Looking Ahead to May on the Trails of History

I know I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself, so if you’re looking for Trails of History activities this weekend, you’ll find them in the April listings. Most of our sites will be open on Memorial Day, but not all of them. Please check the list to avoid disappointment.

But first…

In honor of its 20th anniversary, the Luzerne Foundation is presenting $1,000 gifts to 20 community organizations. On April 22, Eckley Miners' Village received a surprise visit and a check. Thank you, Luzerne Foundation!

Bushy Run Battlefield
May 3: Spring Nature Walk—this annual event takes participants on an exploration of the woods and fields around the site; free for members of Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society, $5 fee for non-members. 10 am.
May 10: Annual Spring Tea—learn about the 18th-century history of tea in the colonies and play children’s games at this family-friendly event. Cost is $18/adult (age 13+), $12/child (age 6-12); includes tea, hot chocolate, sandwiches, and pastries. Reservations are required by May 7, call 724/972-7396.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
May 4: Interpretive Sunday—the public is invited to visit the homestead and park to learn about life in Berks County during the 18th century. Admission is free. Noon-4 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
May 13: Friends Lecture Series—“Charcoal Making” will be speaker Rick Brouse’s topic for the evening. During his presentation, Brouse will describe not only how charcoal was made but will also briefly talk about the year-long process, from cutting down the trees to feeding the charcoal into the furnace. Friends Lectures are held in Freeman Auditorium at Cornwall Manor, across the road from the furnace site. Admission is free (donations are welcome). 7 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
May 4: Children’s Day and Sheep & Wool Program—children and their families are invited to spend the afternoon learning about the young Daniel Boone and his family during the time they lived in the Oley Valley. Hands-on activities are on the schedule as well as a chance to see a local shearer get the Homestead’s flock of four sheep ready for summer. Admission is $8 for age 13 and older, free for children 12 and under; light refreshments will be available. Noon-4 pm.
May 24: Daniel Boone Dash!—this event features a 5K run and a 1-mile fun walk that wend their way through the grounds of the museum. If you want to be sure you get a race t-shirt, please register by May 10.

Drake Well Museum
May 3: Engine Start-up Day—when the steam engines that power the Drake Well replica and the oil field equipment start up again, it must be (almost) summer! Included in regular admission.
May 17: MEET-U in 5 Trail Run—enjoy a 5-mile run through the grounds of Drake Well Museum and Oil Creek State Park and help the museum’s MEET-U educational outreach program. Registration fee is $30 but goes up to $35 after May 1. Call 814/827-2797 for details and to register.
May 31: Blacksmithing Demos—monthly blacksmithing demonstrations on the grounds of Drake Well Museum by Oil Valley Blacksmiths the last Saturday of the month, through October. Included in regular admission9 am-2 pm.
May 31: Wildcat Day at Pithole—help kick off visitation season at historic Pithole, the remains of a 19th-century oil boomtown. Admission charged. 10 am-4 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
May 11: Mothers Day Tea—enjoy afternoon tea and conversation with mothers from Ephrata’s past. Cost is $10 for a mother/daughter pair, $3 for each additional child. 1-3 pm.
May 14: Storytime—Preschoolers with an accompanying adult can enjoy a story and an activity as they learn about life at Ephrata. Cost is $6 for one adult and child (age 3-5), $3 for each additional child (includes regular admission to the site); free to Family Level Members of Ephrata Cloister Associates. 10-11 am.
May 16: Community Days—students learn about life in 18th-century Ephrata through 15-minute presentations at a range of educational stations around the site (and move at their own pace from station to station). Reservations are strongly encouraged (call 717/733-6600); admission is $6 for students, with one adult admitted free with every 10 students (additional adults with a group pay $9). 9:30 am-1 pm.
May 17: Ephrata Cloister Chorus Spring Concert—in the historic meetinghouse. The program includes 18th-century music from Ephrata Cloister and other early communities. Admission tickets for concert—age 18-64, $10; age 65 and up, $9; age 6-17, $7; age 3-5, $5—include the rest of the site (members receive a discount). 4 pm. (The Chorus will also present a concert on May 18, 3 pm, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Lititz.)
May 23: Ephrata Cloister Associates Spring Banquet—“Folk Customs and Traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch” is the focus. Cost is $20 per person; tickets are available until May 9 in The Museum Store (717/733-6600).
May 24: Clay Tiles—learn about Pennsylvania German redware pottery traditions and make your own clay tile. Part of the “Making History” workshop series. Cost is $15, $10 for ECA members. Call 717/733-6600 to register.
May 31: Ephrata Cloister Chorus Fundraiser—featuring Kauffman’s Chicken BBQ. Tickets are available at the Museum Store (call 717/733-6600). $8 includes chicken, beverage, side dish, and baked potato; dine under the tent or take it home. 10 am until sold out.

Graeme Park
May 3-4: World War II Weekend—held in cooperation with The Horsham Preservation & Historical Association, this program features battle reenactments, displays of military equipment, and swing music. Friends of Graeme Park invites World War II veterans to attend free-of-charge and share their stories in the VIP tent. Admission charged. Saturday, 10 am-4 pm; Sunday, Noon-4 pm.

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
May 9-10: 27th Annual Herb & Garden Faire—so many plants, plus lectures by gardening experts, garden furniture, herbal products and baked goods, and lots of great food by local groups and caterers. Admission is $10 (children 5 and under free). 9 am-5 pm.

Old Economy Village
May 2-4: Beaver County History Celebration—OEV will present an exhibit on Harmonist music as part of this year’s countywide history program, organized by the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation.
May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31: 19th-century Trade and Craft Demonstrations—planned activities are: 5/3 – Woodworking and Children’s Games; 5/10 – Textiles; 5/17 – Blacksmithing; 5/24 – Foodways; 5/31 – TBD.
May 17: Garden Mart and Spring Garden Workshop—The Garden Mart offers free admission to OEV’s gardens, which will be filled with vendors and local garden-related organizations. The Spring Garden Workshop includes a full program of speakers, a tour of the gardens, door prizes, and lunch (must register for the full program by May 12). Details for both events, including registration options for the workshop. 9 am-2 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
May 4: Historic Trades and Sheep Shearing—the blacksmith and joyner will be on hand to demonstrate their skills, plus you can watch as the sheep are sheared by hand to get them ready for summer (and help wash, card, and spin the wool if you’re so inclined). Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
May 11: Living History Theater—“Women’s Monthly Meeting” explores women’s roles in the community and the issues they discussed. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
May 18: Open Hearth Cooking—the cooks will talk about the uses of milk and prepare cheese using 17th-century recipes. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
May 25: Garden Highlights & Beer Brewing Demonstration—find out what’s growing in the kitchen garden and learn how barley and hops become beer. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
May 26: Picnic on the Lawn—Pennsbury is open on Memorial Day and invites visitors to bring their picnic baskets and blankets.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
May 3: Battery B Drill Exercise—Civil War-era reenactors from the 3rd Pennsylvania Volunteers will demonstrate loading and firing artillery pieces as they conduct their annual safety training and recruitment event. 10 am-4 pm.
May 7: Friends’ Richard Koontz Memorial Lecture Series—“The 1813 Lake Erie Campaign,” with speaker and author Walter Rybka. Capt. Rybka is senior captain of the U.S. Brig Niagara and director of the Erie Maritime Museum. 7:30 pm.
May 24-25: World War II Revisited—American and German WWII reenactors will be bivouacked on the museum grounds portraying field life in the European Theater of Operations, 1944-45. On May 24 at 3 pm, the “Andrews Sister Tribute Show” from First in Flight Entertainment will entertain the troops and homefront crowd in the Service Canteen (please bring your own seating). 10 am-4 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
May 10-11: National Train Days—activities for all ages will be offered to celebrate the role of railroads in American life. Included in museum admission. Saturday, 9 am-5 pm; Sunday, Noon-5 pm.

Somerset Historical Center
May 16: The Sound of Silents—enjoy a presentation about silent movies featuring the work of film pioneer Edwin Stanton Porter (born in Fayette County, one-time resident of and buried in Somerset). As part of this fundraising event, there will be a pre-show reception and exhibit of movie memorabilia. Cost is $50 ($25 if you wish to attend the cinema presentation only). Held at Mountain Playhouse. Call 814/445-6077 for tickets. 7-9 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
May 16: 3rd in the Burg—opening of new exhibit, “A Fondness for Birds: Pennsylvania’s Alexander Wilson,” featuring work that pre-dated John James Audubon by a decade. Wilson’s multi-volume American Ornithology, first published in the early 1800s, was an influential work. (Interesting (perhaps only to me) side note: the Harmony Society, which created one of the country's first natural history museums at what is now Old Economy Village, had a copy of American Ornithology in their library.)
May 18: Harrisburg Jewish Film Festival—the museum will be the venue for Goodbye, Columbus (a screening and discussion led by Prof. Helen Khanzhina, starting at 2:30 pm) and Jews in Toons, a talk by Mike Reiss, writer-producer on The Simpsons (reception at 6:30, program at 7:30). The festival runs May 15-22 at other venues in Harrisburg.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
May 3: Washington Crossing Brewfest—this event takes place in the upper park on the banks of the Delaware River, near the Thompson-Neely House. Admission is $40 ($10 for designated drivers). Details and online ticket sales. 12:30-4:30 pm.
May 9: Sheep Shearing—the sheep will be relieved of their winter coats, and there will be demos of how the fleece is turned into clothing (spoiler alert – it takes a lot of work). Thompson-Neely House. Admission is $8 per person, ages 5 and older. 10 am-2 pm.
May 26: Memorial Day Observance—fallen soldiers from the Winter 1776 campaign will be remembered in a ceremony at the Revolutionary War Soldiers’ Gravesite behind the Thompson-Neely house. Free of charge. 11 am-1 pm.


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