A New Farm Show Tradition?


Many thanks to Scott Doyle and Karen Galle from the PHMC’s Bureau for Historic Preservation for their contributions to this post.

Consider this a sneak peek at PHMC’s annual theme for 2012, The Land of Penn and Plenty—Bringing History to the Table. Throughout the year, we’ll be highlighting programs, exhibits, and tours at Trails of History sites that deal in some way with food and foodways. But to start things off, PHMC’s Bureau for Historic Preservation has designed a Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt for visitors to the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show, January 7-14 in Harrisburg. (I’ve always associated the Farm Show with food—almost exclusively—so this seems like the perfect match to me.)

BHP staff have selected historical markers with agricultural themes (many of them directly food-related) and developed a booklet to go with them. Student detectives will answer questions in the booklet by finding repros of the markers scattered around the Farm Show Complex. Those who don’t find all the markers while at the Farm Show will be able to finish their hunt at home by visiting ExplorePAHistory.com, a website that uses historical markers as a starting point for learning about Pennsylvania history (including lesson plans for teachers).

PHMC/Historical Marker Dedication

To start your scavenger hunt, visit PHMC’s Farm Show booth in the Family Living Section of the Main Hall from 9 am to 8 pm (find the butter sculpture and head east). In addition to learning about rural and agricultural life, you’ll also be able to see PHMC’s popular dugout canoe and archaeology exhibit. And just for participating in the scavenger hunt, students will receive a History Detective temporary tattoo!

Stuff to Do Next Week

You can read an electronic version of the Trailheads feature in Pennsylvania Heritage magazine here (or better yet, you can join the Pennsylvania Heritage Society and get the magazine and other membership benefits).

For all of you out there looking for something to do in the coming week—between holiday celebrations and fighting with your in-laws (just kidding)—here’s a recap of what you’ll find on the Trails of History. All sites (except Washington Crossing) will be closed on Dec. 25. Most sites are closed on Mondays at this time of year, but Eckley Miners’ Village, Fort Pitt, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will be open on Dec. 26 for your visiting pleasure. Given seasonal schedules, I highly recommend checking ahead with the site you want to visit to see if they’ll be open when you plan to be there.

PHMC/Anthracite Heritage Museum

First of all, thanks to the folks at the Anthracite Heritage Museum and Scranton Iron Furnaces for sharing the photo above. As part of the Museum's annual board, staff, and volunteer luncheon, everyone brought a gift for Toys for Tots. The collected goodies were delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps Sub District Recruiting Station in Scranton. Curator John Fielding is shown here with two Marines and several of the new toys collected. I'll also mention that other sites also mix community service with their holiday programs (if I've left out a site, please let me know)--Landis Valley collects non-perishable food items as part of their community bonfire program; Erie Maritime's Christmas Tree ship program collects holiday decorations and scarves/gloves/hats for people who need them; and the Railroad Museum of PA serves as a collection point for Toys for Tots in their community. Thanks, all of you, for all you do.

Ephrata Cloister
Dec. 27-30, Lantern Tours—special evening tours bring the site and its history to life; student historians work with staff to present this perennial favorite. The 2011 tour explores education in a variety of forms at the historic Ephrata Cloister. Reservations are required as the space in each time slot is limited. Call 717-733-6600.

Erie Maritime Museum and US Brig Niagara
Flagship Niagara League graphic designer Tim McLaughlin has developed a paper model of Niagara that could be the perfect snowy day project. Click on Paper Niagara Directions, Paper Niagara Sail Plan, and Niagara Paper Ship for the pieces you'll need. If you're in the area, why not visit the ship before or after you build your own?

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Dec. 27 and 28, Winter Camp—help combat school break boredom by attending either or both days of this engaging program. Hands-on activities include open hearth cooking. Registration fee is required (multi-day, multiple child, and member discounts are available); call 717/569-0401 x228 for more details.

Pennsylvania State Archives
If you prefer some armchair history, the staff of the State Archives has selected 15 episodes of Harrisburg broadcaster and historian Pete Wambach’s “This is Pennsylvania” radio program (which aired throughout the state from 1964 to 1985). These seasonal selections (you’ll need to scroll down the page) last about 3 minutes each and include transcriptions.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Dec. 31, Last day to view the exhibit, Rail Traffic Control: Managing the Crossroads of Commerce.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Dec. 29, Noon Year’s Eve—young children and their families can ring in the New Year a little early at this annual event. Included in museum admission; free to museum members.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Dec. 25, Washington Crosses the Delaware—the annual reenactment of the daring move by George Washington and his troops to attack the garrison at Trenton; free of charge.
Dec. 31, 235th Anniversary of the Crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton—this reenactment event takes troops from Washington Crossing, PA, (or they can join up on the NJ side of the Delaware) to the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton (on foot). Registration is required to participate (the public is invited to watch); go here for more information.

And finally, here’s a YouTube clip from Ephrata Cloister’s Christmas at the Cloister program in 2009. Whatever holiday you’re celebrating, may it be filled with good things.

William Penn's Legacy on the Air

As regular readers of Trailheads know, the PHMC's theme for 2011 has been William Penn's Legacy: Religious and Spiritual Diversity (previous posts have covered the theme here and here ). So as the year winds down, you have the opportunity to view two symposia sponsored by PHMC and the PA Humanities Council that explored aspects of Pennsylvania's religious heritage. Tomorrow night, December 22, PCN will show the two programs back to back: "William Penn’s Legacy: Does the Holy Experiment Continue?" will air at 7 pm, and "The Abundance of Sacred Places" will follow at 8:35 pm.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

PHMC/Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, photo by Cindy Reedy
If you’re somewhere in the vicinity of Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum between 6:00 and 8:30 tonight, you might want to stop by for the annual Holidays at Landis Valley event. Traditional Pennsylvania German decorations, plus hot cider and cookies, music from the Lititz Moravian Trombone Choir, and a festive bonfire—what more can you ask for (stop…it’s a rhetorical question)? Admission is free, but if you attend please bring one or more nonperishable food items for the Lancaster Food Bank. 

PHMC/Railroad Museum of PA
 Gov. Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett announced earlier this month that the theme for this year’s decorations at their official residence would be “A Pennsylvania Christmas.” Two Trails of History sites are represented. The Erie Room features a Flagship Niagara Christmas tree, complete with “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flags. Staff from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, as they have done for a number of years now, supplied and set up a model train layout around the Children’s Tree in the State Reception Room (pictured above). To see the Niagara tree and more photos of the Governor’s Residence decorations, visit the First Lady’s Facebook page here.

Still working on that shopping list and hoping that Santa’s elves would give you a hand already? Check out the goodies available from the Anthracite Heritage Museum. The Scranton Times-Leader ran an article as part of its Go Lackawanna feature (which often includes input from museum staff and volunteers) describing the great museum store and its offerings of heritage-themed gifts. 

Photo by Ashley Yob via Pennsbury Manor's Facebook page

Pennsbury Manor hosted another successful year of its Holly Nights program (a longstanding Bucks County favorite). More than 2,000 people attended the two-night event, enjoying traditional music, food, decorations, and food. Some visitors enjoyed it so much that they posted their own photos to Pennsbury’s Facebook page (see above).

Although the Delaware River was pretty high last Sunday and it was not safe to row the durham boats over to New Jersey, all other aspects of the dress rehearsal for the annual Christmas crossing went ahead as planned. As you probably know, the event at Washington Crossing Historic Park commemorates the brave venture of Gen. George Washington and his troops on Christmas night 1776 that led to the first Battle of Trenton. The main (modern) event takes place at 1 p.m. on Dec. 25; even if the river doesn’t cooperate, there will be plenty to see.

History Online

I realized as I was pulling this together that there’s a connecting thread to these items, besides the fact that they all involve Trails-of-History-related online resources. I don’t think it will be too difficult to spot, but the first commenter to point it out gets a free (value $0) subscription to Trailheads.

The Scranton Public Library has developed, with the help of several partners and funders, the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives, in order to make the region’s history more accessible to the public. The project debuted recently with several online collections, including Out of the Wilderness: The Industrialization and Development of the Scranton Area 1850-1865, which contains “letters, books, paintings, photographs and other artifacts from the era when the Lackawanna Valley emerged from its agrarian beginnings to become an industrial center that powered the torn nation’s war effort.” The Anthracite Heritage Museum contributed (digitally, that is) a collection of letters written by Benton native Ebert Smith (Company B, 177th PA Drafted Militia) to his sister Hannah Thacher in 1862 and 1863 from Camp Seamons (Harrisburg, PA) and Camp Mansfield (Deep Creek, VA). The letters give a sense of the tedium and hardships of camp life but also of Smith’s desire to comment on family news even though he’s off to war. (Want to see Smith’s entry in the muster rolls in the State Archives? Go here. He's the third entry on the page.)

As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 approaches, Battle of Lake Erie: Building the Fleet in the Wilderness, a booklet by Rear Adm. Denys W. Knoll, USN (Ret.) of Erie, is now available online, courtesy of the Naval History & Heritage Command and the Naval Historical Foundation. The Battle of Lake Erie and the US Brig Niagara’s pivotal role in it are key elements in any understanding of the War, and Knoll’s booklet provides a solid history. Having it available online will broaden its reach and help Erie Maritime Museum commemorate this important anniversary.

PHMC/Ephrata Cloister

Ephrata Cloister is featured in the "Properties and Preservation" section of the current issue of New England Antiques Journal. The illustrated article, by Barbara and Ken Beem, provides readers with a brief history of Conrad Beissel’s early life in Germany and migration to Pennsylvania, his attempt to settle himself away from civilization (one might even say “in the wilderness”), and the folks who followed him to what became Ephrata. Lovely publicity, just in time for Ephrata’s Lantern Tours at the end of the month.

Checking My Calendar Twice...Yep, It's December

Well, here we are with another year drawing to a close. They say that time moves faster the older you get, but this is ridiculous. There’s so much to do. (Breathe.) I hope that in the midst of the busyness, you can spend some time on the Trails of History. As you probably know, site schedules really start to vary this time of year, so be kind to yourself and check ahead to make sure the site you want to visit will be open when you plan to be there. All sites (except Washington Crossing) will be closed on Dec. 25; but otherwise, there are lots of things to see and do. Enjoy.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Dec. 3, 14th Annual Christmas in a Small Town (aka The Santa Train)—the Museum is a partner in this celebration that brings Santa to six communities in the Lackawanna Valley on a train provided by Steamtown National Historic Site. All activities are free, but (unfortunately) train rides for the public are not a feature of the program. For more info, go here. To see a YouTube video of the 2009 Santa Train (and watch the snow pile up), here’s a link.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Dec. 3, Open House Holly Trail—the Friends of Conrad Weiser Homestead book store will be offering a great selection of books (10% off), along with painted boxes and chests by artisans Eleanor Sweeney and Jan Taylor.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Dec. 3, 16th Annual Christmas at Cornwall House Tour—some tour entries are new this year, others may be ones you’ve missed. Purchase tickets in advance for $15, on the day of the tour for $20; contact the site for details.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Dec. 4, A Homestead Christmas—scheduled activities include open hearth cooking, colonial music and dancing, tours of the Boone homestead and other historic buildings, a flintlock shoot, 18th-century crafts, and Belsnickel.

Eckley Miners’ Village
Dec. 3, Children’s Christmas—storytelling, arts and crafts, a wagon ride through the Village and a visit from St. Nicholas; program is recommended for ages 5-12. Reservations are required (contact the site); admission is $5 per child, $3 per adult.
Dec. 3-4 and 10-11, Victorian Christmas Fundraiser—the Sharpe House will be decorated and lit for the season, with Victorian ornaments and gifts (beverages and cookies will also be provided); admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children age 6-12.

Ephrata Cloister
Dec. 12-13, Christmas at the Cloister—a popular evening program featuring readings and music in the historic meetinghouse; space is limited and reservations are required (tickets went on sale at the beginning of November, so call 717-733-6600 now to see if there are spaces remaining).
Dec. 27-30, Lantern Tours—special evening tours bring the site and its history to life; student historians work with staff to present this perennial favorite. The 2011 tour explores education in a variety of forms at the Ephrata Cloister. Reservations are required as the space in each time slot is limited. Call 717-733-6600.

PHMC/Erie Maritime Museum & US Brig Niagara

Erie Maritime Museum and US Brig Niagara
Dec. 9, Christmas Tree Ship—learn the story of the schooner Rouse Simmons, which went down in a storm on Lake Michigan in 1912 carrying a load of Christmas trees. Enjoy holiday crafts, seasonal goodies, and lights on the rigging of Niagara. Bring along hats, scarves, mittens, and/or non-perishable food items to help local families (or contact the museum to find out about helping with a Christmas tree to donate).

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Dec. 3-4 and 10-11, Country Christmas Village—experience a Pennsylvania German Christmas while you learn about Christmas trees and traditional holiday foods. There will be craft activities for children and you may run into Belsnickel (he’s like Santa, but edgier). Included in museum admission.
Dec. 16, Holidays at Landis Valley—this free evening event welcomes the community to sing carols around the bonfire, tour the historic buildings, and enjoy cookies and hot cider. Please bring non-perishable food items for the Lancaster Food Bank.
Dec. 17, Old Fashioned Children’s Christmas—this year’s program is built around the theme “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and includes several holiday crafts. Admission is charged, but members of the Landis Valley Associates get in free (makes a great holiday gift, too).
Dec. 27 and 28, Winter Camp—combat school break boredom by attending either or both days of this engaging program. Hands-on activities include open hearth cooking. Registration fee is required (multi-day, multiple child, and member discounts are available); call 717/569-0401 x228 for more details.

Old Economy Village
Dec. 3, Breakfast with Belsnickel—a breakfast buffet, plus loads of activities for children 5-12 years old (adults may enjoy a guided tour while the young ones take part in the program). Reservations required (fee is $25 per child), call 724/266-4500 x101.
Dec. 4, Friends of Old Economy Village Annual Christmas Dinner—start with wine and hors d’oeuvre in the Granary, then dine by lantern light in the historic Feast Hall. For reservations ($60 for FOEV members, $65 for non-members), call 724/266-4500 x101.
Dec. 10-11, Christmas at the Village—the site opens at 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday for a program of tours, music, and traditional German foods (there will be plenty of activities for children). Admission is charged.

Pennsbury Manor
Dec. 1 and 2, Holly Nights—okay, so it’s already the second night, but if you hurry you can still make it. Candlelight, bonfires, carolers, and craft demonstrations (I think there’s some cider in there too) set the mood for a winter’s night (click here for a discount coupon).
Dec. 10, Wreaths and Greens Workshop—learn how to turn evergreen boughs into a lovely wreath and how to care for evergreens in your home landscape. Registration is required (215/946-0400) and it’s BYOClippers.

PHMC/Pennsylvania Military Museum

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute—this event marks the 70th anniversary of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s attack on the US Pacific Fleet in Hawaii and will take place beneath the guns of the USS Pennsylvania, which was docked at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Pennsylvania State Archives
For your listening pleasure, the staff of the State Archives has selected 15 episodes of Harrisburg broadcaster and historian Pete Wambach’s “This is Pennsylvania” radio program (which aired throughout the state from 1964 to 1985). These seasonal selections (you’ll need to scroll down the page) last about 3 minutes each and include transcriptions. The piece titled “Snow Shovel Championship” features a 1976 downhill race near Ambridge and mentions Old Economy Village (the snow shovel race will celebrate its 49th year in January 2012). Who knew?

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Dec. 3 and 10, Home for the Holidays—this annual event offers a nostalgic glimpse of train travel throughout the 20th century and includes costumed interpreters, seasonal music, a chance to visit with Santa and send a “telegram” to the North Pole (plus hot chocolate and cookies while they last). The Polar Express Parties are sold out for this year. (The Railroad Communications and Signaling exhibit closes Dec. 31.)

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Dec. 10, The Power of Story in Song and Dance—this free concert will feature Chinese, Bosnian, and Liberian traditional artists associated with the exhibit “Making It Better: Folk Arts in Pennsylvania Today.”
Dec. 16, Little Elves Workshop—parents and grandparents are invited to bring children (ages 4 to 7) to the State Museum Store from 10 am to 2 pm to make a special holiday gift while the grownups shop. Fee charged; free to museum members. From noon to 6 pm that day, as part of “3rd in the Burg,” shoppers will find special offers on creative gifts and stocking stuffers (admission to Store is free).
Dec. 17, Fatherhood and Family Holiday Celebration: Celebrating Kwanzaa & Christmas—offered in partnership with Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers Wordshop, this community celebration features music, food, and much more. Free of charge.
Dec. 29, Noon Year’s Eve—young children and their families can ring in the New Year a little early at this annual event. Included in museum admission; free to museum members.

PHMC/Washington Crossing Historic Park

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Dec. 11, Dress Rehearsal—reenactors will conduct a full run-through of the Christmas crossing of the Delaware, and there will be other activities on site as well in the historic buildings; admission is charged.
Dec. 25, Washington Crosses the Delaware—the annual reenactment of the daring move by George Washington and his troops to attack the garrison at Trenton; free of charge. To find out about winning a spot in General Washington's Durham boat for the dress rehearsal or the Christmas crossing, go here.
Dec. 31, 235th Anniversary of the Crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton—this reenactment event (which I believe is held only every 10 years or so) takes troops from Washington Crossing Historic Park (PA) to the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton (or they can join up on the New Jersey side of the Delaware). Registration is required to participate (the public is invited to watch); go here for more information.

Small Business Saturday

So, you’re conscious, are you? I hope that you had a wonderful day yesterday with family, friends, loved ones, or whatever combination worked for you. At the risk of sounding overly sentimental, I believe it is truly important to take time to reflect on what we are thankful for (though not just on Thanksgiving). Times are tough and uncertain (and have been for a while), but focusing on the things that make you feel better about the world helps. (Look for our upcoming line of “Trailheads Inspirations” at a mall kiosk near you.) Anyway.

One of the things I’m going to suggest is taking part in Small Business Saturday by checking out the museum store at your friendly neighborhood Trails of History site (bearing in mind that operating hours vary—check ahead online or by phone). You can shop local, often you can buy locally produced wares, and you’ll be supporting the ongoing public and educational programs of the site of your choice. Think of it as history with a side order of retail therapy. Or retail therapy with a side order of history. Whatever motivates you, we’re thankful for your efforts.

Speaking of things that make me feel better about the world, I mentioned last week that the Arts on Fire Festival (held at the Scranton Iron Furnaces) had won the Hometown Star Award from the Scranton Awards for Growth & Excellence (SAGE). Site administrator Chester Kulesa sent me a photo from the awards gala—thanks Chester, and congratulations again to you and the entire team that plans and pulls off this cool program.

Pictured at the SAGE Awards (left to right): Natalie O'Hara, President of MetroAction, Inc.; Margaret Reese, Anthracite Heritage Museum Associates; Chester Kulesa, Site Administrator, PA Anthracite Heritage Museum and Scranton Iron Furnaces, PHMC; Elizabeth Nagy, representing award sponsor Pennstar Bank; and Paula Mackarey, Board Chair of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.

I’ll be posting the December program preview next Friday, but I don’t want you to miss Holly Nights (Dec. 1 and 2), a long-standing tradition at Pennsbury Manor. Visit Pennsbury’s Facebook page to find out how to win free tickets to the event.

PHMC/Pennsbury Manor

See you next week. Enjoy those leftovers.

Act Now (and other news)

If you are in the Harrisburg area, there’s still time to catch the Holiday Marketplace, which wraps up at 3 pm today. Museum stores from half a dozen sites on the Trails of History are among the vendors for the sixth annual event, organized by the Pennsylvania Heritage Society and sponsored by PSECU. Come on down to the Commonwealth Keystone Building, do some shopping, and support our programs!

Today is also the last day to vote for your favorite entry in Drake Well Museum’s oil haiku contest on Facebook (you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it).

Tomorrow is the 148th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and there is an entire weekend of commemorative events planned. Check out Pennsylvania Civil War 150’s Facebook page for details.

PHMC/Scranton Iron Furnaces

Let’s have a big round of applause for the Arts on Fire Festival, a joint effort of many community partners in Scranton, including the Scranton Iron Furnaces (where it takes place). Arts on Fire was just named as recipient of the 2011 Hometown Star Award at the gala of the Scranton Awards for Growth & Excellence (SAGE), sponsored by the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and MetroAction. The award honors “an individual or organization that has made a significant economic impact on [the Scranton] area by conducting an event, with a rich social, historical and charitable contribution.” Woohoo!!

PHMC/PA Military Museum

In last week’s post, I mentioned that Pennsylvania’s First Lady, Susan Corbett, had written an article highlighting military history sites in the Commonwealth and encouraging Pennsylvanians to visit them. To set the example, Mrs. Corbett paid a Veterans Day visit to the Pennsylvania Military Museum, where she toured the exhibits and spoke with veterans about their service. (There are a number of photos on the First Lady’s Facebook page.) We look forward to welcoming Mrs. Corbett to all of the sites on the Trails of History.

Thank You, Veterans

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
(1st stanza of the poem “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrae, 1915)

The 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 marked the “end” of the “war to end all wars.” Since then, Nov. 11 (first as Armistice Day and now as Veterans Day) has been our national day of remembrance and celebration of the men and women who have served in the United States armed forces. (There was a brief stretch from 1971 to 1977 when Veterans Day was a Monday holiday, but in 1978 we went back to Nov. 11 as the official observance.)

Most sites on the Trails of History are closed today, but Fort Pitt, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Military Museum are open. As is the case throughout the year at all Trails of History sites, active duty military and their dependents will receive complimentary regular admission (roughly 2,000 folks have taken us up on that offer so far this year).

PHMC/Pennsylvania Military Museum

Pennsylvania’s First Lady, Susan Corbett, wrote a very nice article for last Sunday’s Harrisburg Patriot-News encouraging Pennsylvanians to visit the Commonwealth’s military heritage museums, including the PHMC’s Military Trail of History sites. If you visit the Pennsylvania Military Museum today (or in the next month), you’ll be able to catch two temporary exhibits (“Religion and Conflict” and “Santa’s Draft Card”) in addition to the museum’s current long-term exhibit.

This past weekend, the Railroad Museum of PA held its annual Trains & Troops event, which features military reenactors and equipment amid the collection of locomotives and railcars from various eras. The event highlights the role of railroads in US military history and honors the service of our veterans (an exhibit and video presentation in the lobby showcases the military service of museum staff and volunteers). The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era covered the event here.

However you choose to spend Veterans Day, please join the PHMC in saying “Thank you” to those who have served and who are currently serving.

Media Blitz

We’re everywhere. Not exactly eclipsing coverage of the Occupy Movement, the Greek debt crisis, or the demise of Kim Kardashian’s marriage, but sites on the Trails of History seem to be getting some nice publicity lately. Local media (print, radio, and television) have been featuring programs and exhibits or talking about local history with staff and volunteers of a variety of sites. Maybe this is nothing new, but it feels like a trend. And it’s the result of a lot of people working together to plan and promote great experiences for visitors and to showcase behind-the-scenes activities.

“The Buzz in Bucks” host Rachel Canelli visited Pennsbury Manor during their Harvest Day educational program in October and produced this short video piece on apple cider. Looks like everyone had a great time. (Thanks, Rachel, for including a plug for Pennsbury’s volunteer program.)

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania director Charlie Fox and historian/author Jim Porterfield taped an episode of Sandy Fenton’s “Let’s Talk Travel” radio show on WHP 580 (Harrisburg area) that is set to air tomorrow afternoon. They talked about train travel with Sandy, who frequently features luxury travel experiences on her show and blog. You’ll find a podcast of the episode here.

Marcia Fortley, host of Sites and Sounds of Historic Berks County, devoted her Oct. 24 show to the Daniel Boone Homestead. Interpretation Coordinator Amanda Machik and board members Bob Servin and Brad Kissam spoke about upcoming programs, the historical background of the Boone family, and the partnership between the Friends of Daniel Boone Homestead and the PHMC that keeps the site open to the public. You can watch the half-hour show here. (You can also find some vivid photos of the recent pre-Halloween snow storm on the Homestead’s Facebook page.)

Finally, Erie TV News provided viewers with a taste of the newly revived Ghosts Afloat event at the Erie Maritime Museum and US Brig Niagara. Organized by the Flagship Niagara League, in cooperation with major sponsor Mercyhurst College, the program combines local lore and the history of the Battle of Lake Erie in dramatic ways. Just a note: the video includes lots of screaming, so you may want to turn down the volume on your computer and usher young children out of the room. Don’t say I didn’t warn you; here it is. [11/7/11--when I posted this, the link took you to an online article with video of the event, now it's just an article. Sorry.]

What to Do in November

I can hardly believe that it’s November already, but it is (almost). It seems like October just started and now it’s over. But then I probably wrote that last year at this time (no, I’m not going to check). Some site schedules change this month for the winter, so be sure to check ahead to avoid disappointment. Most sites will be closed on Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, but Fort Pitt Museum, Pennsylvania Military Museum, and Railroad Museum of PA will be open. All sites on the Trails of History will be closed on Nov. 24 for Thanksgiving. You can avoid the Black Friday shopping crowds on Nov. 25 by visiting Fort Pitt, Old Economy Village, PA Military Museum, Railroad Museum of PA, The State Museum, or Washington Crossing Historic Park (all other sites will be closed).

Speaking of shopping, don’t forget the Holiday Marketplace in Harrisburg Nov. 17 and 18, organized by the Pennsylvania Heritage Society and featuring museum store goodies from Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, Pennsbury Manor, Somerset Historical Center, and The State Museum of PA.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Nov. 12 and 13, Under the Lackawanna Moon-telling northeastern Pennsylvania's history through monologue, dialogue, and music, this presentation shares the experiences of the area's settlers and early residents; seating is limited and reservations are recommended (call the Museum at 570/963-4804).
Nov. 19, Annual Meeting and Program-join the Anthracite Museum and Scranton Iron Furnaces Associates for their annual luncheon and then a panel discussion on the mine fires of Carbondale and Centralia; there is a fee for lunch but the panel discussion is free (call 570/963-4804 for more information or to reserve your spot).
Nov. 20, Lecture—Part of the Lackawanna Audubon Society lecture series; check the LAS website for details.

Brandywine Battlefield
Nov. 26, Patriots Day—reenactors, firing demonstrations, cooking on an open fire, and more (plus a 10% discount in the museum shop—20% discount for members).

PHMC/Conrad Weiser Homestead

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Nov. 19, Candlelight Tours—enjoy an evening of living history and 18th-century music; check the website for more information.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Nov. 8, Friends Lecture Series—local historian Don Rhoads, Jr., will present a program entitled “Railroads of Lebanon County” (held in the auditorium of Freeman Hall at Cornwall Manor). Rhoads will use historic images of structures, equipment, and artifacts to bring several railroad companies to life.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Nov. 6, Boone Birthday Program—help celebrate Daniel Boone’s 277th birthday at his childhood home, with house tours, storytelling, old-fashioned toys, and birthday cake (yum).
Nov. 13, Fall Lecture Series—“Small Pox and Dysentery: Medicine in the Eighteenth Century” features Wendy Moyer from the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, who will speak about colonial medical procedures, home medicine, and the changing medical profession in the 18th century.
Nov. 20, Fall Lecture Series—“The Interstate System of the 1800s and Berks County’s Connection” will be the topic of Glenn Wenrich, President of the Pennsylvania Canal Society and volunteer at the Berks County Heritage Center, as he explores the importance of canals in early America.

Eckley Miners’ Village
Nov. 13, Fall Lecture Series—local author Jolene Busher will be on hand to talk about and sign her new book, Patchtown, Life in Eckley Miners’ Village 1860-1920 (more info available here).

Graeme Park
Nov. 27, Craft Fair—Friends of Graeme Park will team with the Friends of Hope Lodge for this event; check Graeme Park’s website or Facebook page for details.

PHMC/Hope Lodge

Hope Lodge
Nov. 5-6, Whitemarsh Encampment—this popular program is a reenactment of a 1777 encampment of the Continental Army; costumed reenactors, sutlers, and craftspeople will be on hand. For details and a coupon good for $1 off the admission fee, go here.

Joseph Priestley House
Nov. 6, Heritage Day—costumed interpreters will be on hand as you tour the house and laboratory on your own. Don’t miss the new exhibit in the laboratory (more info on that here).

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Nov. 10, Hands on History—children of all ages can learn more about history by participating, so why not try it?
Nov. 12, Holiday Tin Class—learn to make your own holiday ornaments from Landis Valley craft demonstrator Beth Feaser; choose morning or afternoon session and register by calling the Weathervane Museum Store at 717/569-9312.

Pennsbury Manor
Nov. 6, Annual Meeting and Lecture—Former FBI special agent Robert K. Wittman will speak about his career tracking down stolen art and artifacts, including items stolen from Pennsbury in 1996.
Nov. 20, Open Hearth Cooking—“The Cook’s Choice” will showcase 17th-century recipes and techniques.

PHMC 2011 Religion Theme Lectures
Nov. 10, An Abundance of Sacred Places—this program will explore preservation issues related to historic places of worship; location is Trinity Center for Urban Life, Philadelphia.
Nov. 17, Religious Pluralism and Tolerance—William Penn’s legacy of religious freedom and its modern expression will be addressed by several speakers; location is Camp Curtin Memorial Mitchell United Methodist Church, Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Nov. 2-23, Exhibit, Santa’s Draft Card--Reverend Santa Claus of Saline County Missouri registered for the draft in World War II. A copy of his draft registration from the Selective Service System will be on display in the month long exhibit.
Nov. 19, Kids Day: Dress Up and Discover—visitors age 3-13 get in for half-price and will find new ways to experience the museum. The museum education collection of field gear and head gear will be available for try-on (and photo ops) along with other discoveries.

PHMC/Railroad Museum of PA

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Nov. 5-6, Trains and Troops—learn about the important relationship between America’s railroads and military heritage through displays, programs, and reenactments; the program also includes a salute to veterans. And you can “Take the Swing Train” Saturday night, enjoying the music of the Sound of Roses Big Band. Check the website for ticket information (Trains and Troops is included in museum admission, but there is an additional charge for the dance; combination tickets are available).

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Nov. 5, Workshops in Archaeology—“A Synthesis of Native American Archaeology in Pennsylvania: What We Have Learned in 25 Years of Publicly Funded Archaeology” will present numerous speakers and sessions. Fee is $20 in advance ($15 for members) and $25 at the door. Complete program and registration info are here.
Nov. 20, Exhibit opening—“Making it Better,” an exhibit featuring the work of more than 30 master artists working in a wide variety of traditions; this is a traveling exhibit from the Erie Art Museum (which was just awarded a 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service). On Nov. 18, as part of Harrisburg’s 3rd in the Burg, there will be a preview of the exhibit from 6 to 8 pm.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Nov. 13, Cook Like Your Ancestors—a hands-on open hearth cooking class culminating in a delicious, shared meal. Registration and fee required, call 267-475-2353 (for photos of smiling, happy participants in the September version of this program, go here).

Mid-Week Update: Trains, Shopping and Fire

I thought I’d throw a few interesting items into the mix here on a Wednesday, as we finally seem to be moving into fall weather (or right into winter perhaps?). Just a few tidbits to savor on your way to Friday.

PHMC/Railroad Museum of PA

To celebrate their 30th anniversary as a corporation, the history-minded staff at Norfolk Southern wanted to bring together artifacts of the companies that preceded it. I can’t (in this brief space) go into the details of how railroad corporations change and merge, but suffice it to say the modern railroads include lots of others in their histories. One of the artifacts chosen was a GP-30 diesel engine, borrowed from the collection of the Railroad Museum of PA. A standout with its Conrail blue paint, No. 2233 rolled out of the Museum and was transported to Roanoke, Virginia, to be part of a photo shoot and anniversary train trip with three other locomotives. Who knows what stories No. 2233 will have to tell when it returns to Pennsylvania in the next couple of weeks?

Not interested in trains and their adventures? Maybe some recreational shopping is more your style. Then the Commonwealth Keystone Building in downtown Harrisburg is the place for you to be Nov. 17 and 18 for the sixth annual Holiday Marketplace. Organized by the Pennsylvania Heritage Society and sponsored by PSECU, the marketplace features museum stores from around the Trails of History. You’ll find handmade textiles, pottery, tinware and more, plus Pennsylvania food products that will help you start piling on the holiday pounds (why wait for Thanksgiving?). The best part is that your purchases support the participating sites and the work they do year-round to preserve history and keep it available to all of us.

PHMC/Scranton Iron Furnaces
photo by Lynn LoRusso

In the previous Trailheads post, I wrote about the Scranton Iron Furnaces program combining Halloween traditions with a Celtic harvest festival. Judging from the photos they’ve already posted on Facebook, it was a blast. (Get it? Iron furnace—blast? Never mind.) A great combined effort to bring new life to a significant historic site and make history fun as well.

See you all Friday!

No Frost on the Pumpkin

Reminder: If you want to submit photos to the “This is MY HISTORY” photo contest and have them considered for inclusion in the statewide preservation plan, the deadline is Oct. 31. Hurry!!

Usually at this time of year, I write a post about Halloween-themed programs on the Trails of History. I’m not really feelin’ it this year, though. Maybe it’s because it was 60°F at 7:00 Thursday morning and looks to stay in the sixties for the next week (groovy, man). Maybe it’s because the world might come to an end today. Maybe I just haven’t had enough Hershey’s miniatures yet. It’s hard to say.

Perhaps if I made a scarecrow to “plant” in the wildflower meadow at Drake Well Museum, I’d be more in the spirit (so to speak). Handmade scarecrows can be delivered to the Museum during open hours between now and Oct. 29. Judging in several categories will be Oct. 30 and there will be prizes. Learn more here and good luck if you enter.

Or I could explore my Celtic roots at the Scranton Iron Furnaces during the Samhain Harvest Festival and Bonfire tonight. As site administrator Chester Kulesa explains (see local news coverage here), this is a nice tie between the historic site and the many local miners who came from the British Isles in the 19th and 20th centuries. They’re also celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Iron Furnaces’ listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Proceeds from this program will help support the popular Arts on Fire event held in June.

Maybe a trip to Eerie (ahem) is in order to check out Ghosts Afloat, a new Erie Maritime Museum/Flagship Niagara event (although I understand it’s actually a revived program—insert your own reanimation joke here). With folks from Mercyhurst College, Ghosts Afloat brings to life history and local lore and will be offered this weekend and next. Go here for info on ticket availability, and keep an eye on the weather (they had to cancel one night last weekend due to high winds).

For more programs and events coming up this month, you can read the October program preview here. I think I’m starting to feel a little more Halloweeny—although I will up my dosage of miniature peanut butter cups to be sure.

True Crime Stories at Pennsbury

Yesterday, I saw a news article about a free lecture scheduled for Nov. 6 at Pennsbury Manor. I see a lot of program announcements and always take note in case there’s something I should include in the monthly preview for Trailheads (look for November’s in a couple of weeks—I know you can’t wait). I dutifully added the lecture to my list of events and set it aside.

And then it hit me. The lecture is by Robert K. Wittman, a former FBI special agent who spent his career (much of it undercover) working to recover art objects and antiquities taken from museums all over the world. (You might have seen him on The Colbert Report in early August, promoting his best-selling book, Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures.) Paintings by Rembrandt, Goya, and Rockwell (you don’t often see those three mentioned together), a piece of 2,000-year old Peruvian battle armor, and Geronimo’s war bonnet are among the notable recoveries.

From a Trailheads perspective, though, Wittman’s most important case was—anyone?—a burglary and theft at Pennsbury. On Feb. 6, 1996, three men crashed a car through Pennsbury’s gate, drove down the path toward the river and forced open a door to the manor house. While inside, they wreaked havoc and made off with about 50 pieces from the collection, including an 18-inch pewter charger that bore William Penn’s initials. (See news article here.)

Pennsbury’s staff, still in shock and taking it personally, moved quickly to get the word out. They called on local law enforcement, and the FBI was also brought in. Assuming that the thieves intended to sell the items rather than start a rival historic house museum, they notified arts and antiques dealers throughout the Philadelphia area. (I remember assembling a list of dealers in central PA and forwarding Pennsbury’s notice from our Harrisburg office.)

A week to 10 days after the burglary, the three began to panic and, with the help of several female accomplices, dumped most of the loot into the Delaware River (not a good environment for historic artifacts). In perhaps the most cinematic twist in this story, the thieves were arrested soon after when they attempted to steal a 400-pound safe from a local coffee shop (ironically, the safe contained only $120).

With information provided by the guilty parties, divers began searching the Delaware and recovered about two-thirds of the stolen artifacts, including the pewter charger. The staff were exuberant when the items returned home and could eventually be put back on public view (see article here.) The thieves pleaded guilty (here and here) and were sentenced under the 1994 Theft of Major Artworks statute (Pennsbury’s theft was the first case prosecuted under this new federal law).

Wittman (and Pennsbury staff) can tell the story much better than I, so for details about the lecture, go here. I’ll be working on my screenplay; any casting suggestions?

New and Noteworthy

Reminders: our “This is My History” photo campaign is still going; if you want your photos to be considered for inclusion in the Statewide Preservation Plan, they must be submitted by Oct. 31. The deadline for receipt of nomination materials for PHMC Historical Markers is Dec. 1.

Well, it’s here. PHMC’s new mobile website launched earlier this month. Accessing the site is easy—if you visit www.patrailsofhistory.com using a smartphone you will be magically connected to a website optimized for mobile devices (which you already know if you use a smartphone—can you guess that I don’t, yet?). As we print new Trails of History brochures, they will include QR codes to make finding visitor info on the fly even quicker (your download times may vary).

To mark this new venture, sites on the Trails of History are offering a $2 discount on adult general admission tickets between now and the end of October. You must show the person at the front desk the website on your mobile device to take advantage of this; the discount is not valid for special events and can’t be combined with other discounts (we do, after all, need to pay the bills).

CCC Veterans Andrew Majorsky, George Pryslak, Austin Carr, Bill Roberts and James Franklin, Sr., with Mike Wennin, Lumber Heritage Region Executive Director, at CCC Worker Statue Dedication [photo by Amanda Jones, Bradford Era]

On Sept. 25, as part of the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Associates (PALMA), about 100 people gathered to unveil a statue honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933-42). The Lumber Museum exhibits include a cabin built in Potter County in 1936 by CCC enrollees and moved to the museum grounds in the 1990s as a memorial to the thousands of young men from Pennsylvania who served their communities in “the Cs.” The statue adds a human figure to the scene and is part of a project by the National CCC Legacy Association to erect statues in all 50 states.

On the same day, the museum also showcased a new birch still, which was built by staff and volunteers of the state Bureau of Forestry. Birch stills are used to distill oil from birch bark; birch oil has had various uses, including as an ingredient in Bengay ointment (according to an article in the Wellsboro Gazette on Sept. 21). The museum will demonstrate the still several times during the year (it takes two days to produce a quart of birch oil), including the ever-popular Bark Peelers Convention in July. (Many thanks to Amanda Jones of the Bradford Era, Mike Wennin of the Pennsylvania Lumber Heritage Region, and David Brooks of the Potter County Visitors Assn. for sharing info and photos for this post.)

Watch the full episode. See more The War of 1812.

Way back in 2009, we had a post about the filming of a documentary for public television. The producers spent a couple of days onboard Niagara, with the ship’s crew and the Erie Maritime Museum "Ship’s Company" interpreters cast as their historical counterparts. Two years later, The War of 1812 will premiere on PBS stations across the country on Oct. 10. You can preview it online (the clip above includes Niagara) or wait for the larger screen (I’m presuming). Anyway, it’s great to see a project like this come to fruition. (Thanks to Linda Bolla at Erie Maritime for the info and for including a link to the Trailheads post in the Flagship Niagara League e-newsletter.)

Feels Like Fall?

If the weather doesn’t quite feel like autumn (as I write this, we’ve been going back and forth), October’s programs on the Trails of History certainly point to the change of seasons. Most sites will be closed on Oct. 10 in observance of Columbus Day, but Ephrata Cloister, Fort Pitt, and the Railroad Museum will be open.

Brandywine Battlefield
Oct. 30, Halloween Eve—check the website closer to the date for details.

Bushy Run Battlefield
Oct. 1, Fall Nature Walk—local naturalist George Heasley leads a walk through the woodlands around the battlefield
Oct. 8, Fall Tea—enjoy tea and treats in the Stone Room of the Visitor Center. Make reservations by Oct. 7, 724/527-5584 x102.
Oct. 22, Haunted History Hayride—take a wagon ride through historical scenes from Pontiac’s War. Reservations are required and will be accepted only after Oct. 1; call the site at 724/527-5584 x102.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Oct. 23, Fall Park Walk and Tours-reenactors will be on hand to talk about life for colonists and Native Americans in 18th-century Berks County.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Oct. 11, The Art of Blacksmithing—Fred Eberly will present this latest offering of the Friends Lecture Series. Eberly has practiced and taught blacksmithing for more than 30 years, participating in craft programs at many historic sites, including Ephrata Cloister and Landis Valley. Lecture is free and will be held in the Freeman Hall auditorium at Cornwall Manor retirement community.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Oct. 16, Heritage Day—experience 18th-century life with hands-on activities and demonstrations, learn about traveling in the 1700s, and take a horse-drawn wagon ride around the Homestead.
Oct. 30, Halloween at the Homestead—storytelling, face-painting, 18th-century toys and games, and trick-or-treating are all on tap for the day (admission fee varies according to activity).

Drake Well Museum
Oct. 9, Sunday Family Fun—learn some traditional recipes from the oil boom era; reservations and fee required, 814/827-2797.
Oct. 29, Saturday Family Fun—turn plastic bags, old clothes, and hats into an old-fashioned scarecrow for your family’s garden; reservations and fee required, 814/827-2797. Oil Valley Blacksmiths will also be on site for their monthly demonstrations (blacksmith demo included in regular admission).

PHMC/Ephrata Cloister

Ephrata Cloister
Oct. 7-8, Apple Dumpling Sales and Day of Music—a traditional Pennsylvania German treat of apples, cinnamon, and flaky pastry supports the Back to the Cloister Fund (which helps return original artifacts to the site); on Saturday only, the Ephrata Cloister Chorus will perform at 2, 3, and 4 pm. Admission fee required if you’d like to attend the choral performance (and tour the site), but not if you’re just there for the food.
Oct. 9, Behind the Scenes Tour—visitors will have an opportunity to tour the rarely seen upper floors of the Sisters’ House. Reservations are strongly recommended; a fee of $10 is required for this special program. Physical accessibility on the tour is very limited due to steep and winding stairs.
Oct. 14-15, Mysterious, Melancholy, and Macabre—stories of early Lancaster County, ripped from the headlines of local newspapers, presented in a dramatic storytelling format; reservations suggested, 717/733-6600.
Oct. 21, Community Days—students of all backgrounds and grade levels visit learning stations at their own pace to learn about the thriving community of Ephrata in the 18th century; reservations strongly encouraged, 717/733-6600.

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
Oct. 15, Speaker Series, “The Dynamic Dozen – 13 Lake Erie Shipwrecks”— divers Georgann and Mike Wachter will share images and stories of wrecks in the fresh waters of Lake Erie.
Oct. 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, Ghosts Afloat—Niagara will be the setting for local lore (drawn from the ship’s history) in this new program offered in partnership with Mercyhurst College. Tickets must be purchased in advance (online or at the museum store).

Fort Pitt Museum
Oct. 2, RAD Day—enjoy free admission in honor of Pittsburgh’s Regional Asset District.
Oct. 15, Wild Resource Festival in Point State Park—costumed reenactors from the Museum will be set up in the park to interpret 18th-century hunting, fishing, and construction practices.

Graeme Park
Oct. 1-2, World War II Weekend (rescheduled from late Sept.)-period reenactors and equipment will be on site, encamped for the weekend; enjoy the West Chester Swing Kings concert Saturday evening. Admission charged, no fee for WWII veterans.
Oct. 8, Dog Faire—a chance to meet and greet, visit vendors, and learn about area rescue organizations.
Oct. 21 and 28, Moonlight Tours—Living History Theater presentation explores the history of the Keiths, Graemes, and Fergussons and relates various ghostly stories; reservations required, 215/343-0965.

Hope Lodge
Oct. 1, Whitemarsh Township History Tour—Hope Lodge is a featured stop on the tour; choose a bus tour or a self-guided driving tour, then contact the township for info and to reserve your spot, 610/828-7276.

PHMC/Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Oct. 8-9, Harvest Days Festival—traditional Pennsylvania German harvest activities and more than 80 demonstrators bring the village and farms to life; at the Pumpkin Patch you can choose your own orange gourd, decorate and carve it, and take it home.
Oct. 13 and 27, Hands-on History Days—activities help children of all ages experience a taste of 18th- and 19th-century PA German life
Oct. 29, Bus Trip to Winterthur Museum—a full day of exhibits, tours and curator presentations; reservations are required by Oct. 19, contact Cindy Reedy at 717/581-0591 or c-creedy@pa.gov.

Old Economy Village
Oct. 8, Oktoberfest—Penn Pilsner beer, German food, and lively music on a fall evening; reservations required, 724/266-4500 x101.
Oct. 15, Historic Trades Workshop-Five classes to choose from: blacksmithing, broom making, penny rugs, tinsmithing, and wreath design. Registration required by Oct. 3, call 724/266-4500 x101.

Pennsbury Manor
Oct. 2, Historic Trades—the joyner and blacksmith will be plying their trades (wood- and metalworking, respectively).
Oct. 9, Living History Theater—“The Sotcher Wedding” celebrates the traditional Quaker ceremony uniting John Sotcher, Penn’s steward, and Mary Lofty, head housekeeper. Who doesn’t love a wedding?
Oct. 16, Open Hearth Cooking—Pennsbury cooks will recreate a 17th-century baking day, with the aroma of bread (and other good things) filling the air.
Oct. 23, Cider Making—in the fall, colonial households would press apples and put the cider up to ferment (makes winter so much nicer). You can sample the unfermented product as part of the program.
Oct. 30, Living History Theater—“Witch Trial” presents the 1684 case of Margaret Mattson, accused by her neighbors of witchcraft; William Penn presided over the trial. You get to be the jury and hear the evidence—is she guilty or not? There will also be family-friendly trick or treat activities during the afternoon.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Oct. 8-9, Heritage Days Antique and Collectibles Show—food, door prizes, plenty of parking, and loads of antiques and collectibles; consignment items are welcome, contact Pete Folk, 814/435-8216.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Oct. 4, Central PA Civil War Roundtable Lecture—“Fort Sumter: First Blood in South Carolina,” with speaker Joe Mieczkowski (a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide), explores the beginning of the Civil War 150 years ago.

PHMC/Railroad Museum of PA

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Oct. 7-9, Model Railroad Days—program (included in Museum admission) features operating layouts in various scales from model railroad clubs and historical groups, plus hands-on sessions and informational presentations. Oct. 9 is also Garden Railway Tours at private homes around Lancaster County; separate ticket required, available at the Museum or at Stauffer’s locations. (Video from the 2010 event is here.)

Scranton Iron Furnaces
Oct. 21, Bonfire and Celtic Samhain Harvest Festival—this fundraiser supports the annual Arts on Fire program held at the Furnaces (see cool photos here.)

Somerset Historical Center
Oct. 22, Natives in Pennsylvania—visit the website closer to the date for details.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Oct. 2, Indian Day at Fort Hunter—the State Museum archaeologists will be at Fort Hunter (north of Harrisburg) talking about recent excavations and evidence of native American activity on and near the site.
Oct. 12, National Fossil Day—visit the website closer to the date for details.
Oct. 21, 3rd in the Burg—the museum participates in downtown Harrisburg’s monthly party, this month sponsored by Harrisburg Young Professionals.
Oct. 22, Great Pumpkin Day—a wonderful way for families to prepare for Halloween, with crafts, activities, and food.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Oct. 15, Harvest Day-living historians will demonstrate blacksmithing, period cooking, and handwriting; there will be a military encampment, and the historic buildings will be open for tours.