Learning and Research Opportunities Ahead for 2018

Last week's post has holiday schedules for New Year's, as well as events happening this weekend on the Trails of History. (The January 2018 program page is available for those of you who want to plan ahead.)Have a safe and sane New Year's everybody.

As we say goodbye to 2017, we also need to look ahead to two exciting opportunities for people interested in the study of Pennsylvania history and culture. Both have application deadlines in February, so this seems like a good time to focus your attention.

Keystone Internship Participants on field trip to Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Summer 2017
The PHMC Keystone Summer Internship Program provides pre-professional training for undergraduate and graduate students interested in careers in public history. Applicants have the opportunity to request their preferred internship location - in the various Harrisburg-based parts of the PHMC or at our administered historic sites and museums around Pennsylvania. Every effort is made to match student interests to available internship locations and mentors. For more information and application materials, please visit the Internships page on the PHMC website. The deadline for applications is February 9, 2018. Please note that the required submissions include a letter of recommendation, so don't wait until the last minute!


The Pennsylvania State Archives and the Pennsylvania Historical Association invite applications for the 2018-2019 Scholars in Residence Program, which provides support for up to four weeks of full-time research and study in manuscript and state record collections maintained by the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Residency programs are open to all who are conducting research on Pennsylvania history, including academic scholars, public sector professionals, independent scholars, graduate students, educators, writers, filmmakers, and others. Residencies may be scheduled for up to four weeks at any time during the period June 15-August 15, 2018; stipends are awarded at the rate of up to $800 per week.

Researchers in PA State Archives Search Room (photo PA State Archives)
Applicants are encouraged to conceive of research topics related to Pennsylvania history. They are further encouraged to identify relevant archival collections, assess their availability and accessibility, and discuss their research agenda with appropriate staff prior to submitting a proposal. Because the State Archives is interested in making history meaningful and accessible to diverse audiences, research that is likely to result in widespread dissemination through nonspecialized publications, films, exhibitions, or other means is particularly welcome. Research topics that may have an impact on public policy are also most welcomed.

The State Archives does not discriminate based on sex, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability. Individuals with disabilities who require assistance or accommodation to participate in this program should contact the Archives at (717) 705-5785 or the Pennsylvania TDD relay service at (800) 654-5984 to discuss their needs.

For a full description of the residency program, including contact information, evaluation criteria, application materials, and information about State Archives research collections, go to the Scholars in Residence page on the PHMC website.

Deadline for application is February 15, 2018. Notification of awards will be made in early April.

Holiday Schedules on the Trails of History

The information below is accurate, to the best of my knowledge, as of Dec. 21, 2017. It is always advisable to check ahead when you make plans, to be sure the site you want to visit will be open when you plan to be there. This is especially true in the winter when holidays and weather events can disrupt the regular schedules.

On behalf of everyone here at Trailheads HQ, I hope you have a chance in the coming week to spend time with family and friends, enjoy some quiet reflection, or maybe a little of both. If you are traveling, I wish you safe and easy roads, rails, and skies.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATED 12/28/17: Many sites will be closing early today, Dec. 22 29, but will be open regular hours tomorrow, Dec. 23 30 (unless otherwise noted below).

The replica oil derrick at Drake Well Museum and Park (via Facebook)

Anthracite Heritage Museum and Scranton Iron Furnaces
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (winter: open Wed-Sun)

  • Brandywine Battlefield Park
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (winter: closed through mid-March 2018 except by appt)

  • Bushy Run Battlefield
  • Closed for the winter; reopens April 18, 2018

  • Conrad Weiser Homestead
  • Closed for the winter; reopens on Charter Day, March 11, 2018

  • Cornwall Iron Furnace
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (regular: open Thurs-Sun)

  • Daniel Boone Homestead
  • Closed 12/24-25, 1/1 (winter: open Sat-Sun through mid-March 2018)

  • Drake Well Museum and Park
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (regular hours thru 12/31, Tues-Sun, then winter hours: open Sat-Sun through Feb. 28, 2018)
  • Dec. 30: Something More Saturday—enjoy family-friendly activities and learning added to the museum's regular offerings (watch the Facebook event page for details). 10 am-3 pm.

  • Eckley Miners’ Village
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (regular: open Mon-Sun)

  • Ephrata Cloister
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (check website for winter hours)
  • Dec. 27-30: Lantern Tours—reservations are required (details on the website)

  • Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (winter: open Thurs-Sat through March 2018)

  • Fort Pitt Museum
  • Closed 12/25, 1/1 (in between, regular: open Mon-Sun. AS OF 1/1, closed for maintenance and exhibit updates, reopening Jan. 27, 2018.)

  • Graeme Park
  • Closed 12/22-25, 12/29-1/1 (regular Fri-Sun schedule resumes 1/5/18)

  • Hope Lodge
  • Closed for the winter; reopens spring 2018

  • Joseph Priestley House
  • Closed for the winter except for Twelfth Night event on Jan. 7; reopens Charter Day, March 11, 2018

  • Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (winter: open Wed-Sun)
  • Dec. 28 & 29: Winter Day Camp—fun stuff to chase those school vacation blues (whose?). Registration is required (details on the website)

  • Old Economy Village
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (winter: closed through March 31, 2018)

  • Pennsbury Manor
  • Closed 12/24-25, 1/1 (open 12/31, self-guided tours only) (winter: closed through Feb. 28, 2018)

  • Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (regular: open Wed-Sun)

  • Pennsylvania Military Museum
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (regular: open Wed-Sun)

  • Pennsylvania State Archives
  • Closed 12/23-25, 12/30-1/1 (regular: open Wed-Sat; please note that the Search Room will be closed Jan. 6-13; they'll be staffing a booth at the PA Farm Show)

  • Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (winter: open Tues-Sun)

  • Somerset Historical Center
  • Closed 12/24-25, 12/31-1/1 (winter: open Tues-Sat)

  • State Museum of Pennsylvania
  • Closed 12/24-25, 1/1 (regular: open Wed-Sun)
  • Dec. 29: Noon Year’s Eve Celebration—ring in 2018 a little early at this annual event (see website for details). 10 am-1 pm.

  • Washington Crossing Historic Park
  • Check website for updates on 12/25 Christmas Crossing Reenactment and winter schedule changes.

  • Gift Ideas for Your History Lovers (or Yourself)

    The December program page lists events coming up this weekend and the rest of the month. Next week's post will include info (to the best of my knowledge) on site schedules around Christmas and New Year's. With luck, the January program page will be available next week as well (depends on the elves).

    UPDATED 11 AM 12/15 to add Pennsbury ornament info

    Luminaries and lighted fences at Daniel Boone Homestead's Christkindlmarket event (via Facebook)
    We are in the midst of a multi-holiday season where the exchanging of gifts and the sharing of bounty are part and parcel of the festivities. That can be fraught with expectations, disappointment, resentment, frustration, you name it. Commercialism runs rampant. (As does, apparently, a tendency toward Dickensian language. Just me? Ok.) To combat the seasonal angst, we at Trailheads HQ have pulled together a list of suggestions to make your holiday gift-giving more meaningful, if only because your purchases help to support the programs and operations of the sites on the Trails of History. (I suppose you could also shop at other museums and historic sites, but they can get their own blog.)

    A number of sites on the Trails of History are collection points for the U.S. Marine Corps "Toys for Tots" program. I have seen info from Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, the Pennsylvania Military Museum, and the Railroad Museum of PA. There may be others (please let me know and I'll add you to this list). New, unwrapped toys will be shared with children in these communities - you can purchase items at the museum stores to donate or purchase elsewhere and bring them in. Collections continue through Dec. 20. (Search the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation website for locations in PA.)

    Last weekend's Christmas Tree Ship event at Erie Maritime Museum included Santa, reindeer, and festive lights on the rigging of U.S. Brig Niagara (via Facebook)
    If you have a history lover on your gift list (or want to treat yourself), why not a gift membership at your favorite Trails of History site? Or a "buy one, get one" membership deal from the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation? Or tickets to one of many popular beer and/or wine fests, which often sell out ahead of time?

    Tickets to Ephrata Cloister's annual lantern tours would make a great gift.

    From State Museum of PA Facebook page
    If you're in the Harrisburg area today, the Museum Store at the State Museum is having a pop up sale.

    Cornwall Iron Furnace was recently featured in a Lebanon Daily News article about gift ideas at area museums. Your favorite Trails of History site has loads of creative and imaginative items, many of them locally made and one-of-a-kind. You don't have to worry about sizes, either.

    Thanks to the work of the Friends of the Joseph Priestley House, a modern edition of Dr. Priestley's 1799 Letters to the Inhabitants of Northumberland and its Neighborhood is now available. The new edition updates spelling, typography, and punctuation for contemporary readers who want to learn more about Joseph Priestley's views on politics and religion (the original was written in response to his critics). Read more about the book and find out where to get it on the Joseph Priestley House website.

    And Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum has continued to add photos to its Museum Store Holiday 2017 album on Facebook. Lots of lovely things there.


    Just saw this lovely ornament on Pennsbury Manor's Facebook page and had to share!

    Wishing you lots of light, warmth, and friendship (and food!), no matter what you're celebrating.

    Are We Feeling Festive Yet?

    The December program page has info on this month's happenings. I've highlighted this weekend's activities below (along with a few things that happen before the next Trailheads hits the streets).

    So many lovely pictures in my news feed this week.


    Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum's Country Christmas Village event included (among other things) musical entertainment and freshly baked cookies, such as the traditional German anise-flavored springerle pictured above. You can see more photos on Landis Valley's Facebook page. (You can also find a collection of Landis Valley photos on Jennifer MacNeill Photography's Facebook page, posted at Thanksgiving.)


    Another successful Cornwall Iron Furnace Holiday House Tour is in the books (see exterior view above). If you missed your chance to snoop around in other people's houses, there are interior photos of some of the featured homes on Cornwall's Facebook page. Seriously though, thank you to all the folks who opened their homes for this annual event, which benefits the public programs and educational activities of the museum.

    Hooray for volunteers!! Doug O'Brien was the Railroad Museum of PA's Volunteer of the Year for 2015 and Stu Jack was their honoree for 2016. You can read about Doug and Stu in the 50plus LIFE article to learn more about their work at the Museum. Let me take this opportunity to thank all of PHMC's volunteers for their efforts. You are priceless.

    Lanterns light a path at historic Hope Lodge (via Facebook)
    Bushy Run Battlefield
    Dec. 9: Children's Colonial Christmas Party—kids age 4-12 are invited to learn about and make homemade decorations, learn a colonial-era dance, and enjoy a snack. Cost is $2 per child. Advance registration is required: contact Marlene at 724/744-4193 or marsawayda@yahoo.com. 1-3 pm.
    Dec. 10: Christmas Sale—last chance to visit the museum store for this season to find the perfect gift. Six additional vendors will be on hand in the Stone Room. 1-4 pm.

    Daniel Boone Homestead
    Dec. 8-9: Christkindlmarket—crafts, wine, candlelight, and shopping (details on the Facebook event page). Admission is $7 for adults. Tickets available by calling 610/582-4900. 4-9 pm both days.

    Ephrata Cloister
    Dec. 11-12: Christmas at the Cloister—this popular annual program combines seasonal readings and traditional music performed by the Ephrata Cloister Chorus in the 1741 Meetinghouse (Saal). Performance times are 6:30 and 8 pm each evening. Tickets are $6 per person and seating is limited; call 717/733-6600 for availability.

    Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
    Dec. 9: Christmas Tree ShipNiagara will be lit up for Christmas, and there will be lots of family activities, a visit with Santa and a live reindeer (due to arrive at 5:45 pm), and the story of The Christmas Tree Ship (more program details on the website). Admission is free. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy for the local Toys for Tots collection. 5:30-8:30 pm.

    Hope Lodge
    Dec. 9: Guided Tours of the Mansion—tours of the mansion will be offered at 10 and 11:30 am, 1 and 2:30 pm. Regular admission charged; fee includes cookies and cider. Site open 10 am-4 pm.

    Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
    Dec. 9: Artists Showcase at the Museum Store—meet 15 of LVM's tradespeople and artisans, learn about their work, and purchase beautiful handmade and locally produced merchandise. Regular admission rates apply to visit the exhibit buildings, but there's never a charge to visit the Museum Store. 9 am-5 pm.

    Pennsbury Manor celebrates the season (via Facebook)
    Pennsbury Manor
    Dec 8: Holly Nights—a special opportunity to see Pennsbury illuminated by candlelight, bonfires, and hearth fires. Enjoy caroling, hot cider, and throwing a green sprig on the Yule log for luck (details on the website). Admission (at the door only): Adults, $14; Seniors, $12; Children, $6. 6-9 pm.

    Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
    Dec 10: Santa in the Shay—St. Nick will forgo his sleigh in favor of a geared locomotive as he listens to children's requests. Take an instant photo and turn it into an ornament, browse unique gifts from local artisans and the museum store, and enjoy hot cocoa (details). Admission is $5 (ages 12+), $3 (ages 3-11), ages 3 and under are always free. Noon-4pm.

    Pennsylvania Military Museum
    Dec. 9: Lecture—the program will explore the occult roots of nazism during its rise in the 1930s and 40s. 3-4 pm.

    Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
    Dec. 9: Home for the Holidays—costumed engineers, conductors, ticket agents, and passengers representing the past century bring historic rail travel to life. (RMP shared an article from the New York Times about the historic link between holiday travel and the railroads.) Kids can visit with Santa or work with a telegrapher to send a Christmas telegram to the North Pole. Holiday music, refreshments (while supplies last), and shopping are part of the day too (lots more details). Included in regular admission. 9 am-5 pm.

    Somerset Historical Center
    Dec. 9: Christmas Fun—enjoy music, tree decorating, children's activities, and shopping for locally made crafts and regional foods (maple syrup and honey top the list). The site will be open extended hours today, 9 am to 7 pm.

    December? Yes, Please

    The December program page is now up and running for those of you who like to plan your month. I've highlighted this weekend's events (and a couple that happen before the next edition of Trailheads) for those of you who like to be more spontaneous.

    Conrad Weiser Homestead
    Dec. 3: Christmas Open House—enjoy one last chance to visit the homestead before winter sets in (site will be open by appointment only until Charter Day in March). The Visitor Center Bookstore will be open and books will be marked down 10%. American Art Designs and Stone House History will be on site (more info on the Facebook event page). Guided tours will be available. Admission is free and donations will be gratefully accepted. Noon-4 pm.

    Cornwall's Christmas House Tour is a rare chance to see the interior of the Paymaster's Office (via Facebook)
    Cornwall Iron Furnace
    Dec. 2: Christmas at Cornwall House Tour—this annual tour lets you explore private homes in the Cornwall/Lebanon area (list of this year's homes) while supporting the Friends of Cornwall Iron Furnace. Tickets are $15 in advance at several locations in the community and at the Furnace. Tickets are $20 on the day of the tour and are available only at the Iron Furnace. Your ticket includes a guided tour of the Furnace, which you may redeem during regular operating hours up through Dec. 29, 2017. Light refreshments will be offered throughout the day at the Furnace. 10 am-4 pm.

    Eckley Miners' Village
    Dec. 2-3: Christmas at Eckley—from carolers to cocoa, crafts to St. Nick, you are sure to find something delightful in this old-fashioned Christmas celebration. Admission is $7. Noon-4 pm both days.

    Ephrata Cloister
    As of today, Dec. 1, tickets are now on sale for this year's Lantern Tours (slated for Dec. 27-30). Information on tour times and reservations is on the website.

    Degn Living Room at Hope Lodge decorated for Christmas (photo Friends of Hope Lodge)
    Hope Lodge
    Dec. 2: Holidays at Hope Lodge and Beer Tasting—tour the mansion at your leisure to enjoy the festive decorations and enjoy light refreshments (details on Facebook). Baked goods will be available for purchase. Admission is $3 for ages 13 and up. Visitors age 21 and older (must have ID) may visit the Summer Kitchen for samples of seasonal ales from Round Guys Brewing Company and Pub ($5 for 4 4-oz. samples). 11 am-5 pm (beer tasting, 1-5 pm).

    Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
    Dec. 2-3: Country Christmas Village—enjoy a Pennsylvania German Christmas, with all kinds of trees, der Belsnickel, and take-home crafts to try. See a Civil War winter camp and traditional foods prepared in the tavern. Children can learn about the history of Santa Claus and (with parental permission) post a letter to Santa at the Landis Valley Post Office ($1 postage) and receive a reply from the North Pole. Musical entertainment will be provided in the Yellow Barn (different performers each day). Admission: Adults, $12; Seniors, $10; Youth (age 3-11), $8; LVA members and age 2 and under, free. Saturday, 10 am-4 pm; Sunday, noon-4 pm.

    Dining room of the George Rapp House, Old Economy Village (via Facebook)
    Old Economy Village
    Dec. 2-3: Christmas at the Village—enjoy Christmas carols sung by local choirs and shop for handmade wares by local craftspeople. Children will find activities just for them and can even visit with mean old Belsnickel (details). Admission charged; please purchase tickets at the Visitor Center, as no tickets will be sold at the Village gate. Saturday, 2-9 pm; Sunday, 2-7 pm.
    Dec. 6: Christmas Dinner—join with other supporters of Old Economy for a festive evening of dining and music in the Feast Hall (details). Reservations are required. The deadline was Nov. 27, so please call 724/266-4500 x101 to see if there's still space. Doors open at 6 pm.

    Pennsbury Manor
    Dec 7-8: Holly Nights—a special opportunity to see Pennsbury illuminated by candlelight, bonfires, and hearth fires. Enjoy caroling, hot cider, and throwing a green sprig on the Yule log for luck (details on the website). Admission: Adults, $14; Seniors, $12; Children, $6 (purchase tickets online). 6-9 pm both nights.

    Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
    Dec. 2: Home for the Holidays and Christmas with the Conductor—costumed engineers, conductors, ticket agents, and passengers representing the past century bring historic rail travel to life. Please note that this program is also offered on Dec. 9. Kids can visit with Santa or work with a telegrapher to send a Christmas telegram to the North Pole. Holiday music, refreshments (while supplies last), and shopping are part of the day too (lots more details). Included in regular admission (extra charge for Christmas with the Conductor parties, call the museum at 717/687-8628 to check availability - as of 11/29 the Dec. 2 parties are sold out but there may still be spots available for Dec. 9). 9 am-5 pm.

    State Museum of Pennsylvania
    Dec. 1: StoryTime—take a stroll through the museum's Village Square and read Caldecott Medal winner On Market Street by Anita and Arnold Lobel. Included in general admission and intended for children age 3-5 with an adult. 10-11 am.
    Dec. 7: Nature Lab Programs—explore "Reintroduction of Beaver and Elk". Included in general admission. 11:30 am-12:30 pm.