Welcome...Enjoy Your Visit

With a new month just around the corner, the August program page is up and running. Stay tuned for update posts on August 3 and August 17. Events scheduled for this weekend and next week are listed below.

New welcome kiosk in Rolling Stock Hall at Railroad Museum of PA
This new kiosk welcomes Railroad Museum of PA visitors to Rolling Stock Hall and helps them find their way around the museum. The kiosk is part of a major project that is adding interpretive exhibits to the world class collection of railroad locomotives and other rolling stock (photo via Facebook)

Summer is the busiest time for most sites on the PHMC's PA Trails of History, with school tour seasons (fall and spring) close behind. People show up for special events and regularly scheduled guided and self-guided tours. Many sites have expanded hours during the late spring and summer to accommodate more visitors. Families of various shapes and sizes make sites a destination or stop in on their way to other vacation spots. This past month, I took note of quite a few social media posts about different ways visitors are experiencing our sites.

Staff, volunteers, and visitors harvest flax for linen at Landis Valley
Staff, volunteers, and visitors harvest flax at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (via Facebook)

In early July, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum put out a call on social media for help with the annual flax harvest. This living history opportunity drew a great public response and provided lots of new hands to assist staff and regular volunteers with the work. The site reported that a visitor from England heard about the project while touring on one of the work days and returned in the evening to help. The helpers were well cared for and also visited the museum's textile exhibit building to take a break and learn how the flax plants they were harvesting would be turned into linen thread and cloth. The photos from the two work events are wonderful; I've shared one above, and you can find others in a photo album on Landis Valley's Facebook page.

Several Trails of History sites were visited in July by groups with an artistic interest in the landscape and buildings. In addition to Cornwall Iron Furnace in the post above (you can see some of the group's paintings in a follow-up post), Graeme Park and Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum also hosted plein air painters. Landis Valley was also the venue for a workshop taught by Jennifer MacNeill Photography.

Fire trucks parked at Ephrata Cloister
Emergency vehicles in the parking lot at Ephrata Cloister, but everything was OK (via Facebook)
As part of emergency planning and preparedness, historic sites and museums often work with their local fire companies to familiarize first responders with their collections and historic structures. Earlier this month, more than 60 volunteers from the Pioneer, Akron, and Lincoln Fire Departments in Lancaster County visited Ephrata Cloister for a special training session. In addition to the training, it gave the site an opportunity to thank these volunteers for their service to the larger community.

Other special guests at Trails of History sites this month included: descendants of Dr. Joseph Priestley's brother Timothy at the doctor's home in Northumberland and PHMC's 2018 Keystone summer interns (some of them at least) at Conrad Weiser Homestead and Ephrata Cloister. (On a side note, Old Economy Village and Pennsylvania Lumber Museum posted photos of their summer interns for #NationalInternDay on July 26).

At the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, summer campers returned to open a time capsule that they had filled five years ago. Sarah Hofius Hall from the Times-Tribune covered the event and noted that the items in the capsule, which documented their craft projects, field trips, and other camp activities, brought back some memories for the students who attended (read Hall's article online). The camp has not been offered for several years, but it had an impact. Hall quotes Abby Robson, now 16, talking about her three years attending the camp: “It gave us all a sense of knowing where we came from.”

The week ahead...

Monday, July 30, marks the 300th anniversary of the death of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. As you probably know, PA Trails of History site Pennsbury Manor interprets Penn's multi-faceted legacy as well as what it was like to live and work on a late-17th- to early-18th-century estate. (Read about Penn's legacy in this article from Pennsylvania Heritage.) As part of the anniversary observance, Pennsbury will host a panel discussion and luncheon on September 29, featuring Gov. Tom Wolf and former governors Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker, Ed Rendell, and Tom Corbett (read more from PhillyVoice.com). Tickets are available now on the Pennsbury Manor website. Proceeds from the event will support educational programs at the site.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Aug. 1: Kids Summer Quest—the Lackawanna County Library System is bringing a Summer Quest to the museum. Visit the museum anytime between 10 am and 2 pm to take part in fun activities focused on this summer's music theme (more info on the library system website). Admission is free.

Bushy Run Battlefield
July 28: Bushy Run Market—this open air market features a changing variety of vendors. The concession stand will have drinks and light fare. Free for visitors and vendors. 8 am-noon.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Aug. 1: Sawmill demonstrations—the site's water-powered up-down sawmill will be demonstrated at 11 am and 2 pm.

Drake Well Museum and Park
July 28-29: Historic Pithole open. Admission charged. 10 am-4 pm.
July 28: Something More Saturday—in addition to the regular offerings, there will be hands-on activities for fun and learning. Included in regular admission. 10 am-3 pm.

Graeme Park
Aug. 2: Happy Hour with the Historian—Charlotte Filiciatto will present "The Quaker Response to the Civil War," exploring Graeme Park's Penrose family and their neighbors during the American Civil War. Admission is $5, free for members. Food and drink available for purchase starting at 6 pm; lecture starts at 7. UPDATE: this event is cancelled (per GP Twitter acct); there is another scheduled for Aug. 30 (see August program page for details).

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
July 28-29: Civil War Weekend—the site is transformed into a rural Pennsylvania village during the Civil War, with reenactors portraying soldiers and civilians (more info). The event takes place rain or shine (online tickets are not refundable). Admission charged; tickets are available online from Brown Paper Tickets. Food will be available for purchase at the museum store. (Check out Landis Valley's Facebook page for posts on what to expect at the event.) 10 am-4 pm both days.

Pennsbury Manor
July 29: Special Sunday Programmingmeet some of the animals that call Pennsbury home. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
July 28: Trail Work Bee—as reported in the July 13 Trailheads post, the museum grounds now include the Webber Cabin, home to Bob and Dotty Webber for many years. Bob Webber was known for many things, among them his work to establish numerous hiking trails in Pennsylvania's forests. A new trail will connect the Webber Cabin to the museum's existing Sustainable Forestry Trail. The work to develop that trail is being done by hand and help is needed. If you are willing and able to assist, please call the museum at 814/435-2652 to sign up.

Somerset Historical Center
July 28: History on a Hayride—hear tales of local characters and enjoy the museum grounds (more info on the Facebook event page). Cost is $10 per person, $8 for members. 10 am-2 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
July 27: Summer Fridays—Fridays are "Pay as You Wish" this summer during regular hours, 9 am-5 pm. Also today, 12:15-1:15 pm, staff from the Bureau of State Parks will present a Learn at Lunchtime program, "Discover PA Songbirds and Cavity-nesters."


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