Are You Ready?

The September program page has info on events through the end of the month. The October page will be up sometime next week for those of you who want to plan ahead.

Ready or not, the autumnal equinox happens today, Sept. 22, marking the beginning of fall in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere. While the warm temps we've had for the past week or so in PA make it still feel like summer, we are seeing signs of fall foliage. Reports are that the colors will be vibrant this year, which makes me happy. Fall is, I think, my favorite season and a mere glimpse of orange, red, and yellow leaves on a hillside can elevate my mood. For my fellow leaf nerds enthusiasts, in addition to following the PA Lumber Museum to see their posts (like the one above) you can check out the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources. They monitor the state of foliage color in the, uh, state and post reports on their website (report for Sept. 21-27).

Speaking of readiness, did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? I did not. This month has certainly tested the preparedness of many people and communities. Sites and museums on the Trails of History have been working to update and maintain their disaster preparedness plans as a matter of good practice, as have our counterparts around the country. To help families with their own preparedness, ReadyPA offers suggestions and guidance on what to include in your personal plans.

In other news...
Google Alerts pointed me to a post on the Misericordia University (MU) website earlier this week. The article noted that senior history major Amber Kelley will present a paper at the upcoming Pennsylvania Historical Association annual meeting in Scranton. Kelley's paper is entitled "American Lithuanian Immigrants' Response to Soviet Union's Attack on Their Cultural Identity." As reported on Trailheads in July Amber interned this summer at the Anthracite Heritage Museum, working with curator John Fielding on a variety of projects, which she chronicled on MU's local history blog. MU's website explains that "AHM has a practice of suggesting its interns consider larger research projects related to their collections. Under [MU history professor Dr. Jennifer] Black's direction, Kelley expanded her summer work and developed the cultural identity research project." Congrats to Amber Kelley, Dr. Black, and the staff at AHM.

Atlas Obscura is a wonderful resource for learning about places all over the globe; they frequently feature museums and historic sites that you may not have heard of or visited. A recent post featured the Germantown Colony and Museum in Minden, Louisiana. Turns out the group that settled there in 1835 was originally part of the Harmony Society, whose last home is preserved as Old Economy Village, part of the Trails of History. About a third of the Harmony Society members left Economy in 1832, following the Count de Leon (who claimed to be the Messiah and to have discovered the secret of turning base metals into gold). They initially settled nearby (founding the town now known as Monaca). Some of that group accompanied Leon when he moved on to Louisiana (read the rest).

Detail of porch column repair at Landis Valley
Porch column stabilization in process (via Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum Facebook page)
PHMC's Preservation Construction Field Services staff Rob Coates and Dylan Shanta have been making repairs to the porch of the Landis Valley Hotel. The work involves stabilizing the porch columns (see detail above) and replacing some of the boards. Preservation of historic structures, keeping them available for the public, and sharing the stories of the people who built and used them is an ongoing process that requires resources, dedicated staff, passionate volunteers, and creativity.

Coming up this weekend...
Cornwall Iron Furnace
Sept. 23: Cast Iron Cooking Demonstration—learn about cast iron cooking pots and see them in use. The cooking aromas and demo are free. Regular admission fees apply for tours of the Furnace (see where cast iron comes from). Demonstration 11 am-3 pm; museum is open 9 am-5 pm.

Fort Pitt Museum
Sept. 23: Pittsburgh History Paddle—start with a brief tour of the museum's indoor exhibits, then set off on a kayak tour of landmarks related to Fort Pitt and the Point. Previous paddling experience is required, and you must register through Venture Outdoors. 9 am-1 pm.

Hope Lodge
Sept. 24: Whitemarsh Township History Tour—Hope Lodge will be one of the stops on this bus tour of local history. Tours begin and end at St. Thomas Church, Flourtown (details and info on how to register).

Old Economy Village
Sept. 23: Special programming—this week, Natural History. Included in regular admission, so please start at the Visitor Center. 11 am-4 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
Sept. 22: Pairings at Pennsbury—ten courses of delicious food from local restaurants and chefs will be paired with local wines, beers, ciders, and spirits for a lovely evening on the grounds. Tickets are $50 per person; check the event page on the website for more info. 6-9 pm.
Sept. 24: Special programming—this week, Beer Brewing Sunday will find the brewers working on a traditional fall beer PLUS you can learn about the past, present, and future of cider. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Sept. 23-24: Then & Now Military Timeline Program—explore a range of military uniforms and equipment from the 18th century to the present. Battle dress uniform show and weapons demos at 1 pm each day. 10 am-4 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Sept. 23: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day—visit the Museum Day website to download your ticket, then present it at the Railroad Museum (or other participating museum) for two free admissions. Museum open 9 am-5 pm.


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