Wintertime on the Trails of History

Winter brings a big change in routine and rhythm to life on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. I suppose you could say that about any season (especially school tour season), but winter always seems to me to be more different than the others. Some sites are closed to the public in early winter, and the recent budget reductions mean that others have reduced their hours more than in the past (go here or contact your favorite site directly to check the schedule).

There is still plenty of activity at our sites, though. Folks at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum in Lancaster took advantage of the December snow storm to show their new site director around the grounds (pictured above--go to the Life in Landis Valley blog for a great photo of the horses). The museum is also using the winter downtime to focus on an ambitious collections care project, the Bitzer Building blitz, January 25-29. Volunteers are welcome for this massive cleaning project; it’s a great way to be part of the work that goes on behind the scenes at a historic site. Contact curator Jen Collins, jencollins(at)state(dot)pa(dot)us, if you’d like to join in (and if you’re reading this before Jan. 29).

In addition to collections care, another winter activity at many sites is in-depth training for staff and volunteers. Ephrata Cloister’s winter history class is a 10-week exploration of this unique historic site offered Thursday mornings, starting February 4 and continuing through a field trip on April 15. It’s a fascinating graduate seminar without all those dreary papers and exams. Tuition is charged and the class is open to the public (Ephrata Cloister Associates members get a discount).

Erie Maritime Museum offers a 6-week course for guides that includes lectures and museum tours. If you’re more adventurous, you can take the sail training course, which prepares volunteers for work aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara. The orientation class has already been held (Jan. 16), but if you’re interested, please contact Capt. Wesley Heersen, captain(at)flagshipniagara(dot)org, to find out more.

Stay tuned to Trailheads for more on some of these activities and other behind-the-scenes stuff on the Trails of History.


Anonymous said...

I have personally always found it a shame that the Ephrata Cloister classes are only offered in the morning, virtually excluding those of us who have to work 9-5 yet might be interested.

Post a Comment