Marching into April

Spring is officially here, and all sites on the Trails of History that were closed for the winter will be back to their spring/summer schedules by the end of April (with a couple of additional schedule expansions in May). Most sites will be closed on April 8 for Easter, but the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (noon-5 p.m.) and the Pennsylvania Military Museum (noon -4 p.m.) will be open for visitors.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
April 1: the site will be open from noon to 4 p.m.
April 15: Weiser Interpretive Sunday—Friends of Conrad Weiser Homestead will offer a living history program from noon to 4 p.m.

Award patch for Cornwall Walk via Penn Dutch Pacers

Cornwall Iron Furnace
April 10: “History in Cast Iron – The Town Name Signs of Pennsylvania”—speaker is Jack Graham. This program is part of the Friends Lecture Series held at the Freeman Auditorium of Cornwall Manor retirement community.
April 21: Cornwall Walk—The Penn Dutch Pacers Volksmarch Club will start its 10K walk at the Furnace and continue along rural roadways and the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail. Participants must register at the start point sometime between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and finish the walk by 4 p.m. Go here for more info.

Daniel Boone Homestead
April 1: Pennsylvania German Easter and Spring Nature Program—children and their families will explore the site’s historic buildings as they hunt for Easter eggs and learn about PA German Easter traditions; there will be an egg dyeing activity using colonial-era techniques (bring your own egg if you want to make and take); and a volunteer from Penn State Master Gardeners of Berks County will present a program on landscaping with native plants.

Drake Well Museum
April 28: Blacksmithing demonstration—demonstrations take place on the grounds of the museum and are scheduled for the last Saturday of each month through October.

John Mitchell
Library of  Congress via ExplorePAHistory

Eckley Miners’ Village
April 15: Spring Lecture—Bobby Maso and the Eckley Players will present an afternoon with John Mitchell, president of the United Mine Workers from 1898 to 1908.

Ephrata Cloister
April 14: Spring Search—Young visitors follow clues that lead them in and out of Ephrata’s historic buildings. Find the right place, get a stamp in your Heritage Passport. Get all the stamps and you can trade your passport for a prize and a treat. The program runs from 1 to 4 p.m. and is designed for students 11 and younger (check the website for info on admission fees).
April 27: Community Days School Program—students and their teachers/parents explore many aspects of life at Ephrata Cloister by visiting learning stations at their own pace; registration is strongly encouraged for this very popular program.

Fort Pitt Museum
April 22: Walk MS—Reenactors from the Museum will fire the starting guns (10 a.m.) to kick off the western Pennsylvania chapter of the National MS Society’s annual fundraising walk in Point State Park. Go here for more info about the walk.
April 28-29: Eastern American Indian History Conference—this two-day conference explores the lives and material culture of original inhabitants of the land east of Mississippi River in the 17th through early 19th centuries. For full program and registration info go here.

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
April 21: Spring Benefit Auction—this popular annual event raises funds to support site programs and educational activities. Silent auction bidding starts at 4:30 p.m., live auction starts at 5:30 p.m. (and there’s food, too).

Old Economy Village via Facebook

Old Economy Village
April 14: Spring Garden Workshop—this year’s keynote speaker is Keith Kaiser, horticulture director at Mill Creek MetroParks in Canfield, Ohio. OEV’s horticulturalist Dean Sylvester is also a speaker, and participants will have a chance to visit the site’s historic gardens and greenhouse. Reservations are required (by April 6); contact or 412/266-4500 x101.

Pennsbury Manor
April 1: Historic Trades—the joyner and blacksmith will be demonstrating their skills.
April 15: Open-Hearth Cooking, Spring in the 17th Century—most of us think of our basic foodstuffs as year-round commodities, but that hasn’t always been the case. Pennsbury’s cooks will share how their 17th-century counterparts welcomed the coming of spring and the availability of greens, eggs, and milk that they’d done without over the winter.
April 22: Garden Highlights—explore the kitchen garden and see what’s available in the early spring.
April 29: Animals at Pennsbury—on a farm, every animal has a role to play; learn about the animals at Pennsbury today and yesterday and what their jobs are and were.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
April 14: Spring Antiques and Collectibles Show and Sale—the event will be held at Pine Creek Inn (not far from the museum); consignment items are welcome, contact Pete Folk at 814/435-8216. (Note—I listed this incorrectly in the Trailheads feature in the spring issue of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine.)

Pennsylvania Military Museum
April through November: additional exhibit labels and cases draw attention to combat rations and feeding the troops, connecting to PHMC’s 2012 theme, “The Land of Penn and Plenty.”
April 3: “The Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas”—speaker Dick Simpson recounts this two-day battle (March 7-8, 1862) between the Union Army of the Southwest and the Confederate Army of the West; part of the Central Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable lecture series (personal note: my great great grandfather was a member of the 18th Indiana Infantry and took part in the Battle of Pea Ridge, and I’m really sorry I won’t make it to the lecture).
April 4: “Army Operations”—speaker is Michail S. Huerter, LTC, USArmy, from the USArmy War College Speakers Bureau; part of the Friends of the PA Military Museum lecture series.
April 14-15: Battery B Drill Weekend—Civil War reenactment unit will conduct its annual safety training and recruitment drive on museum grounds from noon to 4 each day.

Battery B artillery drill at Pennsylvania Military Museum

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
April 21: “Role of Railroads in Pennsylvania during the Civil War”—a new temporary exhibit using photographs, documents, and artifacts to tell the story of the impact of railroads on both sides of the conflict; the exhibit runs through Dec. 30 and is included in regular museum admission.

Somerset Historical Center
April 2: Annual Meeting and Program—guest speaker is Mark Miner, author of “Well at this Time,” which uses the Civil War diaries of Ephraim Miner of Somerset County to chronicle his lengthy recovery in the Union Army’s health care and convalescent system.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
April 20: 3rd in the Burg—"Be There and Be Square" features a square dancing program in conjunction with the traveling exhibit “Making it Better: Folk Arts in Pennsylvania Today,” which closes April 29. Callers are Natalie Phelps and Harry Erhard.
April 22: “The Titanic and its Pennsylvania Passengers”— a presentation and panel discussion marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the unsinkable on April 15, 1912. Dr. William V. Lewis, Jr., PHMC Commissioner and author of a new pamphlet on the Titanic disaster, will be joined by two descendants of Titanic passengers and a journalist who has profiled Pennsylvania’s connections to the ill-fated voyage.

Washington Crossing Historic Site
April 27: Sheep Shearing Day—this program takes place at the Thompson Neely House (Upper Park); it is open to the public, with lots of kid-friendly activities exploring 18th-century wool processing starting with the sheep. Admission is $8 for anyone age 6 and up; reservations are required for groups of 10 or more (go here for details).


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