Bring on 2021!

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're planning ahead. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings, available whenever you need a taste of the Trails of History.

Sprigs of holly, winterberry, pine, and boxwood in a splint basket with a gold ribbon sits on porch
This will be the last Trailheads post for 2020, as we take a little break until after the new year. However you're celebrating in the coming week, I hope that you are safe, warm, have plenty of good food, and get to spend time with people you love, be it in person or remotely. As we wave goodbye to this unexpectedly awful year, I want to thank my colleagues for their inspiring and resilient work to keep history alive and well and in front of the public. And as we ring in 2021 with as much optimism as we can muster, I hope that we will soon be welcoming people back on site in person, while continuing to use all these new skills. Watch for news of new virtual events and tours coming in 2021.

Zoom screen with 2 rows of 3 people. Caption reads "Okay everyone, welcome to the PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase for the month of"
Speaking of virtual programs, PHMC's first Virtual Collections Showcase went off without a hitch this past Saturday. Hosted by Josh Roth, site administrator at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, the program featured presentations by staff at Eckley Miners' Village, Old Economy Village, Pennsbury Manor, Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, and Pennsylvania Military Museum. Each site chose an object from their collection to illustrate this month's theme, food, and had five minutes to highlight their choice.

Photo 1920s still for making alcohol. Looks like a metal stove with several vessels connected by tubes.
Screenshot of Eckley Miners' Village still with gallery of presenters

Objects included a homemade still, cookie cutters, a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin (living collections are part of what we do), a 1941 Christmas dinner menu from the Civilian Conservation Corps, and military rations. Several presenters shared recipes (check out boilo, gingerbread cookie, and pumpkin pie recipes, plus some bonus material). We had some lively back and forth among the staff, answering audience questions and building on each other's presentations. Near the end of the showcase, audience members had a chance to vote on their favorite object via a Zoom poll. The Eckley Miners' Village still and the Pennsylvania Military Museum's rations tied for first place and will share the PHMC championship belt until the next showcase.

We recorded the program and hope to have it available soon on PHMC's YouTube channel. We plan to offer these programs monthly and are finalizing plans for January. Keep an eye on the PHMC Calendar of Events for details.

Bearded man in white shirt and blue tie holds a wrestling belt with medallions on it, center medallion has the PHMC logo on it in blue
You thought I was joking about the championship belt, didn't you? Kudos to Josh Roth.

Christmas Programming

There's still time to get your tickets for "Witness to History," this year's online version of Ephrata Cloister's popular Lantern Tours. Student historians will fill the roles of residents and field reporters on scene of the Revolutionary War hospital at Ephrata in the winter of 1777-78. WGAL 8's Jere Gish will anchor the broadcast, and there may be some breaking news. The program premieres Saturday, Dec. 26 at 7 pm, but ticketholders will have access to the recording until the end of the month. Purchase tickets via Ticketleap for $10 per viewing screen.

Pennsbury Manor has been counting down to Christmas on its Facebook page by exploring the "history of Christmas in William Penn's life and legacy." You can learn about how Chrismas was (and wasn't) celebrated in the 17th-century. You can also enjoy some modern celebration, such as this Christmas greeting from the Pennsbury Manor stables.

Selected Greetings from the Pennsylvania Trails of History

Starting today everyday has a little bit more of Light!

Posted by Conrad Weiser Homestead on Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christmas is right around the corner. This is a piece from the Landis Family Collection....

Posted by Landis Valley Museum on Monday, December 21, 2020

It’s a silent night at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. @rrmuseumpa #rrmuseumofpa...

Posted by Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania on Thursday, December 24, 2020

From the Museum Educator: For my final post of 2020, I share with you a photograph I took of one of the front doors of...

Posted by Old Economy Village on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Click here to watch the videos and to see other great videos!

Posted by Landis Valley Museum on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

These are just a few of the friendly faces you might see at Historic Hope Lodge. As an all volunteer nonprofit...

Posted by Historic Hope Lodge on Monday, December 21, 2020

Throwback Thursday features Christmas Past at the Homestead! Most of our current traditions can be traced directly to...

Posted by Daniel Boone Homestead on Thursday, December 24, 2020

What's on Your Watchlist?

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're planning ahead; I've highlighted some events below. The Trailheads Rec Room has all kinds of online offerings, available whenever you need a taste of the Trails of History.

Text reads: What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase. This month's theme: Food! Saturday, Dec. 19, 2pm EST. Zoom registration link. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

It's not too late to register for the inaugural episode of our new series, "What's In a Theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase," set for 2 pm tomorrow, Dec. 19. In tomorrow's program, staff from five Trails of History sites will present objects related to food, this month's theme. The audience (that's you!) will get to vote on which object best embodies the theme. We did a trial run of the program last month, and it was lots of fun. It's a quick way to learn about our collections, our sites, and our staff. Please join us for what is sure to be this season's breakout hit (okay, maybe I've had too much sugar, but you won't regret tuning in). Check out the Facebook event for more info and the registration link.

Last week's post included info about Cornwall Iron Furnace's Christmas at Cornwall 2020, which debuted last Saturday. In place of the on-site activities originally planned, site staff and volunteers created a series of videos that are now available on YouTube to watch at your leisure. They vary in length and topic. Since we're talking about food (when am I not?), I'll point out that two feature cooking demos and recipes.
Two story wooden building in the background with snow on the ground and in the trees. A dozen lanterns are lighted and in a row in the front of the image.
Lantern light is an important part of December programming at Ephrata Cloister (photo by Donald Reese)
If you missed the Christmas at the Cloister virtual event earlier this week, you can still purchase a link to the recording (and support the site in the bargain). On Dec. 26, Ephrata will premiere this year's Lantern Tour program, adapted to a "You Are There" inspired virtual event. Student volunteers will play the roles of modern-day field reporters and 18th-century folks to tell the story of the Revolutionary War hospital at Ephrata in 1777-78. Local news anchor Jere Gish will be "in the studio" receiving the reporters' info (those of us of a certain age will remember Walter Cronkite in this capacity). The Facebook event has details and the link to purchase tickets ($10 per viewing screen). The event will livestream starting at 7 pm on Saturday, Dec. 26; ticket holders will have access to a recording following the livestream.

Happening Today

  • The State Museum of Pennsylvania, noon-1 pm - Fine Arts Curator Amy Hammond will talk with artists Brian Skalaski and Amy Edwards, whose work is included in this year's Art of the State exhibit. Visit the Art of the State 2020 page to register for today's free Virtual Artists Conversation.
  • The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, 7-9 pm - test your knowledge of history, geography, science & technology, sports, and popular culture at Virtual Trivia Night. Tickets are $10 for individuals, $30 for teams of up to 4 people, and $50 for teams of up to 8. Register online to get your party started.

How was Your Week?

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're planning ahead; I've highlighted the coming week's events below. The Trailheads Rec Room has all kinds of online offerings, available whenever you need a taste of the Trails of History.

How was your week? Like all the others, because time has no meaning anymore? Or were there milestones that set this week apart? If you're celebrating Hanukkah, I wish you lots of light and peace.

Several Trails of History-related items came across my screen this week that may be of interest. No matter how my week is going, I'm always happy to share what my colleagues are up to.

A small brown redware jug and a larger light colored jug on either side of a large orange redware plate with lines
Objects on display in Landis Valley's redware exhibit (photo from website)

Earlier this week, PA Museums announced this year's recipients of the organization's Special Achievement Awards. Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum received an Institutional Award of Merit for their two-part exhibit, "Thrown, Fired, and Glazed: The Redware Tradition from Pennsylvania and Beyond." Congratulations to curator Jennifer Royer and all the folks who put together this wide-ranging and comprehensive exhibit of redware and related objects. Part two of the exhibit, which opened in March just as COVID-19 caused the closure of Trails of History sites, has been extended through June of 2021. In the meantime, you can enjoy an online version of the exhibit on Landis Valley's website. Another Trails of History site, Fort Pitt Museum (which is managed by the Heinz History Center), also received a PA Museums award for their exhibit, "Pittsburgh, Virginia."

A white woman with glasses wears a knit hat with a Dr. Who Tardis design and a multi colored sweater
Drake Well educator Sarah Goodman honoring Dr. Who (screenshot from video)

Staff and board members at Drake Well Museum and Park marked "Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day" with a series of short videos. Each person noted when and where they would travel if they could go anywhere in time. Strangely, they all picked oil heritage events or locations, so their videos are great snapshots of oil region history. You can access them all through Drake Well's Facebook page.

All of Pennsbury Manor's Holly Nights at Home videos are now available on their Facebook page, including craft activities, music, and a Manor House tour (Holly Nights at Home 2020 playlist).

On a far more somber note, the Pennsylvania Military Museum moved their annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute program mostly online. You can watch the recording below - the audio of site administrator Tyler Gum's remarks is a little hard to hear, but the sound of "Taps" is unmistakable.

Upcoming Events

Text reads: What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase. This month's theme: Food! Saturday, Dec. 19, 2pm EST. Zoom registration link. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Sneak preview: on Dec. 19 at 2 pm, we are premiering a new series, "What's In a Theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase," which brings you a look at objects from a variety of Trails of History sites all in one program. The December theme is "Food." Check out the Facebook event for more info and the registration link.

Tomorrow, Dec. 12
  • Cornwall Iron Furnace, Christmas at Cornwall video series - through Dec. 17, Cornwall will premiere a new video each day, presenting elements of the Christmas at Cornwall program they debuted last year. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for video links each day.
  • Old Economy Village, Virtual Meet Belsnickel - even Belsnickel has learned to Zoom, so kids can still visit with Santa's German helper. There's still time to sign up for the link. Program takes place at 11 am.
  • Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, Boats Ships, and Us! the Mayflower - an online lecture kicking off a new series in cooperation with other maritime museums. Check the Facebook event for registration info. 2-3 pm.
  • Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, Christmas Tree Ship Lighting - join the festivities online for the annual lighting of the ship and a reading of the book, The Christmas Tree Ship. This will be live via Facebook, 5:30-5:45 pm.
Sunday, Dec. 13
  • Pennsylvania Military Museum, Miracle at Hungnam - Dr. Michael E. Lynch, senior historian and asst. prof. at the US Army Heritage and Education Center, will present an online lecture exploring the evacuation of the port of Hungnam, North Korea, in December 1950. Register for the Zoom link. 2-3 pm.
Monday, Dec. 14
  • Ephrata Cloister, Christmas at the Cloister - enjoy this long-standing program of music and readings online via Zoom, with recordings of the Ephrata Cloister Chorus and guest musicians, the Bensing Strings. Ticket purchasers will have access to the program for viewing through the end of December. Tickets are $10 per screen; you'll receive a link to view the livestream. Visit the Facebook event for details and ticket link. 7-8:30 pm.
Tuesday, Dec. 15
  • Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, PA German Christmas and Other Unique Holiday Traditions - this presentation will share information about holiday folklore and traditions of the Pennsylvania Germans. Register for the Zoom link. 7-8 pm.
Wednesday, Dec. 16
  • POSTPONED (per FB post) Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Pioneer Steam Heritage Virtual Tour - this program offers an in-depth virtual tour of two iconic steam locomotives, the "John Bull" and the "Tahoe," as well as the Camden & Amboy No. 3 and Cumberland Valley passenger coaches. Tickets are by donation, and the Facebook event has registration info. 7-8 pm.

What's Up, December?

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar for upcoming events (I've highlighted some below). The Trailheads Rec Room pages to the right of your screen will lead you to online offerings available 24/7. There's a new page this week highlighting virtual exhibits on the Trails of History.
Image shows divided window panes. A lighted candle in a glass chimney is in the center with greenery at its base. Text reads Holly Nights at Home.
Photo via Pennsbury Manor's Facebok page

Today, December 4

  • Pennsbury Manor's "Holly Nights at Home" continues on Facebook, with video greetings and activities. The videos will remain available, so you can experience this year's virtual event on your schedule.
View of large two-story brick house. The street in front is covered in snow and a street light shows snow is still falling.
Recent snow in western PA, as captured at Old Economy Village (photo via Facebook)

Saturday, December 5

Men in military uniform gathered for tribute ceremony under two long gray battleship guns. A podium flanked by flags is in the background.
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute at PA Military Museum, Dec. 7, 2019 (photo via Facebook)

Monday, December 7

  • Pennsylvania Military Museum, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute, takes place under the guns of the USS Pennsylvania, which was present at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The event will be open to the public via Facebook this year (visit the museum's Facebook page to watch). 12:45 pm.
Brown stone iron furnace building with gothic windows. Snow covers the roof and the grass next to it.
It snowed a bit in southcentral PA too, as seen at Cornwall Iron Furnace (photo via Facebook)

Tuesday, December 8

  • Cornwall Iron Furnace, virtual lecture, Cornwall Oral History Project, 1980-1982, presented by Brett Reigh of the Pennsylvania State Archives, 7-8 pm (check Facebook event to register for Zoom link)