Looking Forward to a New Year


Trailheads is taking a bit of a breather this week, but I wanted to wish you all a happy and healthy 2014.

The Scranton Times-Tribune covered the Anthracite Heritage Museum's Toy Showcase program, and Daniel Boone Homestead shared photos from their rescheduled "Here Comes Santa Claus" program on Facebook.

Last week's post has info on events today through New Year's Eve. All sites on the Trails of History will be closed on January 1. Trailheads will be back next week with the January program listing and we'll catch up on any other news that we missed.

Until then, be safe and please enjoy history responsibly! (Sorry, too many cookies.)

More Holiday Programs on the Trails of History

All sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History will be closed on Dec. 25 for Christmas, with the very notable exception of Washington Crossing Historic Park (visit their website for program details). This time of year, it’s always a good idea to check with the site you want to visit to confirm operating hours.

Winter weather has been causing all kinds of fun on the Trails of History, mostly creating a snowy backdrop for holiday programs, but disrupting some as well. Daniel Boone Homestead had to reschedule their event from last weekend to tomorrow, where Santa will be greeted with temps in the 50s.

Last week’s post included links to photos of programs from the first part of December. This week, I’d like to point you toward photos from Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, and Eckley Miners’ Village.

"Santa's" WWII Draft Card via PA Military Museum Facebook page
The Pennsylvania Military Museum shared a copy of Santa’s World War II draft card on their Facebook page. They explain that their copy was donated by a friend of the museum who received it during a speaking engagement in Missouri. If you need additional documentation, you can also see a copy of Mr. Claus’s WWI draft registration online.

If you’re shopping for last-minute gifts (you know, to supplement what Santa will be bringing), don’t forget the museum stores on the Trails of History for books, local arts and crafts, Pennsylvania food items, and other good stuff.

In addition to Daniel Boone Homestead’s rescheduled event and the Christmas Crossing (see links at the top of this post), there are several other items to note in the next week or so:
  • Ephrata Cloister will present their annual Lantern Tour program, Dec. 26-29 (I strongly advise calling the site at 717/733-6600 to check on ticket availability), 6:30-8 pm.
  • Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum offers a Winter Day Camp for kids Dec. 26 & 27. Registration is required; call 717/569-0401.
  • The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s photography exhibit, “From Your Lens: Images of Contemporary Railroading,” closes on Dec. 31.
  • Young children and their families can ring in 2014 a few days early as part of the State Museum’s “Noon Year’s Eve” program, Dec. 27, 10 am-noon.
On a non-Christmas topic, during 2014 Sarah Buffington, curator at Old Economy Village, will be blogging about the project to restore the homes of Harmony Society founder George Rapp and his adopted son Frederick.

Thank you all for being Trailheads readers. Whatever you are celebrating in the coming weeks, I wish you warmth, joy, and light.

Time for Another Roundup

For those of you not hiding under the covers, in the throes of friggatriskaidekaphobia, welcome to the weekend. (For those of you who are, take heart—the next Friday the 13th isn’t until June, and that’s it for 2014.)

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum in the snow via Facebook

The Pennsylvania Military Museum held its annual remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. The event takes place against a backdrop of guns from the USS Pennsylvania, one of the American ships on the scene that Sunday morning. PMM posted photos of the ceremony on Facebook.

Sites and museums on the Pennsylvania Trails of History have been sharing lots of images of snow, holiday decorations, and programs. For a sampling, you might check out Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Pennsbury Manor, Eckley Miners’ Village, and Old Economy Village. In many cases, visitors have shared their own photos of programs on Facebook, which I always enjoy. One of the great things about social media, I think.

FIG Lancaster, a magazine focused on art, culture, shopping and dining, did a photo shoot at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania for their holiday issue and shared a behind-the-scenes look via their Facebook page.

The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, currently undergoing a major building expansion and renovation, has a new website. In fact, you can learn about the new construction (and lots of other things) on the new website.

If your holiday gift list includes people who like history, please don’t forget to shop the Trails of History. Options for online shopping include Landis Valley, the Railroad Museum, and ShopPAheritage; on-site visits are even more fun. A membership in the Friends or Associate group at your favorite site or the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation is always a thoughtful gift—no need to worry about sizes, colors, or styles.

The Hatboro-Horsham Madrigals performed at Graeme Park’s A Soldier’s Christmas at the end of November.

This weekend: (for info click on the links below or see the December program listings in last week's post)

Tonight, Dec. 13
Saturday, Dec. 14
Saturday and Sunday
Sunday, Dec. 15

December on the Trails of History

Holly Nights at Pennsbury Manor via Facebook

Winter schedules are in effect at many sites on the Trails of History, so please be sure to check ahead before visiting. All sites will be closed on Dec. 25, with the exception of Washington Crossing Historic Park (see below for more info).

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Dec. 15: Holiday Toy Showcase and Celebration—Enjoy displays of vintage toys, author Ron Stiltenpole reading from his book Magic Coal for Santa, and shop for unique gifts in the museum store. Make an ornament to take home and sample homemade cookies, too. Admission is $5. 2 pm. (On a related note, the Scranton Times-Tribune recently featured an article about coal and Christmas.)

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Dec. 7: Christmas at Cornwall House Tour—This annual tour lets you explore private homes in the Cornwall/Lebanon area while supporting the Friends of Cornwall Iron Furnace. Tickets are $15 in advance (that would be today) at several locations in the community or, with a credit card, by calling 717/272-9711. On the day of the tour (i.e. tomorrow), tickets are $20 and can be purchased only at Cornwall Iron Furnace. (Your house tour ticket also entitles you to a tour of the Furnace during regular hours between Dec. 7 and Dec. 31.) 10 am-4 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Dec. 8: A Homestead Christmas—Explore English and German Christmas traditions, enjoy hot chocolate and wassail, visit with Santa, and shop for baked goods and gifts for the history-minded folks on your list. Admission: Adults (age 16+), $6; Children (age 5-15), $4; Friends of DBH, $0. Noon-4 pm.
Dec. 14: Here Comes Santa Claus! Santa’s Workshop and Holiday Bonfire—This is a new event, with opportunities to make 18th-century style toys, sing carols by the fire, and shop for handmade ornaments and decorations. Plus a rare chance for an evening tour of the Boone house. Admission: Age 5+, $4; Friends of DBH, $0. 6-9 pm.

Drake Well Museum
Dec. 14: Santa’s Workshop—Children in grades 1-5 are invited to make a craft, watch a holiday movie, shop for gifts for family and friends, and share a snack. Registration is required and a fee is charged; call the museum at 814/827-2797 to sign up. 1-3 pm.

Eckley Miners' Village
Dec. 7-8: Children’s Christmas Program—Includes a tour of the village, a wagon ride, arts and crafts, storytelling, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission: Adults (13+), $5; children (5-12), $10. Reservations required; call 570/636-2070. 1-4 pm.
Dec. 7-8 & 14-15: Victorian Christmas—This program takes place in the 1861 Sharpe House and features Victorian decorations, tea, and cookies. Ornaments and teacups will be available for purchase as part of this fundraising event. Admission is free. 1-4 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Dec. 9-10: Christmas at the Cloister—This popular annual program combines traditional music (sung by the Ephrata Cloister Chorus) and readings. Admission: $6. Tickets are limited and may be sold out by the time you read this; call 717/733-6600. Programs at 6:30, 7:45, and 9 pm.
Dec. 26-29: Lantern Tours—Tour the site and follow the story, presented by junior and senior high school students under the guidance of museum staff. Tours start every half hour and leave from the visitor center. Reservations are required and tickets do sell out; call 717/433-6600 to reserve your spot. 6:30-8 pm.

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
Dec. 13: Christmas Tree Ship—This program features Niagara lit up for Christmas, lots of family activities, a visit with Santa, and a reading of Carol Crane’s maritime story “The Christmas Tree Ship.” Admission is free. Please bring hygiene products (toilet paper, toothpaste, facial tissues, etc.) or new infant items (onesies, booties, etc.) to help local families. Or you can sponsor a tree for $25 (contact Julie Wagner, 814/452-2744 x222 or jwagner@flagshipniagara.org). 5:30-8:30 pm (Santa arrives 6-ish).

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Dec. 7-8 & 14-15: Country Christmas Village—Enjoy a Pennsylvania German Christmas, with all kinds of trees, der Belsnickel, plus complimentary cocoa and gingersnaps. On Dec. 7 at 1 pm, handbell ringer Ron Bellamy will perform (find a preview on YouTube). Included in regular admission. Dec. 7 & 14, 10 am-4 pm; Dec. 8 & 15, noon-4 pm.
Dec. 13: Holiday at Landis Valley Bonfire—What’s not to like? Caroling, a blazing bonfire, wagon rides, hot cider and cookies. And it’s free—Landis Valley’s gift to the community. Return the favor by bringing canned goods to donate to the Lancaster Food Bank. 6-8:30 pm.
Dec. 14: Days of the Belsnickel Lunch—Tour the village to see the holiday decorations and open hearth cooking, then enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal at the Landis Valley Hotel and shopping at the Landis Valley Museum Store. Der Belsnickel will be on hand to liven things up. Cost is $32.50 per person. Reservations required; call 717/581-0590 or email c-jschurin@pa.gov. 11 am.
Dec. 21: Old Fashioned Children’s Christmas—Enjoy a visit to the one-room schoolhouse for Christmas-themed activities, including a take-home craft. Included in regular admission (no reservations required). 10 am-3 pm.
Dec. 26-27: Winter Day Camp—A great way to keep everyone happy and sane during school break. Registration is required; for details call 717/569-0401 x228 or email c-sbrown@pa.gov. 8:30 am-4:30 pm.

Old Economy Village
Dec. 7-8: Christmas at the Village—Enjoy Christmas carols sung by local choirs, shop for handmade wares by local craftspeople, and stop by the Granary for children’s activities and to see whether Belsnickel’s book has you down as naughty or nice. Admission: Adults (12-64), $12; Seniors (65+), $9; Youth (3-11), $5. Please start at the Visitor Center to purchase tickets and then proceed to the village. Dec. 7, 2-9 pm; Dec. 8, 2-7 pm.
Dec. 14: Christmas Dinner—Join with other supporters of Old Economy for a festive evening of dining and music. Cost is $75 per person or $60 for Friends of OEV (you can also purchase a table for 6 or 8 people). Reservations are required by Dec. 7; call 724/266-4500 x 114. 6 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
TONIGHT (Dec. 6): (the second night of) Holly Nights—A special opportunity to see Pennsbury illuminated by candlelight, bonfires, and hearth fires. Enjoy caroling, hot cider, and throwing a green sprig on the Yule log for luck. Entertainment schedule. Admission: Adults (12-64), $12; Seniors (65+), $10; Children (3-11), $6. The downloadable discount coupon is good for $1 off adult admission. 6-9 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute—Gather with others beneath the guns of the USS PENNSYLVANIA (adjacent to the museum parking lot) to mark the 72nd anniversary of the attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. 12:45 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Dec. 7 and 14: Home for the Holidays—Costumed engineers, conductors, ticket agents, and passengers representing the past century bring historic rail travel to life. Kids can visit with Santa or work with a telegrapher to send a Christmas telegram to the North Pole. Holiday music, refreshments (while supplies last), and shopping are part of the day too. Included in regular admission. 9 am-5 pm.
Dec. 31: Final day to see the Museum’s 2013 special exhibit, “From Your Lens: Images of Contemporary Railroading.” Included in regular admission, during regular operating hours.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Through Dec. 29: War of 1812 bicentennial exhibit—On loan from the Canadian Consulate, the exhibit looks at the war from different perspectives—American, Canadian, British, and Native American. Included in regular admission.
Through Jan. 19: “A 20th-Century Christmas Tradition” features model trains from private collections and the Gruff Family Christmas Display from the museum’s permanent collection. Included in regular admission.
Dec. 20: 3rd in the Burg/Learn at Lunchtime—Tour the "Chairs" exhibit with museum director David W. Dunn at 12:15 pm. Museum admission is free from 11 am to 1:30 pm.
Dec. 21: Kwanzaa and Christmas Celebration—A collaboration of Nathaniel Gadsen’s Writers Wordshop, this program is a celebration of family. Food, music, workshops, and more. Admission is free. 10 am-3 pm.
Dec. 27: Noon Year’s Eve—Ring in 2014 a few days early at this popular program for young children and their families. Dancing, crafts, and snacks leading up to the big firefly drop in Memorial Hall at noon. Included in regular admission. 10 am-noon.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Dec. 7: A Night of REBELry—A festive fundraising event to support the programs at Washington Crossing. (I’m not sure if tickets are still available; best to call 215/493-4076 to check).
Dec. 8: Dress Rehearsal—Historical demonstrations, activities, and the final rehearsal for the reenactment of the Christmas 1776 crossing of the Delaware by Gen. Washington and Continental troops. Admission: Adults (12+), $8; Children (5-11), $4. 11 am-3 pm (crossing is scheduled for 1 pm).
Dec. 25: 61st Annual Christmas Day Crossing—Thousands of folks will be on hand to watch as Gen. Washington (portrayed by John Godzieba) and three Durham boats full of reenactors cross the Delaware River (weather permitting). The event is free. 1-3 pm.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bounty at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum via Facebook

The post is a little early this week to get a jump on the holiday. To all Trailheads readers (hi, mom) and guest bloggers from the past year, I offer a hearty “thank you” for your support. May you all enjoy some delicious food, good company, and a chance to spend time with the folks you love. All sites on the Trails of History will be closed tomorrow for Thanksgiving, some will reopen on Friday for visitors, and then all will be back to their regular schedules on the weekend (it’s always a good idea to check ahead to make sure the site you want to visit will be open when you plan to be there).

Please remember our museum stores when you think of your holiday shopping—Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and beyond. Your purchases help to support educational programs and events. Speaking of which...

Special events between now and the next Trailheads post:

Picture Perfect

The Holiday Marketplace continues today in the atrium of the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg, 10 am-3 pm.

Winner of Eckley Miners' Village Photo Contest, photo by Joann Stewart

Eckley Miners’ Village has announced the winner of their second annual fall foliage photography contest. Joann Stewart of Mountain Top received a cash prize and a one-year membership in the Eckley Miners’ Village Associates, PHMC’s partner at the site. Her photo is also on display in the visitor center at Eckley. Congratulations, Joann.

On a related note, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s temporary exhibit, “From Your Lens: Images of Contemporary Railroading,” featuring images submitted for a photo contest, continues through Dec. 31.

Today is the Lancaster County Community Foundation’s Extraordinary Give. You can contribute online between now and midnight to support, among others, Ephrata Cloister and Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum.

Conrad Weiser Homestead will offer an evening program tomorrow from 6 to 8:30 pm, featuring 18th-century stories and music, as well as a chance to experience the site by candlelight. Admission is free, but donations in support of the program will be gratefully accepted.

How’s Your November Going?

It’s Museum Educator Appreciation Day, so to all my educator colleagues out there—THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

And although the Gettysburg Address (150th anniversary is Tuesday, Nov. 19) isn't specifically related to sites on the Trails of History, I think the "Learn the Address" project is just kind of cool. History geek nirvana.


A new publication from PA Civil War 150 is now available. The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience, edited by Samuel Black and published by the Senator John Heinz History Center, features scholarly essays on such topics as civil rights, emigration, abolitionism, armed resistance, and service in the war. It is available from ShopPAHeritage along with other products related to the Civil War.

Cornwall Iron Furnace recently received an important donation of an iron stove plate cast at Cornwall. The donor purchased the stove plate at a Lancaster County antiques market, noted that the Cornwall name was on it, and contacted the site. It turns out that although the site collection includes many stove plates, none are marked “Cornwall Iron Furnace.” The Lebanon Daily News covered the stove plate’s return to Lebanon County.

2013 has been a very busy year for the Flagship Niagara and her crew with the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie and the War of 1812. They visited Great Lakes ports throughout the sailing season and hosted Tall Ships Erie 2013 in September. Now the ship is under winter cover and the crew is focused on off-season activities. You’ll find photos on Facebook. And senior captain Walter Rybka spoke at a Veterans Day event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Erie earlier this week.

The Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation’s 8th annual Holiday Marketplace is scheduled for next Thursday and Friday (Nov. 21-22) in the atrium of the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg. Museum stores from Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Ephrata Cloister, Somerset Historical Center, and the State Museum of PA will be represented, along with several other state agencies. Get a big jump on Black Friday and support history and culture.

November 22 (next Friday) is the date for the Lancaster County Community Foundation’s Extraordinary Give, a 24-hour online fundraising campaign. Ephrata Cloister and Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum are taking part, and Ephrata is planning on-site activities throughout the day. Participating organizations will get a proportional share of the $250K stretch pool and are eligible for $50K in prizes during the event.

The full Trails of History program listing for November was posted two weeks ago. A few highlights this weekend and next week:
  • 11/16 – Old Economy Village Museum Store class on making traditional German stars (registration deadline was Wednesday, 11/13, so it may be full)
  • 11/17 – Open Hearth Cooking, Pennsbury Manor, 1-4 pm (included in regular admission)
  • 11/17 – Flag Retirement Ceremony, Daniel Boone Homestead, noon (event is free, admission charged to tour the historic area and house)
  • 11/21 – Drake Well Museum Heritage Lecture Series, Dr. William Brice, author of Myth, Legend, Reality: Edwin L. Drake and the Early Oil Industry, 6:30 pm (admission charged)

Stuff I Missed

The votes are in and PHMC’s two entries on the PA’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts campaign ended up in second and third place. Together, Anthracite Heritage Museum’s bust of Abraham Lincoln by coal sculptor C. Edgar Patience and the cap and coat made for Old Economy Village leader George Rapp garnered 2.1 million votes, 145 shares, and $1,715 in support. Thanks to all of you who took the time to vote and support these artifacts.

Last week’s post featured the list of November events. Most sites will be closed on Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, but several are open.

In my Halloween post, I failed to share images from Somerset Historical Center’s trick-or-treat event. I’m making up for that today. You might also be interested to know that in addition to its annual school of coopering, SHC is now your go-to source for historically based coopering tools and supplies.

Trick-or-treat event at SHC via Facebook

In late September, Ephrata Cloister started using their blog, "Chronicle Ephrata," to share info about members of the site’s student historians group and the work they do (as they had shared updates from summer interns in the previous months).

The Times Tribune, in southeastern PA, covered the Whitemarsh Encampment at Hope Lodge this past weekend, including brief video footage. Visit Hope Lodge’s Facebook page to see photos shared by participants in the two-day event.

If you weren’t able to attend the celebration of Daniel Boone’s 279th birthday, the Reading Eagle posted info and photos about the event.


The State Museum of Pennsylvania opened a new exhibit last weekend (on view through April 27, 2014) featuring a wide variety of chairs from the collection. Look for news coming soon on another chair exhibit on the Trails of History that will overlap with the State Museum’s. We’ll have chairs coming out our ears.

State Senator Patrick Browne (R-16), who represents parts of Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe Counties, visited the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania last month for his tv show, “The Browne Report.” He toured the museum with director Charlie Fox and the two paid special attention to railroad cars that operated in the Lehigh Valley. Sen. Browne also spoke with volunteer Steve Kistler about telegraphy and got a demonstration of how messages were sent. The video is available on the senator’s website or on local cable stations in the Lehigh Valley.

November Rolls In

Welcome to November on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Time to start checking seasonal schedules, as some sites are now closed or on reduced hours for the winter. With Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, we also have some holiday changes as well (a summary of holiday schedules will help you plan ahead).

For those of you in the Harrisburg area (or who would like a weekday road trip), the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation's annual Holiday Marketplace is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, November 21 and 22, 10 am-3 pm. The event, which features merchandise from sites on the Trails of History as well as other state agencies, takes place in the atrium of the Commonwealth Keystone Building, corner of North St. and Commonwealth Ave. Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation and State Museum Affiliate members receive a 10% discount on purchases.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Nov. 2: A Miner’s Tale—dramatic presentation by Robert Hughes provides insights into the life of an anthracite miner. $5 ticket includes admission to the museum’s exhibits as well. 2 pm.

Brandywine Battlefield
Nov. 2: First Annual Brandywine Battlefield 5K—starts at Brandywine Battlefield Park, 8:30 am.
Nov. 30: Patriot’s Day—British and Continental troops, civilian reenactors, sutlers, and much more at this annual event commemorating the Battle of Brandywine and its significance to the American Revolution. 10 am-4 pm.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Nov. 3: Open noon-4 pm.
Nov. 23: Candlelight Tours—this annual program features living history, 18th-century music, and a chance to see the site by night. 6-8:30 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Nov. 12: Friends Lecture Series“Tools of Genealogy,” with speaker Brian Kissler, librarian and archivist for the Lebanon County Historical Society. Lectures are held in the auditorium of Freeman Hall at Cornwall Manor retirement community. 7 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Nov. 3: Boone Birthday Program—celebrate Daniel’s 279th birthday with tours, storytelling, and cake. Admission: $6 ages 12+, $4 ages 5-11. Noon-4 pm.
Nov. 10: Fall Lecture—Floyd Turner II will present a talk entitled “Turtle—Washington’s Revolution War Attack Submarine.” Suggested donation: $2 (regular admission charged for tours or to visit the historic area). 2 pm.
Nov. 17: Flag Retirement Ceremony—several local organizations will be on hand to properly retire U.S. flags that are no longer serviceable. Event is free; regular admission charged for tours or to visit the historic area. Noon.

Drake Well Museum
Nov. 7: Heritage Lecture Series—"You Can Come Home Again: Two Centuries of the Appalachian Natural Gas Rush," with David Waples, author of The Natural Gas Industry in Appalachia. Program details.
Nov. 21: Heritage Lecture Series—Speaker is Dr. William Brice, author of Myth, Legend, Reality: Edwin L. Drake and the Early Oil Industry. Program details. 6:30 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Nov. 7: Ephrata Cloister Chorus at Historical Society of Pennsylvania—the chorus will perform traditional music as part of "Flowers of Paradise: Manuscripts and Illustrations from the Ephrata Cloister," a lecture by Dr. Jeff Bach, who has done extensive research and writing on the community at Ephrata. The program is presented by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust St., Philadelphia. Free of charge. 6-7:30 pm. Nov. 8: Tickets for Christmas at the Cloister—as of today, the general public can purchase tickets for this limited-seating event, scheduled for Dec. 9 and 10. Tickets are $6. Call 717/733-6600.

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
Nov. 2: Little Mates Kids Club—tour the ship, have lunch with Captain Wes, and get a kid-friendly behind-the-scenes peek at the museum. More info on Facebook, including how to join the Little Mates Kids Club. 11 am.

Graeme Park
Nov. 30: A Soldier’s Christmas—see how soldiers have celebrated the holidays on the battlefront of different eras. Free admission. Noon- 6 pm.

Hope Lodge
Nov. 2-3: Whitemarsh Encampment Reenactment—this long-standing event commemorates the Nov. 2-Dec. 11, 1777, encampment of Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army in the Whitemarsh Hills. Program details and discount coupon. 10 am-4 pm, rain or shine.

Joseph Priestley House
Nov. 3: Heritage Day—costumed interpreters will be stationed in the house as you tour, Dr. Priestley will demonstrate chemical principles, and there will be games for children. 1-4 pm (chemistry demos at 1:30 and 2:30).

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Nov. 2-3: Landis Valley Museum Store Holiday Open House—shop for locally handmade art, crafts and heirloom-quality gifts and enjoy holiday decorations in the museum store. 9 am-5 pm.
Nov. 7: Hands-on History Day—experience seasonal chores, a one-room schoolhouse, hands-on crafts, and wagon rides. $10 per person (ages 5 and under are free). 10 am-3 pm.

Old Economy Village
Nov. 13: Behind the Scenes Tour—wonder what’s behind the locked doors? This is your chance to find out. Tour collections storage areas with staff and see treasures not currently on display. Wine and cheese will be served in the visitor center. $25 ($20 for Friends of OEV). Reservations required.
Nov. 16: Museum Store Class—learn to make German stars for decorating your home. $15 fee includes materials. Register by Nov. 13.

Pennsbury Manor
Nov. 17: Open Hearth Cooking—the cooks will be overdosing on sugar today as they explore 17th-century confections. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
Nov. 30: Wreaths & Greens Workshop—make a fragrant evergreen wreath and learn how to prune and care for evergreens in your yard. $35 fee. Choose morning (10 am-noon) or afternoon (1-3 pm) and bring your own clippers. Registration is required.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Nov. 6: Friends’ Richard Koontz Memorial Lecture Series—“Young Mr. Roosevelt,” with speaker Dr. Stanley Weintraub, explores Theodore Roosevelt’s experience as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. 7:30 pm.
Nov. 9: Kids Day - Dress Up and Discover!!—Kids of all ages get to try on field gear and head gear from the museum education collection. Photo ops abound with three backdrops in the museum theatre. Visit the education stations in the galleries for more fun discoveries throughout the day. Admission is Buy-One-Get-One-Free. Parents must remain on-site while their kids participate in the activities. 10:00 am-3:00 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Nov. 2-3: Trains & Troops—this annual program salutes our armed forces and explores the role of the military in railroad history (and vice versa). A Swing Dance Saturday night (separate or combo ticket) lets you enjoy big band music, refreshments, and swing, swing, swing. Program details. Sat., 9 am-5 pm; Sun., noon-5 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Nov. 3: Exhibit Opening—“Chairs from the Collection of The State Museum” presents a diverse array of chairs ranging across Pennsylvania’s history. The exhibit will be on view through April 27, 2014. An opening reception will be hosted by the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation. 2-4 pm.
Nov. 15: Hidden Treasures 2—a scavenger hunt for grown-ups, with food, live music, and adult beverages. Details and tickets at shoppaheritage.com (online sales close Nov. 13). $30 per person, $55 per couple. 6-9 pm.
Nov. 16: Workshops in Archaeology—the focus this year is “Archaeology of a Troubled Nation, 1755-1865.” Additional information and registration.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Nov. 10: Historic Foodways—check the website closer to the dates to confirm details.
Nov. 13: Final Public Meeting for WCHP Master Plan—an opportunity to preview the final plan for use of the park's many facilities, hear a progress report, and ask questions or provide comments. 5:30-8:30 pm.

Trailheads: Special Halloween Edition

This is a thinly disguised final, urgent, anguished plea for votes for the PA's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts campaign. You have until midnight, mwahhahhhahhh. UPDATE NOV. 1: I WAS SOOOOO WRONG. YOU CAN STILL VOTE UNTIL TONIGHT. GO. GO. GO. Coal sculptor C. Edgar Patience's bust of Abraham Lincoln from the Anthracite Heritage Museum and George Rapp's cap and coat from Old Economy Village are in 2nd and 3rd place. Let's see if we can move them up to the top.

Boo!! Here’s a little something extra for the day.

Blue Ridge Communications visited several sites in Lancaster County to talk about haunted history. You can find the extended version of the program on YouTube or if you live in the Blue Ridge service area on Channel 11. To save you some time, there are shorter clips below for Ephrata Cloister and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

And a few still photos from sites on the Trails of History.

Daniel Boone Homestead via Facebook

Eckley Miners' Village via Facebook

Pennsbury Manor via Facebook

October Winds Down

Final stretch, people. We are down to the last week of voting in the PA’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts campaign. Due to a surge from the pack, Abraham Lincoln is now in the number 2 spot, with George Rapp in 3rd place. Abe enjoyed a run at the top for a good week, and we can get him back there and push George to 2nd if we all pull together. Thanks to all who have participated in this online effort. We need you to keep at it. Vote, Support, Share. Repeat.

The PHMC is accepting nominations for state historical markers, with a deadline of December 1. Detailed instructions and application form are on the PHMC website.

The Friends of Washington Crossing Park have issued a call for applications from reenactors interested in participating in the annual Christmas crossing event. The registration packet provides details; deadline for receipt of applications is Oct. 28.

EMM Library Museum Pass, photo by Linda Bolla
On Monday, Erie Maritime Museum will launch a new museum pass in conjunction with the Erie County Library System (the museum and main library share a building on the Erie bayfront). Families (or individuals) can check out the pass for a week at any branch library, bookmobile, or independent community partner and use it for free admission to the museum during regular operating hours. The pass and accompanying info piece were designed by EMM’s 2013 summer intern, Matt Bonnanti. (C-Span recently visited Erie and has posted video, including info about the Flagship Niagara.)

Photos of October special events on the Trails of History: Anthracite Heritage Museum's Bonfire at the [Scranton Iron] Furnaces, Harvest Day and Craft Festival at Daniel Boone Homestead, Harvest Days at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, and the M60A3 Tank Tour at the Pennsylvania Military Museum (still photos and video).

Coming up this weekend:

Still Waiting for that Autumn Chill

Less than two weeks to go in voting for your favorite among PA’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts. Thanks to your help, a bust of Abraham Lincoln by coal sculptor C. Edgar Patience (Anthracite Heritage) and George Rapp’s cap and coat (Old Economy) are occupying the top of the list (Number 1 and Number 3 when I checked on Thursday afternoon). This is no time to let up! At least one other artifact is staging a happy hour click-a-thon to improve its standing. Such blatant politicking (that I totally wish I had thought of). Please vote as often as you can (financial support and social media shares are also greatly appreciated).

It’s been a couple of weeks since we posted a progress photo of the visitor center expansion at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, so here are two progress photos of the visitor center expansion at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum.


The top photo hows stonework being applied to the exterior of the building last week. On the bottom, the museum's logo is stamped on interior woodwork produced at the sawmill on site. Thanks to Jeff Bliemeister for the photos.

Speaking of photos, the fall foliage contest at Eckley Miners’ Village is still accepting entries. Eckley’s website has information on how to participate.

Lancaster County Museum Fest continues. Now through November 30, celebrate fall in Lancaster County with a wealth of museums, including three on the Trails of History—Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, and the Railroad Museum of PA.

If you’re suffering withdrawal from War of 1812 coverage, you can read Paulette Dinniny’s interview with US Brig Niagara senior captain Walter Rybka on the Pennsylvania Heritage magazine website (the interview originally appeared in the Fall 2013 issue). Or you can follow the progress of ship repairs on Facebook.

Events this weekend include (Oct. 4 post listed events for the month):

Tidbits from the PA Trails of History

Most sites on the Trails of History will be closed Monday, Oct. 14, for Columbus Day. The exceptions are: Drake Well Museum, Fort Pitt Museum, and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

We have a little less than 3 weeks left to back our favorites in the Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts campaign. Please vote, support, and share. So far there are lots of votes, but not nearly as many shares, and way fewer (what am I, 15?) supports. C’mon. It’s really easy. Not to influence the outcome or anything, but I’d like to steer you toward George Rapp’s cap and coat at Old Economy Village and Anthracite Heritage Museum’s bust of Abraham Lincoln by coal sculptor C. Edgar Patience. Both are currently in the top 5; help push them to the top!

Pennbury Manor shared this on Facebook from American Historical Theater (AHT) earlier this week: “AHT is partnering with History Making Productions to cast background extras and principals (non speaking) for a new series of documentaries and webisodes about Philadelphia. The focus of the film revolves around William Penn, the Lenape Tribe, the first Swedish settlers and Pennsbury Manor.” You’ll find casting lists and contact info on AHT’s FB page; no dates for auditions, etc., when I last checked (yesterday).

Reconstruction of the Manor House section of
Pennsbury's Visitor Center exhibit

While we’re on the subject of Pennsbury, just a reminder that they are still gathering memories and stories in preparation for their 75th anniversary as a public museum in 2014. You can post yours on Pennsbury’s FB page.

Last week’s post was a rundown of events this month at Trails of History sites. If you’re looking for something to do this long weekend:

October on the PA Trails of History

Before we take a look at events and programs on the Trails of History this month, a reminder that there is a little less than a month left to vote for Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts. As we noted in last week’s post, two artifacts in the PHMC’s collections are on the list—a coat and cap made for Harmony Society founder George Rapp (in the care of Old Economy Village) and a bust of Abraham Lincoln by noted coal sculptor C. Edgar Patience (at the Anthracite Heritage Museum). In addition to voting online, as often as possible, please consider a donation as well, to help with conservation and care of these objects (there are eight others on the list, of course, but you know where my bias lies).

October is Pennsylvania Archives Month and Pennsylvania Archaeology Month. Both are focused on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

PA Lumber Museum expansion as of late September (photo by Jeff Bliemeister)

The building expansion at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum continues, and the building is now under roof (or will be very soon). You can just see the beginning of northern tier fall color tinging the trees on the hillside behind the building. If you’re in the southeastern part of the state, Bowman’s Hill Tower at Washington Crossing Historic Park provides stellar foliage views (the best in Bucks County).

Anthracite Heritage Museum and Scranton Iron Furnaces
Oct. 19: Bonfire and Harvest Festival—experience Celtic harvest traditions, food, music, and a roaring bonfire at the Scranton Iron Furnaces. This year’s program includes Scranton Shakespeare Festival's presentation of the three witches from Macbeth. Watch the Bonfire Facebook page for ticket deals and updates. 6 pm.

Brandywine Battlefield
Oct. 19: Halloween Event—Details to come.

Bushy Run Battlefield
Oct. 12: Annual Fall Tea—call 724/527-5584 to be placed on the waiting list for this sold-out event.
Oct. 26: Haunted History Hayride—tickets are on sale now. Call 724/527-5584 to place your order (leave a message with name, phone number, and number of tickets requested). 7-10 pm.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Oct. 6: Site open—it’s the first Sunday of the month, so the site will be welcoming visitors from noon to 4 pm.
Oct. 20: Weiser Interpretive Sunday and Fall Park Walk—enjoy the beautiful Olmsted-designed park, as well as hourly historic tours of the site. Free admission. Noon-4 pm (park walk starts at 2 pm, last historic tour is at 3).

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Oct. 8: Friends Lecture Series—Speaker Elaine Ainsworth will explore the genealogy of “The Coleman Family.” Lecture is free and takes place in Freeman Auditorium at Cornwall Manor retirement community. 7 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Oct. 20: Heritage Day and Market Fair—activities planned for this annual event include a market and craft fair, Pennsylvania German food vendors, and a demonstration of 18th-century beer brewing. Admission: $8 (age 16+), $6 (age 65+), $5 (age 5-15) (Friends of Daniel Boone Homestead get in free). 10 am-4 pm.
Oct. 26: Haunted Homestead Tour—this new evening program will include Halloween-themed guided walking tours of the historic area; program is intended for ages 8 and up. Admission is $6 (combo tickets include admission to the Oct. 27 program as well). 6-9 pm (please note that site will close at 3 pm that day and reopen at 5:30 for the program).
Oct. 27: Halloween at the Homestead—there will be loads of activities for kids, including trick-or-treating (costumes encouraged). Admission: $6 (age 16+), $4 (age 5-15) (Friends of DBH get in free). Noon-4 pm.

Drake Well Museum
Oct. 26: Oil Valley Blacksmiths—this is the last of the monthly blacksmithing meetings and demos for the season. 9 am-2 pm.

Eckley Miners’ Village
Oct. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26: Halloween Lantern Tours—tour groups walk through the 19th-century village and encounter funny, scary, and entertaining scenes (photos from previous years). Bring your own flashlight. Rain dates are Oct. 13, 20, 27, but you should check with the site to confirm. Admission: $10 (age 13+), $5 (age 6-12); this event is family-oriented but not recommended for children younger than 6. First tour leaves the visitor center at 6:30 pm, the last at 9 pm sharp.

Ephrata Cloister
Oct. 11-12: Apple Dumpling Days—celebrate autumn, support the Back to the Cloister Fund (which helps to return original furnishings and objects to the site), and enjoy a wonderful Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. Saturday, Oct. 12, is also a Day of Music, featuring the Ephrata Cloister Chorus performing at 2, 3, and 4 pm. Site tours and Day of Music performances included in regular admission; no admission fee to purchase apple dumplings. 9:30 am-4 pm.
Oct. 18: Community Days—this popular program is an educational open house, with learning stations scattered around the site. Students and their accompanying adults move at their own pace as they explore the activities. Admission: $6 for age 3-17; one adult admitted free with every 10 students; additional adults, $9 each. Reservations are strongly encouraged; call 717/733-6600. 9:30 am-1 pm.
Oct. 18-19, 25-26: Mysterious, Melancholy, and Macabre—this evening program will share stories of strange occurrences witnessed by staff, volunteers, and visitors, as well as a dramatic presentation in the 1741 Meetinghouse. Advanced tickets (age 18+, $12; age 6-17, $10) are recommended, call 717/733-6600. Two performances each night, 7 and 8:30 pm.

Fort Pitt Museum
Oct. 5: Free admission—as part of Pittsburgh's RADical Days (RAD as in Regional Asset District) admission is free today only (during regular hours).

Graeme Park
Oct. 25: Haunted Moonlight Tours—see the Keith House by night at this popular annual program. Admission: $15 per person. Tours approx. every half hour between 7 and 9:30 pm.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Oct. 3 and 24: Hands-on History Days—children of all ages get to experience seasonal chores, hands-on crafts, wagon rides, and more. Admission: $10 per person (children 5 and younger get in free). Contact Sheri Brown for details: c-sbrown@pa.gov or 717/569-0401 x 228. 10 am-3 pm.
Oct. 12-13: Harvest Days—a classic special event and a great way to celebrate the coming of fall. Loads of demonstrations and activities for the whole family in a beautiful setting. Admission: age 12+, $12; age 65+, $10; age 6-11, $8; free parking. 11 am-5 pm.

Old Economy Village
Oct. 12: Oktoberfest—this fundraising event features German beer and traditional foods with entertainment by Burke’s Bavarian Band. $40 ($32 for Friends of OEV); deadline to purchase tickets is Oct. 7 (call 724/266-4500 x 102 or 113). 6 pm.
Oct. 19: Trades Workshop – Basket Weaving—learn to make baskets in 19th-century style at this all-day workshop led by Harley Allen. The workshop registration form has the details. Deadline for registrations is October 16. Fee is $50 ($40 for Friends of OEV) and includes lunch and materials.
Oct. 26: Making Wool Flowers—turn scraps of wool into decorative flowers for hats, coats, or hooked rugs (or whatever else you want to adorn). Class will be taught by Nan Loncharich, whose work can be found in OEV’s museum store (she’ll be signing her book on the 26th, too). $30 per person includes materials. Registration deadline is Oct. 21.

Pennsbury Manor
Oct. 6: Historic Trades—your last chance for this season to visit the blacksmith and joyner as they demonstrate their skills with metal- and woodworking. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
Oct. 13: Living History Theater—you are invited to join Penn’s steward and housekeeper, John Sotcher and Mary Lofty, as they are united in marriage according to 17th-century Quaker wedding customs. Sign the wedding certificate and chat with William Penn and other guests. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
Oct. 20: Open Hearth Cooking—the cooks will have the oven fired up and the aroma of freshly baked bread will be everywhere. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
Oct. 27: Family Halloween and Living History Theater—enjoy trick-or-treating, traditional fall activities, and games. There will also be a living history theater presentation of the 1684 trial of Margaret Mattson, accused of witchcraft by some of her neighbors. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Oct. 5: Sawmill and Birch Still operating—a rare opportunity to see a c. 1900 steam-powered sawmill in action, as well as a still used to extract birch oil (used as flavoring and medicine). Included in regular admission. 10 am-5 pm.
Oct 12-13: 32nd Annual Fall Antique and Collectible Show—this semi-annual event supports the programs of the Lumber Museum. Please note that the event takes place at the Pine Creek Inn, 1637 US Rt 6, Galeton. Consignments are accepted; contact Pete Folk, 814/435-8216. Admission: age 12+, $4.50; age 3-11, $3 (look for discount coupons in the local paper). 10 am-4:30 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Oct. 5-6: Then & Now Living History Encampment/Bivouac—this program offers a living timeline of military uniforms and equipment from colonial times to the present. Admission is free. 10 am-4 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
October and November: Outreach Program—museum educators will be visiting branch libraries throughout the Library System of Lancaster County to present hands-on programs for young readers and their families.
Oct. 6: Garden Railways Tour—this year’s event features 12 outdoor model train layouts at private residences or retirement communities in Lancaster County. This close to the event, tickets ($10 per person for ages 6 and up) may be purchased at the museum or at any Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill store in central Pennsylvania. The Garden Railways Tour flyer has more info; a map of participating locations will be provided with your ticket. 1-5 pm.

Somerset Historical Center
Oct. 17: “Gone but Not Forgotten”—staff and volunteers will present a program on tombstones, focusing on local cemeteries, unique stones, epitaphs, and symbols. Regular admission charged (free for members). 6:30 pm.
Oct. 26: Historical Halloween—Trick-or-treating with a historical theme, following the site’s pathways by lantern light. Admission: $5 per car. Please bring canned goods for the local food pantry. 5-8 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Through Oct. 11: Fort Hunter Dig—the public is welcome to see the work being done by State Museum archaeologists to uncover the 18th-century remains of the Fort. (On Oct. 6, Fort Hunter holds its Indian Festival Day, noon-4 pm.)
Through Oct. 20: Latino-Hispanic Art Display—this exhibit features the work of Henry Bermudez, Susana Amundarain, and Michelle Angela. Included in museum admission.
Oct. 16: National Fossil Day™—visit the Dino Lab during a special Learn at Lunchtime program to see the bones of a mammoth discovered at the bottom of Erie County’s Lake Pleasant in 1991 and recently acquired by the museum. 11 am-1:30 pm (museum admission will be free during this time slot).
Oct. 18: Night of the Great Pumpkin & 3rd in the Burg—enjoy planetarium shows, creative pumpkin carving, storytime, live animals, crafts and snacks during this family-friendly event. Admission is free. 5:30-8 pm.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Oct. 13: Historic Foodways—check the website for more info closer to the date. 11 am-3:30 pm.
Oct. 25: 23 Steps—enjoy a rare nighttime visit to Bowman’s Hill Tower. Admission: age 12+, $8; age 5-11, $4. 7-10 pm. UPDATE, 10/15/13: I goofed. This event isn't happening this year. Sorry for any confusion. AKF

Save Our Stuff!

Late last week, the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) kicked off its “Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts” campaign at the Governor’s Residence, with help from First Lady (and PHMC Commissioner) Susan Corbett. The project is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Staff from PHMC’s Harrisburg offices, Old Economy Village, and the Anthracite Heritage Museum were on hand to mark the occasion along with staff from eight other institutions.

From left: Holly Dofner (OEV), First Lady Susan Corbett,
Mary DeMars and Sarah Buffington (OEV)
(photo courtesy Brenda Reigle)

This project, part of a larger initiative called “Save Pennsylvania’s Past,” is aimed at drawing attention to the millions of artifacts (including objects, archival materials, and books) in the care of Pennsylvania’s museums, libraries, and archives. An independent panel selected 10 entries that represent the variety of holdings and that are in critical need of conservation. Among them are a coat and cap made for Harmony Society leader George Rapp and preserved at Old Economy Village and a coal sculpture of Abraham Lincoln by artist C. Edgar Patience in the collection at the Anthracite Heritage Museum.

From left: Brenda Reigle (PHMC), Ingrid Bogel (Exec. Dir., CCAHA),
Chester Kulesa and John Fielding (Anthracite Heritage)
(photo courtesy Brenda Reigle)

PA’s Top 10 list has already garnered publicity in traditional (for example, here and here) and social media—help us keep up the buzz. Please go to the project website here (or click on the links for the objects listed above). You’ll have a choice to vote for an object, donate to help preserve an object, or share the object on Facebook and/or Twitter. Or you can do all of those things. It’s just that easy. And you’re not limited to just one vote/donation/share, so make it a habit. The PA Top 10 are awarded points for all of these activities—the end result will be support for their conservation and stabilization.

Voting closes on November 1, so please don't wait to get started.

Photos of recent events on the Trails of History:
Artisans Faire, 9/21 at Ephrata Cloister
Cast Iron Cooking Demo, 9/21 at Cornwall Iron Furnace
Erntefest Harvest Festival, 9/21-22 at Old Economy Village
Market and Muster Day, 9/22 at Washington Crossing Historic Park

This weekend’s events:
Saturday, 9/28:
Brandywine Battlefield – Revolutionary War Encampment event, includes craft demonstrations, reenactors, and house tours (here for info). Admission charged. 10 am-3 pm.
Drake Well Museum - Drake Well by Moonlight (here for details). Admission charged (family rate available). 6:30-9:30 pm. (Oil Valley Blacksmiths will be on site for their monthly meeting and demo, 9 am-2 pm that day, included in regular admission.)

Sunday, 9/29:
Sunday afternoon interpretive programming at Hope Lodge Historic Site, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, and Pennsbury Manor.