Museum Week and Other Stuff

Please check the April program page for upcoming events. I've highlighted some below, but there's always more to know.


Next week (Monday, April 23, through Sunday, April 29) people who work in museums, people who visit museums, and people who like to read about museums will unite across the world during Museum Week 2018. (There's probably a not very complicated Venn diagram of that previous sentence, since people who work in museums generally fall into the other two categories as well.) This year's overall theme is "Living together, citizenship and tolerance."

The daily hashtags, starting with Monday, Apr. 23, are: #womenMW, #cityMW, #heritageMW, #professionsMW, #kidsMW, #natureMW, and #differenceMW (more info on each). Sites on the Trails of History generally post at least some days during Museum Week; @PHMC will be retweeting, as will I (@AmyKFox). Or follow your favorite museums on Twitter (if you don't already) to see what they're posting. You don't have to work in a museum (or be officially registered) to participate. Just have fun!

Tyler Gum, director of the PA Military Museum, welcomes guests to the PA Museums Awards Ceremony (photo courtesy @museumnotations via Twitter)
Museums from around the state met earlier this week in the State College area during the PA Museums annual conference. Sessions took place at the American Philatelic Society's facility in Bellefonte, with an opening reception held at the Centre Furnace Mansion in State College. The PHMC's Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg hosted the PA Museums Awards Ceremony, where 11 institutional and 2 individual awards were presented.

Crane moving Niagara’s mainmast into place.  Before work ended, the shrouds (hanging) needed to be secured to stabilize the mast. (Photo: Linda Bolla)
Frequent Trailheads guest blogger Linda Bolla, Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, provided photos and an interesting story from this year's uprig of the ship.
As a sailing ship is built, it is traditional to place a coin beneath her mast as it is stepped. This practice is said to have begun with ancient Romans so that, should the ship sink, sailors would have coin to pay Charon the ferryman to cross the River Styx into the afterlife. The tradition may have even older origins, however, as underwater archaeology has found non-Roman vessels to have coins beneath the mast. Today, we continue the tradition with the hope for good luck for this ship and her crew.

Coins placed beneath Niagara's mainmast 2018
Two coins were recovered and cleaned by Niagara’s Carpenter Adam Stanisz when the mainmast was removed late in 2017. A 1990 “Walking Liberty” silver dollar (upper left in above photo) was placed beneath the mainmast when this Niagara was first built. When the mainmast was removed and stepped again in 2000, a golden Sacagawea dollar from that year was added (lower left).

This year three new coins were added. Flagship Niagara League (FNL) Trustee and volunteer crew member Pat Federici donated a Sea Services Challenge Coin (lower middle in above photo) made especially for War of 1812 Bicentennial events at Detroit, MI in September 2012. This coin honors the services of the U. S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard. FNL Trustee Emeritus and long-time Erie Maritime Museum volunteer docent Ed Bolla offered an 1813 silver fifty cent coin (right). Finally, a stunning silver commemorative medal (upper middle) struck for the 2013 Bicentennial of the Battle of Lake was added. The medal was published by Dave Hayes and John Dean and designed and minted by Daniel Carr at Moonlight Mint in Colorado. On the obverse, Carr’s design features a bust of Oliver Hazard Perry, the International Peace Monument at Put-In-Bay, and flags of the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, representing lasting peace. The reverse features U.S. Brig Niagara in action.
Five coins in place awaiting resetting of the ship's mainmast

Coming up this weekend

  • Anthracite Heritage Museum
    April 21: Landscape and Environment Month Lecture—Robert Hughes of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) will present "The Sustainability Factor of Coalfield Community Groups in both the Anthracite and Bituminous Regions of PA and EPCAMR's Role Throughout NE & NC PA" (more info here). Lecture is free. 2 pm.
  • Conrad Weiser Homestead
    April 22: Living History Sunday—enjoy an afternoon of living history; guided tours offered. Noon-4 pm.
  • Daniel Boone Homestead
    April 21: Sheep and Fiber Day—the Homestead sheep will be sheared and artisans will demonstrate various steps of the textile production process (more info on Facebook event page). Vendors will be on hand with items made from alpaca and sheep's wool. Food will be available for purchase throughout the day. Cost is $7 for ages 16 and up, $4 for ages 5-15, free for Friends members and children age 4 and under. 10 am-4 pm.
  • Ephrata Cloister
    April 22: Ephrata Cloister Chorus Spring Concert—the concert will be held at Church of the Apostles United Church of Christ in Lancaster (more info on the website). Included on the program is a composition from the 1740s, newly transcribed from a copy found in the Ephrata Cloister archives. 4 pm.
  • Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
    April 21: Spring Benefit Auctionsilent and live auctions, plus yummy food (see website for more details). Preview and silent auction begin at 4 pm, live auction begins at 6.
  • Pennsbury Manor
    April 22: Bitters, Blubs and Brewing—enjoy a private tour of the kitchen garden, focused on the medicinal role of plants in the 17th and 18th centuries. Then a mixologist will teach you how to make your own bitters to take home. Must be at least 21 to participate. Cost is $20, which includes all materials and grounds admission (info on registering).
  • Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
    April 21-22: Spring Antique and Collectible Show and Sawmill Run—vendors from all over the U.S. will be selling a variety of wares. The museum's sawmill will be in operation on Saturday, and the birch still will be demonstrated both days. Admission charged, includes access to museum exhibits. Food and drink will be available for purchase. 10 am-4 pm both days.
  • Somerset Historical Center
    April 21: Common Threads Symposium—this program is offered in conjunction with Laurel Arts and features Sally C. Fink, fabric artist and author, and Mike Taylor, spinning wheel collector and author. Fiber artists will display and/or sell their work throughout the visitor center exhibit. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door (more info on the Facebook event page). (In conjunction with the symposium, there will be a quilt sale/fundraiser to generate funds for quilters and the Somerset Historical Center; contact for details and to register.) 9 am-4 pm.


Kerry Mohn said...

Thanks for photos and story about the coins deposited beneath the mast on the Niagara. I hope the tradition is continued the next time as well.

Amy Killpatrick Fox said...

I hope so, too. Thanks to Linda Bolla and the crew of Niagara for the story.

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