Shop 'til You Drop

Program alert: On Thursday, April 29, filmmaker Ric Burns will be at the Erie Maritime Museum to introduce a special screening of his new film, Into the Deep: America, Whaling, and the World, a co-production of Steeplechase Films and American Experience/WGBH Boston (broadcast premiere is May 10 on PBS). The Flagship Niagara appears in the documentary, playing the 19th-century whaler Essex, and the event and reception will benefit the Niagara's programs. The Ship's Log has all the details.

PHMC/Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara

Those of you who regularly (or irregularly) go to historic sites and museums know that no visit is complete without a trip to the museum store. Whether you’re cynical about this or not is a matter of personal taste. But the truth is that shopping can be a meaningful part of the museum experience—for visitors as well as for the museum itself. A well-run shop with unique items related to the history and mission of the site is a real asset. As a visitor, it extends your connection with the site and helps you take a piece of it home. And it provides crucial financial support for the museum’s programs and operations. Sorry that sounds so much like a Museum Studies 101 textbook, but there it is.

On the Trails of History, our sites strive to provide shoppers (who might be visitors or members of the local community) with a wide selection including souvenirs and regional foods, fine art and one-of-a-kind craft items. Each one is different, depending on the site’s historical focus, location, and visitation. All of them are managed in cooperation with a “friends of” group that supports the site and partners with PHMC in our effort to provide an enjoyable, educational, and well-rounded visit. It seems relevant to note here that members of these groups usually receive at least a 10% discount at their site’s museum store.

PHMC/Pennsylvania Military Museum

On the Military History Trail, museum stores feature a variety of items including books and reproduction maps, prints, and posters. Visit Erie Maritime Museum, Bushy Run Battlefield, Brandywine Battlefield, and Pennsylvania Military Museum (Fort Pitt Museum reopens to the public April 17, and Washington Crossing Historic Park is currently closed to the public—watch this space for updates).

PHMC/Anthracite Heritage Museum

Sites on the Industrial Heritage Trail offer samples, reproductions and hand-crafted items related to the industry they represent (such as iron goods at Cornwall Iron Furnace, bottles of oil at Drake Well Museum, or hand-crafted wooden items at Pennsylvania Lumber Museum) and to the people who worked in that industry (such as the many ethnic groups of Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region at Anthracite Heritage Museum or Eckley Miners’ Village or the multitude of workers who made the railroads run at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania).

The Historic Homes Trail includes museum stores featuring items related to the residents of the houses, their careers and interests, and their aesthetic tastes. Reproduction domestic items representative of the home’s time period(s) may also be found when you visit Graeme Park, Joseph Priestley House, or Pennsbury Manor (we’ll update you when public schedules at Conrad Weiser Homestead and Hope Lodge are announced).

PHMC/Ephrata Cloister

Sites on the Rural Farm and Village History Trail showcase an array of hand-crafted items such as textiles, pottery (redware and stoneware), food products, and pieces related to the architecture and historic structures of the site and its region. Check out Daniel Boone Homestead, Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Old Economy Village, and Somerset Historical Center.

Spanning all of the trails is the State Museum of Pennsylvania, whose museum store is a cooperative program between the museum and the Contemporary Crafts Marketing program of Harrisburg Area Community College.

In addition to the in-person shopping experience offered at our sites, online shopping is increasingly available on the Trails of History (you’ll see this noted on the appropriate websites) or through


Amy Killpatrick Fox said...

Kathi Burgett, Manager/Buyer for the shop at Erie Maritime Museum reports that they are "now open 7 days a week. We carry t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, and polos with our own nautical designs. We are always receiving new inventory specific only to our Museum, plus other great nautical items. Come visit the store, or shop on-line at" Thanks for the update, Kathi.

Karen said...

I'm going to be visiting an intern at the Drake Well Museum this summer, so I definitely will be checking out their Museum Store.

Laura Martin said...

It is with great anticipation and excitement that we debut a new line of products featuring Locomotive No. 460, also known as the Lindberg Engine, during our annual Pennsy Days celebration; June 4, 5, and 6. (Locomotive No. 460 is now in our restoration shop for a complete on-site overhaul!) “Life’s Lessons from a Locomotive” features two newly designed logos as well as some catchy fun phrases developed around our railroad theme. This product line adds to an already extensive collection of gifts, souvenirs, games and toy trains that delight our visitors on a daily basis.

Our store also carries an array of books; CD’s and DVD’s that will help spark your interest or add to your knowledge about our state’s rich railroad heritage.

For additional information regarding special events, railroad rambles, and hours of operation, or to help plan your trip to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, or view some of our unique products available at the museum store; please visit our web page at:

Mary L. Parelli said...

A quaint Pennsylvania Gift Shop, The Weathervane at Landis Vallet Village and Farm Museum incorporates old world craftsmanship with local handcrafts. We provide a beautiful collection of art such as Fraktur, Scherenschnitte, and Theorem paintings as well as Redware,Woven Linens, Leather Goods, Tinware, Children's Toys and Books. Many of our items are made by Landis Valley Artisans and are one of a kind.
Coming soon: A limited edition Redware plate by Lester Breininger inspired by the Landis Valley Redware collection.

Carrie Blough said...

The gift shop at the Somerset Historical Center features some wonderful books on Somerset's history. To mention just a few, we offer a collection of photographs of uptown Somerset, a book on the maple industry in Somerset County, copies of local newspapers, bound copies of our newsletter, The Laurel Messenger, as well as many other great books. Our newest publication, a catalog of the coverlets in the museum's collection, will be coming soon. The catalog will complement our upcoming exhibit, Woven Wonders: Somerset County Coverlets. We have a list of all of our publications available on our website

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