History Isn't Dead People or History Isn't Dead, People

Looking for something to do this weekend or next week? Visit the June program page for ideas! If you are planning ahead, the July page is now available as well.

The Railroad Museum of PA is among 20 nominees for USA Today's 10 Best Transportation Museums in the country. There is stiff competition, so please vote for RMP!

Commas always make a difference, but in this case I think either reading of this week's title reflects the content.

From the Trailheads Culinary Department...

The annual Brews and Bites event at Pennsbury Manor features craft beers from a wide variety of local breweries and samples from the site's own brewing program, which recreates 17th-century beer varieties. This year, the event also featured cider from Blackledge Winery that was created using a recipe belonging to William Penn's first wife, Gulielma Springett Penn (read more about it in an article on LevittownNow.com). The site partnered with Blackledge and cider maker Mark Turdo to produce "Penn's 74" (the recipe dates from 1674), which Turdo describes in the article as different from other ciders in its use of cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace. Sounds wonderful. If you missed Brews and Bites, you can catch Pennsbury's brewers this Sunday afternoon (6/26) making a batch of Coriander Pepper Beer (included in regular admission, 1-4 pm).

Cider brewed from Guli Penn's recipe (via Pennsbury's Facebook page)

Earlier this week, the State Museum hosted a lunchtime presentation by Valerie Frey, talking about preserving and interpreting family recipes and the history they convey. Frey also signed copies of her book, Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Tradition. You can find more info and images on the State Museum's Twitter feed and there's a very informative interview with Frey (with photos AND recipes) in the Columbia (MO) Tribune online.

From the Music Department...

Ephrata Cloister shared photos on Facebook of a recent visit to the site by scholar Jeff Bach, who has conducted and presented (recently in collaboration with site staff) vast amounts of research about the community at Ephrata, and Chris Herbert, a doctoral candidate at The Juilliard School in NYC. Bach and Herbert were on site to take a look at music manuscripts that Herbert is interested in researching. According the FB post, Herbert is already familiar with many of the rules of composition that Ephrata founder Conrad Beissel would have followed (or not), and will be able to further analyze Beissel's work.

If you haven't seen it already, the summer 2016 issue of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine features an interview with John Oates (yes, as in Hall and Oates), who grew up in North Wales, PA. The article by Chris Epting, "Good Road Followed...from Metro Philly to Rock Hall," includes a wonderful selection of photos (most provided by Oates). Once you get past the part about your late teens and early 20s being considered "historical" (maybe it's just me), it's lots of fun. And he still has a great head of hair. (If you're not a member of the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, you can join or you can buy the magazine through ShopPAHeritage.com.

From the "Kids--They are our future" Department...(not at all sure of the punctuation there)

The US Brig Niagara (homeport Erie Maritime Museum) posted photos from their current program for high school trainees, "Exploring the Great Lakes I." The students are from all over the country and are learning sailing skills and how to work as a team. Ahem.

Gulp! (from US Brig Niagara Facebook page)

An article in the Washington Post yesterday (6/23) followed up on the National History Day contest that took place last week at the Univ. of Maryland. As a former state history day coordinator (back in the last century) and as a judge at the state level (for longer than the students onboard Niagara have been alive but not as long as Hall and Oates have been together), I can say that I have seen historical work of exceptional depth and quality from students as young as 6th grade. If you'd like to help nurture a love of historical research and presentation but aren't already involved with National History Day, there are contests at many levels, from school-based up to national, and many ways to help (mostly by judging). Check out National History Day in PA on Facebook for contact information.

And from the "For What It's Worth" Department...(aka stuff I found interesting and wanted to share)

Shelley Bernstein, who headed up digital initiatives at the Brooklyn Museum for a number of years and has recently moved into the same role at The Barnes Foundation in Philly, recently wrote about her new job and the feeling of trying to "change the tires on a moving truck." Although she is talking primarily about digital initiatives in museums, I think her post (read it on Medium.com) may resonate with anyone looking at the changing role of museums (or other institution) and our need to maintain our mission while responding to new and varying audiences.

I just saw a post from Colonial Williamsburg offering visitors some tips on talking to costumed interpreters (especially those who are in first person). Now, I've worked in the museum field for more than 30 years (including a summer in costume--but not in character--at CW) but I still sometimes feel uncomfortable talking to first-person interpreters. Share if you find these helpful.

Bonus points for anyone who kept track of how many times I've referred to my age in this post. Yikes!!


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