On and Off the Trails

Please consult the December program page for details on upcoming events.

So, today's post includes some items from the Trails of History and a couple from off the trails that I thought might be of interest.

Lights on rigging of US Brig Niagara
Lights adorn the rigging of US Brig Niagara during last week's Christmas Tree Ship event (via Facebook)

Seasonal events continue on the Trails of History (see photo above and check the program page for details). Washington Crossing Historic Park has posted and shared photos from this year's first reenactment of George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776 (read a first-hand account from a first-time participant). The 174th Infantry Brigade from Ft. Dix (NJ) was there, learning first-hand about The 10 Crucial Days (following the Christmas crossing) and experiencing the crossing and march to Trenton. The Christmas Day reenactment starts on Dec. 25 at noon with a commemorative program, with the boats set to launch around 1 pm (boat crossing is dependent on favorable river conditions, but the program takes place even if the boats can't cross).

If you can't make it to the crossing reenactment but still want to be immersed in the American Revolution and the Early Republic (beyond listening to the cast album of Hamilton again), the National Archives has developed a webpage they call Founders Online. They've gathered 176,000 searchable and annotated documents (thanks to the Founding Fathers Papers project) related to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and family, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. But you'll find many other people in these documents (for example, there are 988 letters written by Abigail Adams and 1,348 received by her). Just what every history geek needs!

UPDATE 12/20/16: WCHP will also be livestreaming the event on Dec. 25 on YouTube, starting at noon.

Still shopping for that hard-to-buy-for history lover? Consider a gift membership, museum store gift card, or admission passes to a site on the PA Trails of History. Or a one-of-a-kind item from one of our museum stores. Or a donation in honor of someone who already has all the stuff they need. That always fits.

Eckley Main Street photo by B Morin
Eckley Main Street (photo by Bode Morin)
Thanks to my Google Alerts, I ran across a Dec. 9 editorial from the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader where they were awarding diamonds (good) and coal (not-so-good) to various local organizations. And I quote: "Diamonds to Eckley Miners’ Village and the people who work to keep the historic coal patch town-turned-museum engaging. The village hosts events throughout the year, most recently the annual 'Christmas in Eckley.' Admittedly, it can be an uphill struggle to present crowd-luring options in a town from a far past, but it’s also important. This may be an aging coal area where anthracite plays a shrinking role, but its importance in our history should never be forgotten." Amen to that (and thank you, Times Leader, for recognizing the folks at Eckley.)

On a related note, but off the Trails of History, I also ran into a Kickstarter project raising funds for conservation work on a coal-region mural painted in 1946 by Franz Kline (later known for his black-and-white abstract paintings). Kline was from Lehighton and painted the mural at the local American Legion post, which has now turned it over to the Allentown Art Museum. The video that goes with the Kickstarter campaign is interesting if for no other reason than it shows the museum's conservators removing it from the wall and preparing it for transport.

And one final item for this week. You may be familiar with Comedy Central's "Drunk History" program where comedians (mostly) get drunk and recount a historical event. A cast of regulars and guests then reenact the drunk's telling of the story, word-for-sloppy-word. It sometimes sheds light (however inebriated) on lesser-known aspects of history or facets of well-known stories. It can be very funny--the Harriet Tubman episode has become very popular--or not funny at all if watching people get drunk disturbs or offends you. Anyway, the Indiana Historical Society staff, wanting to try something similar but without the public drunkenness, created "Hot Pepper History." For each segment, the narrator(s) take a bite of a habanero or other fiery pepper and then try to tell a story from Indiana history. They've compiled a highlight segment, which gives you a good idea of the premise, and you can find the full episodes (generally 3-5 minutes long) on YouTube (The Fairbanks Tea Party is worth your time, I think). Who says history can't be fun?


Allentown Art Museum said...

Thanks for mentioning our Kickstarter campaign to help restore and promote the display of Franz Kline's mural LEHIGHTON. See the video here: http://kck.st/2huvexr

Amy Killpatrick Fox said...

You're welcome! Best of luck.

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