Heeeere’s June!

As we noted last week, sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History are once again participating in the Blue Star Museums initiative. Through this program, military families are welcomed free of charge at some 1,800 museums nationwide between Memorial Day and Labor Day. PHMC is proud to support this effort and, in fact, offers free regular admission to active duty military personnel and their immediate families all year round. It’s one way we can say “thank you.”

Anthracite Heritage Museum and Scranton Iron Furnaces
June 1: Anthracite Heritage Conference—the third annual conference includes a wide array of topics, with speakers from near and far (go here for a full list). Conference fee is $20 in advance (you can call and pay by credit card today) or $25 at the door and includes lunch, refreshments, and admission to the Anthracite Heritage Museum (there will be time at the end of the day to check out the exhibits). 8:30 am-5 pm.
June 7-9: Fire at the Furnace and Arts on Fire—Friday, June 7, is the Fire at the Furnace fundraiser at Scranton Iron Furnaces with a parade, nighttime iron pour, entertainment, and more (here for details, you can get tickets in advance for $15 and at the door for $20). The Arts on Fire Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, with industrial artists working in glass, metal, recycled materials, and clay (plus children’s activities, food, and music). Admission to the Arts on Fire festival is free.
June 25-26: Archives without Tears—Anthracite Heritage Museum will host this popular workshop organized by the Pennsylvania State Archives. Register for either or both days (details here).

Brandywine Battlefield
June 24-28: Summer History Camp for Grades 3-5—summer camp is held weekly through early August for different age groups. Check the website for details and to register.

Bushy Run Battlefield
June 15: Lecture— Jeff Day, Curator of the Lincoln Park Historical Museum in Michigan will be the featured speaker. He will give a presentation on the commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of Chief Pontiac’s War Council, held on the River Ecorse, April 27, 1763. Free to members of the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society; there is a $5 fee for non-members. 1 pm.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
June 2: Colonial Craft and Demonstration Day—craft demonstrators will share the historical context, materials, and equipment of a variety of mid- to late-18th-century trades. 11 am-4 pm.
June 9-Sept. 1: New summer hours—Conrad Weiser Homestead will be open every Sunday, noon-4 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
June 12: Annual Dinner and Lecture—“The Cornwall Railroad versus the Cornwall and Lebanon Railroad” is the topic for this year’s featured speaker Troy Grubb, museum educator at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Dinner will be at Tony’s Mining Company; cost is $35 per person. Call 717/272-9711 for reservations by June 5.

Daniel Boone Homestead
June 15: Evening on the Green—this evening program features bluegrass music, tour guides in period dress, colonial era games and toys, old-fashioned ice cream making, and mead- and wine-tasting (go here for details). Admission is $6 for ages 13 and up, $4 for ages 4-12 (Friends of Daniel Boone Homestead get in free). 5-9 pm.

Drake Well Museum
June 1-August 4: The Visitor Center at historic boomtown Pithole will be open every Saturday and Sunday, free of charge (donations will be gratefully accepted). An orientation film and exhibits are available (there’s a fabulous scale model http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Scale_model_of_Pithole.jpg that shows what was there during Pithole’s heyday). 10 am-4 pm.
June 6: MEET-U Golf Scramble—benefits the museum’s energy education outreach program. Go here for more info.
June 22: Special blacksmith demos—Oil Valley Blacksmiths welcomes guest demonstrators John Steel and Chris Holt from Pittsburgh. Included in regular admission. 9 am-2 pm.
June 29: Heritage Lecture Series—historian Margo Mong will talk about the people, places, and events of Pennsylvania’s early oil boom. Included in regular admission; check website for time. UPDATE: This event has been cancelled, but visit the website for info on other events coming up this summer.
June 29: Oil Valley Blacksmith demonstrations—this is regular monthly program offered the last Saturday of each month through October. Included in regular admission. 9 am-2 pm.

Eckley Miners’ Village
June 11: Eckley Night at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders—Eckley Miners’ Village will be Community Organization of the Night as the RailRiders (the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate) play the Buffalo Bisons at PNC Field in Moosic. Ample opportunities to promote the site and its activities through interviews, ceremonial first pitch, an information table, and logo on the big video board. 7:05 pm.
June 15-16: Patch Town Days—this long-running and popular program provides a glimpse at life in a Pennsylvania coal patch town circa 1870. Music, food, dancers, and more, plus the debut of an exhibit of paintings and sculpture by Frank “WYSO” Wysochansky. Admission is $10 for ages 13-64, $9 for age 65+ and $6 for ages 3-12. 10 am-5 pm both days.

Ephrata Cloister
June 16: Father’s Day—dads get in free today. Noon-5 pm.

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
June 8: The Mariner’s Ball—this black tie optional event raises funds to support the Flagship Niagara and its sailing program and this year also helps to celebrate the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie. Last year, tickets sold out, so call now if you want to go. More info is here.
June 30: Erie-Extension Canal exhibit closes—we included some info on the exhibit in a post here.

Fort Pitt Museum
June 8: Summer Saturday at the Fort—this month’s installment is “Artillery at Fort Pitt.” 10 am-5 pm.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
June 10: “The Golden Age of an American Art Form: the Lancaster Long Rifle” exhibit closes. (If you’ve seen the exhibit, please take a few moments to take our survey here.)
June 18-21: Summer Institute—celebrating its 57th anniversary, Institute offers a wide range of hands-on classes, lectures, tours, and evening events for adults (and summer camp activities for kids so the whole family can attend). Go here for more information and a brochure. Deadline to register is June 4.
June 25: Hands-on History Days—chores, games, crafts, wagon rides, a one-room schoolhouse lesson, and more for kids of all ages ($10 per person, children 5 and younger get in free). More info here.

Old Economy Village
June 8-9: The Panic of Pittsburgh: A Civil War Event—learn how the Civil War affected the Pittsburgh area and its residents through living history presentations. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for ages 3-11. Saturday, 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday, noon-5 pm.
June 22: River City Brass Band Concert—bring your lawn chairs and blankets for an outdoor concert on the historic cobblestone street in the Village. Tickets are $15 per person; proceeds benefit OEV (food and beverages will be available for purchase). Tickets available at OEV and elsewhere in the area; go here for info. 6 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
June 2: Historic Trades—the blacksmith and the joyner will demonstrate their skills. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
June 9: Living History Theater—“The Funeral of Phineas Pemberton” honors a man William Penn described as “the ablest as well as one of the best men in the Province” when he died in 1702. Visit with Pemberton’s family and friends, hear the reading of the will, and place a sprig of rosemary on the grave. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
June 16: Open Hearth Cooking—the cooks will be exploring Dutch foodways traditions today. There will also be a demonstration of 17th-century beer brewing techniques in the Brew House. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
June 22: Brews & Bites at Pennsbury Manor—a first-time event combines food inspired by the cookbook of William Penn’s first wife, Gulielma, beer from Philadelphia area craft brewers, musical entertainment, and demonstrations of historic beer brewing. Tickets are $75 and include beer samples, food, and entertainment ($25 for designated drivers). Go here for tickets. 4-8 pm.
June 23: Garden Highlights—experience the glories of the summer garden, with lush fragrances and colors. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
June 30: Animals at Pennsbury—meet the animals that call Pennsbury home and learn how they and their historic counterparts helped make the place run. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Saturdays in June (except June 22): “Gone West: A History Tour of the 28th Infantry Division Shrine”—guided tour explores the evolution of the grounds on which the museum is built. Donations accepted. 2:30 pm.
June 5: “History of the Service Flag of the U.S. and the Meaning of the Blue and Gold Star Mothers”—speaker is Jessica Charles. The lecture is part of the Friends’ Richard Koontz Memorial Lecture Series. 7:30 pm.
June 14: Flag Day Celebration—State College Elks Lodge and local veterans organizations sponsor this annual Flag Day service and U.S. Flag Retirement Ceremony. Attendees are invited to bring U.S. flags that are no longer serviceable; the flags will be disposed of properly. 6 pm.
June 22: Buzzcut Saturday—just what it sounds like. Start the summer with a traditional boot camp haircut. Donations accepted. 10 am-3 pm.
June 30: Exploring the Armor—a special guided tour of the tracked vehicles displayed on the museum grounds, including a chance to look inside the crew compartments. Cost is $15, $5 for Friends of the PA Military Museum. Reservations required; limited to 20 participants. Contact jhorvath@pa.gov by June 23.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
June 7-9: Conrail Days—this program highlights the people, equipment, and history of Conrail, and is offered in partnership with the Conrail Historical Society. Go here for more details about the event. Included in regular admission. Friday-Saturday, 9 am-5 pm; Sunday, noon-5 pm.

Somerset Historical Center
June 22: Exhibit opening—“’Then and Now’: Following in Walt’s Footsteps” explores the work of renowned Somerset County photographer Walt Bowen (1916-2003) through the eyes of contemporary local photographers. The exhibit is a collaboration between SHC and the Laurel Highlands Photography Club, whose members shot images of places that Bowen chronicled in his work. Included in regular admission.
June 25: The Monongahela Indians—archaeologist Bernard Means will present a program on Native American culture in southwestern Pennsylvania and discuss his work with numerous archaeological excavations in the region. Sponsored by the Archaeology Society of Somerset County. Free of charge.
June 26-28: Somer Camp: Discover Somerset County—this three-day camp (I love the name!) for kids ages 8-12 will explore the county’s history, trades, and crafts. Numerous hands-on projects will be included. Cost is $50 per child and includes all materials. Call 814/445-6077 to register.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
June 15: 3rd Annual Fatherhood and Family Celebration—offered in partnership with Nate Gadsden’s Writer’s Wordshop, this program features speakers, dance classes, films, workshops and children’s activities. Free admission. 9 am-4:30 pm.
June 21: 3rd in the Burg/Learn at Lunchtime—museum admission is free from 11 am to 1:30 pm, and there will be free tours at 12:15 and 1 pm. “Learn at Lunchtime” will continue every Friday through Aug. 30.
June 22: Exhibit opening reception—“Art of the State,” the annual juried exhibition of Pennsylvania artists (you'll find a sneak peek here on PHMC's Flickr site). The exhibit continues through Sept. 8 (included in regular admission). 7-10 pm.
June 26, 27 or 28: Fossil Day Camp—designed for ages 9-12, this camp includes the museum’s “Life Through Time” exhibit, a “behind-the-scenes” visit to Dino Lab, hands-on activities, and a chance to learn how paleontologists carry out their scientific work. Cost is $35 per child or $30 per child for State Museum Affiliate Members. Space is limited and reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis for the three separate one-day workshops; call 717/772-6997. 9 am-12:30 pm.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
June 18: Park Master Plan Public Meeting-PHMC will host a public meeting to discuss the master plan for the Park; the goal of the plan is "to blend the preservation and interpretation of the park’s historic, cultural, and natural resources with recreational and educational opportunities." The meeting will take place at the Washington Crossing Historic Park Visitor Center (you can find directions on the website). The official progress report will be presented at 7 pm. Attendees can review informational panels starting at 5 pm or stay until 8:30 pm to review after the presentation; staff and planning consultants will also be available for discussion before and after the formal presentation.

Memorial Day Weekend

Information on which Trails of History sites are open on Memorial Day can be found here and the May program preview, where you’ll find events scheduled for this weekend, is here. Photos from the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Celebration of Service, held on the grounds at the Pennsylvania Military Museum on May 19, are here.

Prow of the USS Michigan/Wolverine and model of USS Michigan
photo by Linda Bolla

For this year’s Charter Day (back in March), the Erie Maritime Museum mounted a small exhibit on Civil War Medal of Honor recipients who also served on U.S.S. Michigan (which was based in Erie and is the focus of an exhibit at the museum--it was later renamed the USS Wolverine). With the approach of Memorial Day, it seems like an appropriate time to take a quick look (thanks to information and photos supplied by Linda Bolla). You can go here to see additional text from the exhibit.

Patrick Murphy (1823-1896), William Young (1835?-1878), Cornelius Cronin (1838-1912), and George Washington McWilliams (1842-1900) all served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. Murphy and Cronin were recognized for their actions during a battle in Mobile Bay in August 1864; Murphy served on board the U.S.S. Metacomet and Cronin was aboard the U.S.S. Richmond. Young was aboard the U.S.S. Cayuga as it engaged Confederate gunboats during the April 1862 capture of Forts Jackson and St. Philip and the city of New Orleans. McWilliams served on the U.S.S. Pontoosuc during the capture of Fort Fisher and Wilmington, North Carolina, December 1864-February 1865.

Irish-born Murphy enlisted in 1842 and was a member of the first crew aboard U.S.S. Michigan and then served aboard the ship again after the Civil War until his retirement in 1885. Young’s naval career started in 1852 on the U.S.S. Constitution and included a number of other ships. He finished his service as Michigan’s bugler, retiring in 1876. Cronin served in the U.S. Navy for 50 years, from 1858 to 1908; he spent the decade after the Civil War (1866-75) on board Michigan. McWilliams was born in Waterford, not far from Erie, and was living there after the Civil War, according to the 1870 census; his service on the U.S.S. Michigan has not been confirmed, but it is likely that was his first naval assignment.

Erie Maritime Museum worked with Erie Diocesan Cemeteries to research and apply for a Medal of Honor marker for Patrick Murphy’s gravesite. A dedication ceremony for the marker was held on November 8, 2009, and guest blogger Linda Bolla wrote about it (here) for Trailheads.

Best wishes for a safe and meaningful Memorial Day.

Blue Star Museums

Today is the official 2013 launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,800 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2013. Sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History® are among the participating museums and offer free admission to military families throughout the year. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. The complete list of participating museums is available at www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

It's the Weekend!

Another weekend is upon us. I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking for ways to make your weekend great too. The Trails of History are here for you. At this time of year, most sites are open, at least on the weekends, but you should always check to be sure. There are some special activities going on as well. (In case you missed it, we have a recap of our Volunteer of the Year awards here.)

Drake Well Museum
A 5K Trail Run is set for tomorrow (May 18) with proceeds going to support MEET-U, the museum’s mobile exhibit on energy. Registration opens at 7:30 am, with the run to start at 9 am. Go here for more info or call 814/827-2797 and ask for information on “MEET-U in 5.”

Ephrata Cloister
Sunday afternoon (May 19) the Ephrata Cloister Chorus will present their Spring Concert in the historic Meetinghouse (Saal). At 3 pm, Dr. Lucy Carroll will share some of her research on the history of music in this religious community, and the concert of early American music will begin at 4 pm. There will also be a small exhibit on the diet prescribed for singers by Ephrata’s leader Conrad Beissel. Admission on Sunday (which includes the regular historical offerings in addition to the concert) is: age 18-64, $10; age 65+, $9; age 6-17, $7; age 3-5, $6 (under 3 free). Members of the Ephrata Cloister Associates or the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation will receive a $2 discount.

Old Economy Village
Tomorrow (May 18) is Garden Mart from 10 am to 3 pm. Enjoy free admission to the historic gardens, visit plant and other gardening-related vendors from the area, and purchase plants from the OEV greenhouses.

Pennsbury Manor
At Pennsbury’s Sunday afternoon (May 19) programming, you can learn about dairying (specifically cheese making and cheese-related recipes) and beer brewing in the 17th century. Included in regular admission, 1-4 pm. (You’ll find a photo here of Pennsbury staff brewing 17th-century beer at last weekend’s Beerfest at Washington Crossing Historic Park (thanks to the Beerfest’s Facebook page for posting.)

Pennsylvania Military Museum
This Sunday (May 19) is the annual “Celebration of Service: Honoring Pennsylvania Veterans” sponsored by the Pennsylvania National Guard and presented on the grounds at the museum. You’ll find photos from last year’s event here. The ceremony starts at 12:30 pm (if you visit the museum you can also see a special exhibit on soldiers and their moms). Then, the middle of next week, the museum will be participating in CentreGives, a 36-hour online giving marathon. Donations will be partially matched (or “stretched”) by the Centre Foundation, and participating organizations will also be eligible for prizes. Go here anytime from May 22 at 6 am to May 23 at 6 pm to make a donation. Thanks!!

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Pennsy Days, a salute to the Pennsylvania Railroad, started yesterday, but it’s not nearly over. Through Sunday, you’ll find speakers, model railroads, special tours, and other demos (included in regular admission). Go here for details. Be sure to check out the museum’s 2013 exhibit, “From Your Lens: Images of Contemporary Railroading,” featuring entries from a recent photography contest.

Somerset Historical Center
There’s a workshop on Heirloom Gardening tomorrow (May 18). Call 814/445-6077 to see if there’s still space; $20 fee includes materials ($15 for members).

Washington Crossing Historic Park
A Spring Cooking Demonstration on Sunday (May 19) explores seasonal cooking with 18th-century recipes, included in the regular site admission (site hours are 10 am to 4 pm).

Another Roundup

In an earlier post, we noted that the groundbreaking for the new visitor center at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum was slated for April 22. You can see photos on the museum’s Facebook page here. We’ll try to keep you updated as the building project takes shape.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s Roundhouse project passed a milestone recently when approval of the design was received from the Strasburg Township Planning Commission. The new building will house historic locomotives from the Pennsylvania Railroad, providing for better preservation. You can find details on the museum’s website here. The museum also recently debuted a new photography exhibit, based on a contest open to the public. “From Your Lens: Images of Contemporary Railroading” will continue through December. And this just in, this weekend (May 11-12), in honor of National Train Day, you can purchase a ticket good for admission to the Railroad Museum of PA, the Choo Choo Barn, and the National Toy Train Museum, plus a coach train ride on the Strasburg Rail Road. Go here for details.

As part of “Perry 200,” the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, GoErie.com has a cool interactive where you can learn all kinds of things about the US Brig Niagara and the battle. You’ll find virtual tours of the ship, including below decks, with commentary by Capt. Wesley Heerssen plus lots of photos and Niagara’s sailing schedule and links to the ship and Erie Maritime Museum website. Go here to check it out.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum’s Herb and Garden Faire runs today and tomorrow (go here for an old post about it or here for the event details). The authors of Living Crafts Historic Tools will be on hand to sign copies of this new book that looks at the history of hand crafts and how they became “collectible,” featuring artifacts in the museum’s collection. Also note that you have only about a month left to see “The Golden Age of an American Art Form: The Lancaster Long Rifle,” the museum’s award-winning exhibit closing June 10.

The National History Day in Pennsylvania contest was held last week and some of us from PHMC participated as judges over the two-day event. (The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a resolution designating May 4 National History Day in Pennsylvania.) It’s always heartening, to me, to see the interest and enthusiasm of so many students who have really dug into a topic and made it their own. They are our future visitors, supporters, and colleagues. The list of winning entries is here; first and second place awardees will advance to the national contest in June. Good luck to them and congratulations to all the students (and teachers and parents and resource people) who participated.

Saving the best of the best for last, we recently honored PHMC’s Volunteers of the Year at a ceremony at the State Museum in Harrisburg. It’s a really nice event and one that many of us look forward to as a chance to get together and celebrate the work that goes on every day on the Trails of History. You can find a group photo and a list of honorees here.