 1/5/18, 1/10/18, 1/11/18

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Jan. 20: Knox Mine Disaster Commemoration—this annual program marks the anniversary of the Knox Mine Disaster (Jan. 22, 1959), when the Susquehanna River broke through the roof of the River Slope Mine, killing 12 miners. This event is part of Anthracite Heritage Month (see Facebook for list of events in the region). Speakers Erika Funke and David Brocca will present two documentaries on the event, one from 1984, one from 2018. Jay Smar will perform music of the coal region. Program is free; refreshments will be served. 2 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Jan. 14: Fireside Tales—spend a winter afternoon in the Wayside Lodge listening to stories and warming yourself by the fire (more info on Facebook event page). Dress for the weather and bring a blanket if it's really cold. Suggested donation, $2 per person. 2 pm.

Drake Well Museum
Jan. 27: Something More Saturday—enjoy family-friendly activities in addition to the museum's permanent exhibits (check the Facebook event for details). Included in regular admission. 10 am-3 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Jan. 25: Winter History Class begins—learn about the history of the community at Ephrata and the world that surrounded it (see session list on Facebook page). Speakers include site staff as well as outside scholars. Sessions are held each Thursday through March 22, and there is a field trip (extra charge) on April 5. You can sign up for the whole series or one class at a time. Call the site at 717/733-6600 for more information or to register.

Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
Jan. 6: Winter Sail Training begins—interested in sailing as part of the volunteer crew on Niagara but aren't sure what's involved? This initial free class is an orientation to the sailing program. Details on Niagara's Facebook page.

Fort Pitt Museum
Jan. 1-26: Closed—the museum will be closed for maintenance and exhibit updates, reopening Jan. 27, 2018.

Joseph Priestley House
Jan. 7: 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. 4-7 pm (chem demo in the Pond Building at 4:30).

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Jan. 20: Creative Gardening: Where Nature and Inspiration Intersect—this program explores the basic elements of environmentally responsible gardening and ways to work with what you have to create the garden you want. Bob Goodhart will lead the class, and Mary Kirk Cunningham will join him for a discussion of involving your children in the garden. (More info and link to online registration for this and other winter classes.) Cost of class is $30 ($28.50 for members). 9 am-noon.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Jan. 14: Winter Fun in the Lumber Camp—dress warmly to explore outdoor activities at this new event cosponsored by the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Susquehannock Trail Club. Bring your own sled, if you like, or try cross-country skis, snowshoes, or ice skates provided by the museum (conditions permitting). Outdoor activities, including guided snowshoe hike on the Sustainable Forestry Trail, are free. There will be a nominal charge for museum admission and snacks if you want to venture indoors. Visit the website for details. 10 am-3 pm (trail hike is at 1 pm).

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Jan. 6: History Talk—topic is "The Siege of Harpers Ferry: The Battle of 1862." 3-4 pm.
Jan. 26: "What's in a Collection?"—learn about the importance of preserving and presenting the objects and stories of Pennsylvania's military history. Light refreshments will be served. 6-7 pm.

Pennsylvania State Archives
Jan. 6-13: Search Room Closed—the Archives staff will be at the Pennsylvania Farm Show during this period, with a booth to help you "Find Your Story" with free Ancestry.com searches.

Somerset Historical Center
UPDATE Jan. 12-14: Somerset Fire and Ice Festival—the Center will have a local history exhibit in the Mosholder building (Building "I" on the Fire and Ice Festival map) in downtown Somerset during this annual 3-day festival. See festival brochure for times.
UPDATE Jan. 16: Gadgets, Gizmos, and Whatchamacallits—this hands-on program for children explores life in the past through toys, chores, crafts, and food. Cost is $10 per child (more info on Facebook event page). Noon-2 pm.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania
January Planetarium Showsfull list of programs and times is on the website.
Jan. 5: StoryTimethis month's program takes place in the Transportation Gallery on the 2nd floor and features The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage. Program is designed for children ages 3-5 with an accompanying adult. Included in general admission. 10 am.
Jan. 18 & 25: Nature Lab Programs—hands-on experiments focused on science topics help you explore the world: Craters is geared for ages 3-5 (1/18); White-Tailed Deer (1/25). Included in general admission. 11:30 am.
Jan. 20: Learn at Lunchtime/3rd in the Burg—explore the temporary exhibit, T.M. Fowler's Bird's-eye Views of Pennsylvania Towns and Cities, with senior curator Curt Miner. Included in general admission. 12:15-12:45 pm.