One Thing Leads to Another

We have delayed reopening PHMC's Trails of History sites, which includes The State Museum of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Archives, until further notice. The July program page lists online events that you may want to check out; updates on site schedules will also be made there.

See if you can follow my train of thought (spoiler alert: it's not a long train...or a high-speed one for that matter):

Left third of image shows rows of white archival boxes on metal shelves. Right two-thirds is close-up view of one box with a label detailing the contents. Heading on label is Pennsylvania State Archives
Rows of archival boxes at the Pennsylvania State Archives (photo via Facebook)
On July 22 and 29 at 10 am, join archivist Josh Stahlman for free webinars on PHMC's Historical and Archival Records Care (HARC) Grants. Stahlman, grants manager for the HARC program, will provide a brief overview of eligibility and guidelines and offer tips for a competitive proposal. Questions will be answered throughout the presentation. Register online for either date.

In early June, the Science History Institute partnered with the American Philosophical Society to present "Deciphering the Past: An Introduction to Transcription." The webinar provided an overview of transcription projects going on around the country. It also explored issues related to transcribing historical documents and the nuances of different types of documents. It includes a transcription exercise near the end. Whether you're actually transcribing or not, there are some useful tips for deciphering manuscript documents. The webinar lasts about an hour - you can watch it below or go directly to YouTube at your leisure.

This spring Sarah Buffington, curator at Old Economy Village, posted a call for volunteers on Facebook to help with a data entry project. OEV has typewritten lists of Harmony Society correspondence that had been compiled over the years, but they needed help entering the information so that it can be searched and sorted by staff and other researchers. Sarah tells me that the Facebook post garnered several volunteers, who have worked on the project remotely during the COVID-19 closures. Thanks to these volunteers, the amount of work still to do has been greatly reduced. Kudos!

Typewritten list of names in alphabetical order by last name
Excerpt from Old Economy Village list of Harmony Society correspondents (photo via Facebook)

The Science History Institute identified their transcription webinar as being part of a new social media initiative called Museum Survival Kit, which seeks to share the skills and knowledge that museums and historic sites preserve and interpret and show their relevance to the challenges we currently face (the tagline for the project is "Our Ancestors Knew Some Stuff"). If you're interested in learning more or contributing to the kit, visit the Museum Survival Kit website or find them on Twitter (@MuseumKit) or search hashtag #MuseumSurvivalKit on Facebook or Twitter.

Trails of History sites are actively engaged in researching, preserving, and sharing historical knowledge with audiences of all ages. The pandemic has interrupted public programming and school visits, but the work continues. I'm inspired every day by my PHMC colleagues who are so dedicated to helping people connect to the past in tangible ways that can lead to greater insights.

Here's an example of a program for younger audiences from Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara:

And because it's Friday, a little something from Pennsbury Manor for the over 21 set: a demonstration of 17th-century beer brewing and a conversation about historic and contemporary beer, breweries, and brewing. Enjoy!


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