Ask an Archivist

Last week's post has events through Oct. 3. The full October program page is now available for those of you who like to plan ahead.

This week's post comes from PHMC's digital director, Sean Adkins.

Man in collared shirt and tie looks through manuscript ledger in archives
Tyler Stump of the Pennsylvania State Archives examines a ledger during last year's Ask an Archivist (photo Don Giles)
On Wednesday, October 2, six archivists from the Pennsylvania State Archives will test their knowledge on Twitter by taking part in Ask an Archivist Day. Sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, Ask An Archivist offers the public the opportunity to connect directly to archivists in their communities. Archivists around the country will respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Questions will vary widely, from the silly (What do archivists talk about over lunch?) to the practical (How do I preserve records that were damaged in a flood?) Ask an Archivist Day is open to everyone. To participate, tweet a question to @PHMC and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist.

Here’s our schedule:
  • 10:15 AM to 11:00 AM: Brett Reigh will guide a digital tour through some of The Pennsylvania State Archives’ most requested images. This will range from the iconic view of strikers marching to Lattimer to Pittsburgh’s Point just before the onset of the Great Depression.
  • 11:15 AM to 12:00 PM: Join Kurt Bell for his discussion on the State Archives collection of train-related images, including those featuring Ferdinand Foch and Charles Lindbergh.
  • 1:15 PM to 2:00 PM: Tyler Stump will offer his insight into the institutional records preserved by the State Archives.
  • 2:15 PM to 3:00 PM: Angelica Yost and Chelsea Houck will introduce you to the manuscript records/diaries & journals from the State Archives.
  • 3:15 PM to 4:00 PM: Aaron McWilliams will offer his tips on searching land records and genealogical records from The State Archives. Bring your questions!

On the Trails of History, September 20-October 3

This week's post provides info on events through the end of September (it's officially Fall as of the 23rd) and teases a couple of events at the very beginning of October. The full October program page will be up and running next week (I'll update this with a link).

Tomorrow, Sept. 21, is Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, and several PA Trails of History sites are participating, as noted below.

Dirt road with trees on either side, some showing fall colors
Bushy Run Battlefield offers their Fall Nature Walk tomorrow, Sept. 21 - details below (photo via Facebook)
Anthracite Heritage Museum
Sept. 21: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day—people who present a Museum Live! ticket will receive two free admissions. Visit the Museum Day website to download your ticket.

Brandywine Battlefield
Sept. 24: Revolutionary Dining Series—this month's dinner and lecture are planned in conjunction with a new exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia (Sept. 28, 2019-March 17, 2020). "Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier" focuses on Richard St. George, veteran of the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. Held at The Gables at Chadds Ford, the cost is $50 per person (includes salad, entree, dessert, and lecture). Check Brandywine's website for reservation info. 6-9 pm.

Bushy Run Battlefield
Sept. 21: Fall Nature Walk—learn about the flora and fauna of the woods around the battlefield with herbalist Lindsey Praksti (more info on Facebook event page). Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather. Cost is $5 per person, free for members. 10 am-noon.
Sept. 26: Historic Sewing Workshop Series—this four-part series is open to people at all skill levels. Each workshop will have a one-hour of formal instruction on 18th- and 19th-century techniques, followed by an hour of open studio time to work on your own projects or practice in a group setting. Additional dates are Oct. 10, Nov. 14, and Dec. 12. See the Facebook event page for details on how to register. 6-8 pm.
Sept. 28: Bushy Run Market—this is the last market day for the season. There will be a variety of vendors, and the concession stand will be open. 8 am-noon.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Sept. 28: Artisans in the Park—enjoy a wide variety of craft demonstrations and displays. Food vendors will be on hand and the historic buildings will be open (self-guided only). 9 am-4 pm.

Cast iron cooking pots over outdoor fire with bread and biscuits in them, a woman tends to one of the pots
Scene from the 2018 Cast Iron Cooking Demo at Cornwall Iron Furnace
Cornwall Iron Furnace
Sept. 21: Cast Iron Cooking Demo—cast iron cooking demonstrations will be presented by several members of the Friends of Cornwall Iron Furnace. 11 am-3 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Sept. 28: Heritage Day—all kinds of activities will take place throughout the site. Cooking, baking, dancing, magic, and much more (details on the calendar of events.) Admission charged. 10 am-4 pm.

Drake Well Museum and Park
Sept. 21: Fall Gas Up—the museum hosts the Pioneer Steam and Gas Engine Society's display of antique gas engines, oil field and farm equipment, and more. Included in regular admission. 9 am-4 pm.
Sept. 28: Something More Saturday—this month's program is "Hands-on Oil Labs" (check the Facebook event page for more info). Included in regular admission. 10 am-3 pm.

Eckley Miners' Village
Sept. 21: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day—people who present a Museum Live! ticket will receive two free admissions. Visit the Museum Day website to download your ticket.

Display case with 18th century hymnals and other music books
Temporary exhibit of hymnals and music manuscripts at Ephrata Cloister (photo via Facebook)
Ephrata Cloister
Sept. 21: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day—people who present a Museum Live! ticket will receive two free admissions and enjoy a special program on music written at Ephrata. Visit the Museum Day website to download your ticket. Site is open 9 am-5 pm; special Museum Day music presentations at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm.

Fort Pitt Museum
Please check the Fort Pitt Museum website for information on programs and events this month.

Graeme Park
Sept. 26: Homeschool Day—activities include tours of the Keith House, open-hearth cooking, colonial games, and typical chores (program flyer). Cost is $6 per person; students must be accompanied by a responsible adult. 10 am-2 pm.

Hope Lodge
Sept. 22 & 29: Site open—enjoy the grounds and take a guided tour of the mansion. Admission charged. 1-4 pm (tours at 1:00 and 2:30 pm).

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Sept. 21 & 28: Fall Workshops—visit the workshop page on LVM's website for details on workshops in Sept., Oct., and Nov.
Sept. 21: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day—people who present a Museum Live! ticket will receive two free admissions. Visit the Museum Day website to download your ticket.
Sept. 28: "Escape" Landis Valley—it's 1777 and the British have invaded Philadelphia. Can you solve the puzzles to help the Continental Congress get through Lancaster on their way to York? You must register ahead of time if you want to find out. Program times are 10 and 11:30 am, 1 and 2:30 pm. Tickets are $35 for adults ($30 for LVA members) and $25 for children age 10 and under (light refreshments included). Contact Jamie at 717-581-0590.

Old Economy Village
Sept. 21: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day—Old Economy is participating in Smithsonian magazine's annual Museum Day. Visit the Old Economy website for a link to download a ticket good for free admission for two people. 10 am-5 pm.
Sept. 26: Lecture and Booksigning—Dr. Eileen Aiken English will present "If These Walls Could Talk," exploring stories of The Harmony Society (see Facebook event page for details, including how to register). Dr. English will also sign books (available in the Museum Store for purchase). 7 pm.
Sept. 28: Introduction to Blacksmithing—this is a basic intro taught by John Frankowski and Ben Delaney, who regularly demonstrate blacksmithing at Old Economy. The class is free, but there are only 8 spaces. You must pre-register by Sept. 18; contact David Miller at 724/266-4500 x110 or 10 am-1 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
Sept. 22 & 29: Special Sunday Programming—Sept. 22, Beer Brewing and Garden Highlights will find the brewers working on a traditional fall beer; Sept. 29, Meet the Animals that make Pennsbury their home. Included in regular admission. 1-4 pm.
Sept. 27: Escape Room—there are two different storylines (one beginner level, the other advanced), each offered 3 times during the evening. Not recommended for children younger than 13. Space is limited and reservations are required. Visit the event page for details and links for ticket purchase (please read carefully to be sure which you wish to purchase). 6-10 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Sept. 21: Hometown Science Festival—folks from the Lumber Museum will be on hand at this event in Wellsboro to demonstrate some simple machines from the "for use" collection (details on the Facebook event page).
Sept. 21: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day—people who present a Museum Live! ticket will receive two free admissions. Visit the Museum Day website to download your ticket.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Sept. 29: Exploring the Armor—this special 2-hour guided tour begins in the museum theater, then takes you inside some of the military equipment on the grounds. Space is limited, and reservations are required (reserve online). Cost is $15 ($5 for museum members). 2-4 pm.
Oct. 1: Central PA Civil War Roundtable Series—David MacLean will present "Calcium Lights and Optical Entertainment in Civil War and Peace." 7-8:30 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Sept. 21: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day—people who present a Museum Live! ticket will receive two free admissions. Visit the Museum Day website to download your ticket, then present it at the Railroad Museum for admission. 9 am-5 pm.
Sept. 28: Members Day—a full slate of activities and speakers is planned for Friends of the Railroad Museum (and it's not too late to join). Full info on the website.

Somerset Historical Center
Sept. 20: Writers Workshop—SHC will host "Historical and Contemporary Research for Fiction: Shape Your Characters, Turn Your Plot & Bring Your Setting to Life," part of the 2019 Festival of Books in the Alleghenies. Registration is required and is being handled by Festival of Books (info and registration links). 2-3:30 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Please check the Planetarium page for updates on this month's programs.
Sept. 26: Nature Lab—learn more about two familiar PA birds, the ruffed grouse and the wild turkey. Included in regular admission. 11:30 am.
Oct. 1-4: Archaeology at Fort Hunterthis season's excavations by the State Museum archaeology team wrap up this week. You can drop by between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm to see what's up.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Please visit Washington Crossing's Calendar of Events page for info on park and historical programming.

A Little of This, A Little of That

The September program page provides info through the end of the month. Be sure to check it for events this weekend.


Wooden sailing ship with people on the dock attending ceremony
Battle of Lake Erie commemoration, Sept. 10, 2019 (via Facebook)
Earlier this week, sites on the Trails of History held commemorations for battles during the War of 1812 and the American Revolution. On Tuesday evening, staff and volunteers from the Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, along with members of the public, gathered to remember the Battle of Lake Erie, fought on Sept. 10, 1813, near Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Members of Ship's Company in period dress provided a color guard for the event (you can read more and see additional photos on the Facebook page).

On Wednesday, Brandywine Battlefield Park commemorated the Battle of Brandywine, Sept. 11, 1777. Throughout the day, the site's Facebook page posted info about what was happening in the battle at that time in 1777. In the evening, a ceremony was held to remember the battle as well as the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

People in 18th century military uniforms and modern dress standing in parking lot
Rev War military and civilian reenactors (including General Washington with back to camera) gathered Wednesday evening at Brandywine Battlefield Park (photo Charlie Fox)

Activities on the Trails of History

Small tan dog with red harness on leash
This happy pup was one of 140 (or so) attending the inaugural Paws in the Park event at Bushy Run Battlefield (via Facebook)
Last weekend, Bushy Run Battlefield tried out a new program, "Paws in the Park," designed to appeal to the many dogs and their walkers who visit the site. Roughly 300 people and 140 dogs attended, taking part in a variety of activities, such as making dog treats, dog tags, and dog collar bows; a photo booth; games and a battlefield scavenger hunt; and a caricature artist doing people and pup portraits. The site also put together a small exhibit, "Dogs in Colonial America: History and Art of Dogs in the 18th Century," which museum staffer Michael Tusay describes as a discussion of "evolving societal views of dogs and their primary roles in the 18th century"; the exhibit features the work of artist George Stubbs. For many more adorable pictures of puppers and their people who attended the event, visit Bushy Run's Facebook page.

Pennsbury Manor's Brew House was mentioned in an article on timed for National Beer Lover's Day (Sept. 7). Your next chance to see Pennsbury's brewers in action is September 22 from 1 to 4 pm. On a related note, September is Pennsylvania Craft Beer Month.

A Touch of Humor

[Description: an embedded Facebook post from humor site The Onion showing a map of Pennsylvania and titled "Report: Some People Live in Pennsylvania" - link to Onion website is]

Working Together

Looking for something to do on the PA Trails of History? Check out this list of events scheduled for today through Sept. 15. If you're planning further ahead, the September program page will take you to the end of the month.

This week's post is a team effort, with text and photos supplied by Kurt Carr, Janet Johnson, and Judy Hawthorn of The State Museum of Pennsylvania's Section of Archaeology and Chuck Johnson and Linda Bolla of the Erie Maritime Museum & U.S. Brig Niagara. Thank you all.

Sailing ship with 3 masts sits at dock with a 2-masted ship to its right
At left, 3-masted barque Picton Castle (out of Nova Scotia) docked at Erie Maritime Museum, with schooner Lettie G. Howard on the right; you can just see the head of the giant yellow rubber duck between the two ships (photo Erie Maritime Museum)
The weekend of Aug. 22-25, the Section of Archaeology of The State Museum of Pennsylvania traveled to Erie to attend the Tall Ships event organized by Tall Ships America in conjunction with the Erie Maritime Museum & U.S. Brig Niagara, the Flagship Niagara League, and other local organizations. Featured were 13 sailing vessels and the world's largest rubber duck and her baby. The event, held in Erie every three years, is a celebration of maritime culture and technology from a bygone era and was attended by roughly 30,000 visitors.

Large wooden dugout canoe with 2 people inside, also banners and tables in convention center
State Museum archaeology curators Janet Johnson (front) and Kurt Carr in the 20-foot dugout canoe (photo Judy Hawthorn)
Members of the Section of Archaeology, curators Kurt Carr and Janet Johnson and volunteer Judy Hawthorn, were based at Erie's Bayfront Convention Center to promote the State Museum and Pennsylvania archaeology. Their exhibit featured the dugout canoe, guaranteed to attract visitors of all ages, and included the stone adzes used to make it. This was a joint public outreach program involving the State Museum and the Erie Maritime Museum. Local arrangements were facilitated by Linda Bolla (Erie Maritime Museum), Marcus Masternak (Tall Ships Erie 2019), and Rebecca Grimaldi (Tall Ships Erie 2019). Negotiating a 20-foot dugout in and out of the convention center with tens of thousands of visitors was very tricky, but with their help, there were very few problems.

News reporter seated in dugout canoe while cameraman records video
Erie's ABC24 reporter Samiar Nefzi provides tv coverage of the canoe exhibit (photo Judy Hawthorn)
The State Museum team spoke to 4,500 or so during the three-day event and distributed the Section's brochure series that covers a wide range of subjects in 10 different pamphlets, from pre-contact times to the archaeology of the late 19th century. The team found that in addition to the dugout, visitors were also very interested in Pennsylvania history, archaeology and natural science. They were especially interested in the archaeology of the Erie area.

View of exhibit galleries at Erie Maritime Museum
Many Tall Ships visitors also checked out the indoor exhibits at the Erie Maritime Museum (photo Erie Maritime Museum)
The Erie Maritime Museum was open throughout Tall Ships, hosting the tall ship, Picton Castle, and welcoming visitors with tours and programs designed to help them learn about U.S. Brig Niagara, the Battle of Lake Erie, Erie's maritime heritage during and after the War of 1812. There were hands-on activities for kids, and storyteller Perry Ground, a Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation, was on hand to share Haudenosaunee (also known as Iroquois) stories with visitors. Visit the Erie Maritime Museum Facebook page and the U.S. Brig Niagara Facebook page for more photos from the weekend. The next Tall Ships Erie event will be in 2022.

Man in traditional Onondaga dress points to sky as he tells story to audience
Perry Ground telling a traditional Haudenosaunee story in the museum's orientation theater (photo Erie Maritime Museum)