Snapshots from the Week

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs. I've highlighted events below, but there's more to see in the weeks ahead. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--available whenever you need some entertainment.

Text reads "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase"; Background image is a wooden wall and there are smaller images of a baseball uniform, a round metal ID tag, and a bowling trophy
See below for details on this month's Virtual Collections Showcase

If you're a regular reader of Trailheads, you know that a title like today's means you're in for a pretty random array of stuff. I mean, even more random than usual. Spring has sprung, so there were numerous posts from the Trails of History highlighting gardens and landscapes. Staff and volunteers are making preparations to welcome visitors in person again starting on Friday, April 30 (yay!). And Throwback Thursday is always good for some cool historical photos. So let's dive in, shall we?

News from the Trails

Lancaster Online reported on a writer who is walking from Washington, DC, to NYC. Neil King spent some time in the Lancaster area mid-week and posted on Instagram about his travels, including a twilight stop at Ephrata Cloister.

After catching a "mean game of softball" played by Mennonite ninth-graders Tuesday night, King capped off the eighth day of his trip in Ephrata. His final photo was of the Ephrata Cloister.

Posted by LNP + LancasterOnline on Wednesday, April 7, 2021


Old Economy Village's museum educator has been documenting and sharing the progress of an extensive capital project that will improve access at the site in all kinds of ways, including pathways, ramps, and an elevator.

From the Museum Educator: Here is a photograph of the new brick walkway leading to the cabinet shop.

Posted by Old Economy Village on Saturday, April 3, 2021

Gardens and More

Pennsbury Manor's historic gardens interpreter has been very busy with plantings this week.

Today's a BERRY big day in the Kitchen Garden! Our Historic Garden Interpreter Jessye is planting several 'bare root'...

Posted by Pennsbury Manor on Monday, April 5, 2021


The forsythia at Conrad Weiser Homestead is in full force.

Beautiful day at the Park!

Posted by Conrad Weiser Homestead on Saturday, April 3, 2021

Getting Ready to Reopen

The folks at Hope Lodge were doing some careful cleaning this week to get ready to welcome visitors. Operating schedules will vary by site, so please be sure to check ahead before visiting.

It’s cleaning day at Hope Lodge. Stay tuned for reopening details soon!

Posted by Historic Hope Lodge on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Throwback Thursday 100 Years

Cornwall Iron Furnace shared images of Bethlehem Steel's Number Three Mine in Cornwall, which opened 100 years ago. The images are from the Dewey Bernard Archival Collection.

Happy Throwback Thursday! One hundred years ago Bethlehem Steel began to develop the Number Three Mine at Cornwall. ...

Posted by Cornwall Iron Furnace on Thursday, April 8, 2021

Upcoming Virtual Events

Today, April 9
  • "Adventures in Nature Lab," learn about vernal ponds and the plants and animals who need them to survive, The State Museum of PA, 12:15-12:45 pm EDT (SMP link to register)
Tuesday, April 13
  • "Historical Markers of the Lebanon Valley," Henry Deemer takes you on a tour of state historical markers, Cornwall Iron Furnace, 7-8 pm EDT (CIF Facebook link to register)
Wednesday, April 14
  • Story Reading, "The Caboose Who Got Loose" (written and illustrated by Bill Peet), Railroad Museum of PA, 10-10:30 am EDT (RMP YouTube channel to view)
  • "Dawn of Diesel Locomotives," Railroad Museum of PA, 7-8 pm EDT, tickets are by donation (Eventbrite link to register)
Thursday, April 15
  • "Power of Steam," live virtual tour and demo, Railroad Museum of PA, 7-8 pm EDT, tickets are by donation (register on Eventbrite)
  • "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase," this month's theme is Sports, 7-8 pm EDT (Facebook link to register)

Happy It's April

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs. I've highlighted events below, but there's more to see in the weeks ahead. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--available whenever you need some entertainment.

Looking out from upper floor of building we see a wooden sided building at 90 degree angle as well as two smaller buildings
A lovely view looking out from the Sisters' House (Saron) at Ephrata Cloister (photo via Facebook)

April Fool's Day

Lots of museums posted on social media for April Fool's Day. I found two very different Trails of History posts (if I missed one, please let me know and I'll add it here).

Pennsbury Manor did a bit of virtual redecorating of their beehives.

Bee-roque Decor 🐝 Having run out of spaces in the Manor House to decorate, we've turned our attention to renovating our...

Posted by Pennsbury Manor on Thursday, April 1, 2021


And the Pennsylvania Military Museum joked about activating (with blanks, of course) the 14-inch guns from the USS Pennsylvania.

The 14-inch/45 caliber guns of the USS Pennsylvania are an appreciated spectacle at the Pennsylvania Military Museum. ...

Posted by Pennsylvania Military Museum on Thursday, April 1, 2021


Looking Ahead

Text reads "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase" Background image is a wooden wall and there are smaller images of a baseball uniform, a round metal ID tag, and a bowling trophy

The April edition of "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase" is scheduled for Thursday, April 15, at 7 pm. The theme is sports, in honor of the opening of baseball season. Many of the featured objects are related to baseball, but you'll also learn about boxing in the US Armed Forces and an International Ladies' Garment Workers Union bowling league. The program is free and will be offered via Zoom (more info and the link for registration is on Facebook).

The State Museum of Pennsylvania has announced the deadline for submissions to this year's Art of the State juried exhibition. Entries will be accepted online from artists and craftspeople from throughout Pennsylvania through May 28 at 11:59 pm. Visit the Art of the State page on the museum's website for details. The Art of the State exhibit is slated to open on September 26. 

Calendar of Virtual Events

Today, April 2
  • "Artists Conversations," fine arts curator Amy Hammond with artist and educator Tina Williams Brewer, The State Museum of PA, 12:15-12:45 pm (SMP Facebook page to register)
Wednesday, April 7
  • "Story Reading," How to Train a Train (by Jason Carter Eaton with illustrations by John Rocco), Railroad Museum of PA, 10 am (watch on RMP's YouTube channel)
Thursday, April 8
  • "Virtual Field Trip to Harmony, New Harmony, Economy, and Zoar," Ephrata Cloister, 9 am-3 pm, $20 (Ticketleap link for tickets)
  • "Talking Back: Women's Voices in the Oil Story," third lecture "Working Out of Bounds: Women's Labor in Pennsylvania's Early Oil Industry," Drake Well Museum & Park, 7-8:30 pm (link for registration)

Keep Moving Forward

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs. I've highlighted events below, but there's more to see in the weeks ahead. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--available whenever you need some entertainment.
Two ducks float down a stream with trees and rocks on the banks
These ducks are among the 24 different bird species found at Daniel Boone Homestead, according to an inventory conducted as part of the Site Master Plan process (photo via DBH Facebook)

This week we announced that PHMC sites and museums, which have been closed for a year due to Covid 19, will reopen with reduced hours of operation and limited capacity on Friday, April 30. (Those of us in administrative offices, including Trailheads HQ, the Pennsylvania State Archives, and the State Historic Preservation Office, will continue to primarily telework for the time being.)

We'll be following CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines related to face masks, social distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning, and capacity limits. Each site has been working on reopening plans to determine how their specific operations will be adjusted. You can find the general guidelines on PHMC's Welcome Back page, but you'll want to check the websites for individual sites to be sure of schedules and so that you know what to expect when you arrive. But that's always good advice, isn't it?

We don't expect to have large events at Trails of History sites until the fall, and staff will focus on general site activities at first. We also know that some folks aren't yet ready to visit in person. So virtual programming will continue to be part of our offerings for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned to this space, PHMC's website, and your favorite Trails of History sites for updates and program listings. Thanks for hanging in there with us.

Upcoming Virtual Events

Today, March 26
  • Learn at Lunchtime, "State Museum Perspectives," a conversation with the museum's archaeology staff about their excavations at Fort Hunter, 12:15-12:45 pm (link for Zoom registration)
Saturday, March 27
  • Cerddoriaeth & Ceol: Welsh and Irish Anthracite Music Traditions, PA Anthracite Heritage Museum, $5, 2-4 pm (Eventbrite link for details and tickets)
  • Life-Saving Service Lecture series, "Station Presque Isle/Erie History," Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, 2-3 pm (Facebook event link for registration)
  • Historic Arms of the Museum, PA Military Museum, 2-3 pm (Facebook link for registration)
Sunday, March 28
  • Korean Service Corps (lecture), PA Military Museum, 2-3 pm (PMM website link to register)
Tuesday, March 30
  • Harmonist Woodworking Tools, virtual walk-through of the Harmonist cabinet shop, Old Economy Village, 7-8 pm (Facebook event link for registration)
Wednesday, March 31
  • Homeschool Presentation: Tonight's Sky, live chat with the State Museum of PA planetarium director, 10-11 am (State Museum website for registration)
  • Story Reading, "I Knew You Could," by Craig Dorfman with illustrations by Cristina Ong, Railroad Museum of PA, 10 am (watch on RMP's YouTube channel)
  • Life-Saving Service Lecture series, "USCG Operations During Prohibition," Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, 7-8 pm (EMM Facebook event for registration)
Thursday, April 1
  • Winter History Class, Week 9, Ephrata Cloister, $10, 9 am-noon (Ephrata website for registration)
  • Simple Machines: Railroad Edition, designed for ages 7-12, Railroad Museum of PA, 4-5 pm (link for tickets by donation)
  • Talking Back: Women's Voices in the Oil Story series, "Privilege & Politics: Women's Activism in the Oil Region, 1880-1921," Drake Well Museum & Park, 7-8 pm (Facebook event for registration)

Spring is Here, Maybe

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs. I've highlighted events below, but there's more to see in the weeks ahead. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--available 24/7.

A robin stands on a sidewalk with a brick path behind it and looks for a worm in the grass.
David Miller, museum educator at Old Economy Village, snapped this sign of spring recently (photo via OEV Facebook page)

Signs of Spring

I'm not going to jinx it by saying too much, but spring officially arrives tomorrow. Shhh. Don't scare it away. As you can see from the photo above, Trails of History sites are starting to post hopeful signs that warmer weather will stick around now and not just taunt us with "fake spring." I choose to believe it. For now.

What are your favorite signs of spring? Birds? Flowers? Mud? Ordering seeds? Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum recently shared an object from their collection, a countertop seed packet display case, to help us all get ready for spring.

Another seed post....can you tell that the staff of Landis Valley Museum are ready for Spring. To learn more about this...

Posted by Landis Valley Museum on Monday, March 15, 2021

Saint Patrick's Day

To mark the day when lots of people celebrate their Irish roots, Eckley Miners' Village posted about a scrapbook in their collection related to the filming of The Molly Maguires.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Today we are going to showcase recent artifact donations to Eckley Miner's Village; two...

Posted by Eckley Miners' Village Museum on Wednesday, March 17, 2021


And the Erie Maritime Museum paid tribute to U.S Navy sailor Patrick Murphy, an Irish immigrant who served twice on USS Michigan and is buried in Erie, with a Medal of Honor marker on his grave.

A career #UnitedStatesNavy sailor, Patrick Murphy immigrated to the United States from Waterford, Ireland. Upon settling...

Posted by Erie Maritime Museum on Wednesday, March 17, 2021


Women's History Month

Among this week's posts highlighting women's history, Ephrata Cloister shared the story of Barbara Keiper who came to Ephrata in her late teens to care for aging members of the community.

Barbara Keiper (b. December 20, 1771) came to Ephrata in her late teens to care for the aging members living in the...

Posted by Historic Ephrata Cloister on Tuesday, March 16, 2021


And Hope Lodge posted about Susanna Heath Morris, a Quaker who traveled extensively as a preacher and whose son Samuel was the builder and first owner of Hope Lodge.

Today for Women's History Month we celebrate Susanna Heath Morris, mother of Samuel Morris, the builder and first owner...

Posted by Historic Hope Lodge on Saturday, March 13, 2021


Upcoming Virtual Events

Today, March 19
  • Learn at Lunchtime series, The State Museum of PA, "Deadly Contact: Europeans, Native Americans, and Pandemics," 12:15-12:45 pm (SMP Facebook to register)
Saturday, March 20
  • Boats, Ships, and Us series, Erie Maritime Museum and US Brig Niagara, "Tragedy of the Sultana," 2-3 pm (EMM Facebook to register)
Tuesday, March 23
Wednesday, March 24
  • Homeschool Presentation series, The State Museum of PA, "Pennsylvania Habitats," 10-11 am (SMP website to register)
Thursday, March 25

Charter Day Celebrations Continue

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs. I've highlighted events below, but there's more to see in the weeks ahead. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--available 24/7.

Two-story brick manor house at Pennsbury Manor in background with a purple crocus up close to camera. Text reads "Happy Charter Day!"
Pennsbury Manor celebrates Charter Day (photo via Pennsbury Facebook page)

Before we take another look at Charter Day (last week's post started things off), I have to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of Covid-19, officially declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Each of us has had our own Covid journey. Things seem to be looking more hopeful now, with vaccines more widely distributed. But that doesn't change any of the losses that have been part of the past year for many. I have no eloquence to offer here, I just want to acknowledge this milestone that comes with so many mixed emotions.

PHMC's Virtual Charter Day celebration continues with online programs and resources. Visit the Charter Day 2021 landing page to find videos, puzzles, and links to all kinds of info on Pennsylvania's 1681 Charter.

Usually when we talk about the charter, we use an image of the first page. One of the videos featured on the landing page is a look at pages 2 and 3 with Joshua Stahlman, archivist with the Pennsylvania State Archives.



This Sunday, March 14, at 4 pm, Pennsbury Manor and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will "Dive into the PA Charter" with a look at various drafts of the document. The event is free, but you'll need to register in advance to get the Zoom link (Pennsbury Manor's Facebook page has details).

During the past week, the folks at Conrad Weiser Homestead have posted birthday greetings from members of reenactment groups and volunteers who make the site's programming possible. I'm sharing one below and you can find more on the Conrad Weiser Homestead Facebook page.



At Ephrata Cloister, March doesn't just bring Charter Day, it's also the birthday of founder Conrad Beissel (March 1, 1691). The site posted a 10-minute video in honor of both. You can find it on Ephrata's YouTube channel.

On Tuesday evening, we presented a special edition of the PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase in honor of Charter Day. The theme (we always have a theme) was birthdays and other celebrations. One of the contenders was the Pennsylvania Military Museum, highlighting people in military service celebrating birthdays away from home. The post below shows 1st Lieutenant Peggy Finn Reno, US Army, whose family sent her a birthday cake in Vietnam to help her celebrate.

1st Lieutenant Peggy Finn Reno, US Army, Vietnam War "Peggy (Finn) Reno (1945-2019) was born and raised in Harrisburg,...

Posted by Pennsylvania Military Museum on Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Upcoming Virtual Events

Today, March 12
  • Learn at Lunchtime, The State Museum of PA, learn about Pennsylvania songbirds, 12:15 pm (State Museum Facebook to register)
Saturday, March 13
  • Virtual Armor Tour, PA Military Museum, see inside military vehicles, 2 pm (PMM Facebook page to register)
Sunday, March 14
Thursday, March 18
  • Winter History Class Week 7, Ephrata Cloister, 9 am (Ephrata website for details)
  • Workin' on the Railroad, Railroad Museum of PA, program for grades K-6, 4 pm (Eventbrite for tickets)
  • History of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and Early U.S. Coast Guard, Erie Maritime Museum, 7 pm (EMM Facebook for details)

Virtual Charter Day

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs. Charter Day related events are highlighted below, but there's plenty of others on the calendar. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--check it out when you're looking for something interesting.
Original Charter of PA: rectangular document with drawing of King Charles II in upper left corner. Other drawings decorate and text of document, all in iron gall ink.
First page of the 1681 Charter (photo via PA Trails of History Facebook page)

Fans of the Pennsylvania Trails of History are no doubt familiar with Charter Day, our annual celebration of Pennsylvania's birthday. In 1681, King Charles II, in payment of debts owed to Admiral William Penn, conveyed the land we call Pennsylvania to the admiral's son. Of course the story is far more complicated and includes lots of other people already living on this land. Still, it is a good day for us to highlight the history of the commonwealth and encourage people to learn more about it. This year, we'll celebrate online, since we can't yet gather in person. Starting on Sunday, March 7, and continuing through Friday, March 12, PHMC's website will have a special Charter Day 2021 landing page with links to planned activities (link added I'll add the link here when it's available, in the meantime the official press release has info).

Sunday, March 7

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will debut 5 new videos that highlight each of the platforms in the museum's Rolling Stock Hall. The videos will feature rail cars and locomotives, new exhibit elements, popular features, and behind-the-scenes info.
  • Track 1: Tahoe locomotive No. 20, Reading locomotive No. 1251, and TrainWorks interactive area
  • Track 2: H&BT cabin car No. 16, John Bull locomotive, GP30 locomotive No. 2233, and Innovation Giants exhibit section
  • Track 3: GG1 locomotive No. 4935, P58 coach No. 1651, Lotos Club Pullman car, and Track Workers exhibit
  • Track 4: Shay locomotive No. 1, Snow Plow, H6sb locomotive No. 2846, and Railway Post Office/Mail Sorting exhibit
  • Video 5: Restoration Shop and Pennsylvania Middle Division operating HO layout
Videos will be posted on social media and the Railroad Museum's YouTube channel, with a new video each hour from 11 am to 4 pm on Sunday, March 7. Once they premiere, you'll be able to find the videos on YouTube and the Railroad Museum's Facebook page.

The Anthracite Heritage Museum is offering a unique look at Pennsylvania history through stamps, with Tom Bowman, vice president of the Wyoming Valley Stamp Club and ambassador to the American Philatelic Society. The program will be live at 2 pm on Sunday, March 7, via Zoom (Anthracite's Facebook page has details).

Joseph Priestley House will post birthday greetings for Pennsylvania and Dr. Priestley, whose birthday is March 24, with video tours of several rooms in the house and a celebratory toast with Dr. Priestley's fizzy water.

The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum will open part two of "Then & Now," a virtual exhibit featuring archival photographs from the museum's collections alongside modern views of the same locations.

UPDATE: I'll list more site links here as I get more info. Check these out for Charter Day-related videos and more.
photos of birthday balloons, a glass slipper, and a silver pen and ink set. Main text reads "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase in Honor of Charter Day, Tuesday, March 9 at 7 pm EST"

Tuesday, March 9

In keeping with the theme for Charter Day, the March edition of "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase" will focus on birthdays and other celebrations. Folks from Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Erie Maritime Museum, the Pennsylvania Military Museum, and the Railroad Museum of PA will do 5-minute presentations about objects and stories in their collections. Then the audience will get to vote on their favorite or the one they think best exemplifies the theme. The event will be live at 7 pm via Zoom (the Facebook event has details for signing up). A recording will be available later on PHMC's YouTube channel, along with recordings of previous Showcases (Showcase playlist).

Waiting for March

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs; I've highlighted some below. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--great for when you need a break.
Side of two-story mansion with stuccoed wall. There is snow on the ground and floodlights cast shadows on the wall of the building.
Photo of Hope Lodge via Facebook
This is your (and my) reminder that it's still winter, no matter how much we want it to be spring already. We had some lovely snow this week, and as always, Trails of History sites posted wintry beauty. Don't be fooled (I say to myself) by the warmer temps of midweek. It's a trap.

Although Black History Month is coming to a close, Black History as American History doesn't end. Pennsbury Manor posted about their garden planning this week and efforts to reflect the foodways brought to Pennsylvania by enslaved Africans and their descendants. See the post below about adding scotch bonnet peppers. Pennsbury has also shared what their research shows about some of the people enslaved at Pennsbury, including Peter, a gardener, and Chevalier, who lived at Pennsbury for many years, some of them as a free man.

Our gardener, Jessye, has been poring over seed catalogs planning the garden for this coming season and she has picked...

Posted by Pennsbury Manor on Monday, February 22, 2021


Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum hosted a presentation by DCNR's Paul T. Fagley on African-American enrollees in the Civilian Conservation Corps. The presentation included film footage from Camp S-146 in Austin, PA, also known as Bark Shanty (CCC camps generally had names in addition to their numerical designations).

Here is a link to the historic CCC film footage from Co. 2336-C, Camp S-146, Austin PA, that was shown during last night...

Posted by Pennsylvania Lumber Museum on Thursday, February 25, 2021


For National Love Your Pet Day, Drake Well Museum and Park posted images from their collections that featured people and their pets.



Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara educator Chuck Johnson posted an inaugural live tour of the museum's exhibit of the recreated hull of the U.S. Brig Lawrence. Staff on the Trails of History continue to try new things as they expand our virtual offerings.



SNEAK PREVIEW: PHMC will be celebrating Pennsylvania's birthday, Charter Day, online this year, from March 7-12. Next week's post will have more details. Trails of History sites will present the next edition of the PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase on Tuesday, March 9 at 7 pm, with the theme "birthdays and other celebrations." Registration for the Zoom event is open now (link to register).

photos of birthday balloons, a glass slipper, and a silver pen and ink set. Main text reads "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase in Honor of Charter Day, Tuesday, March 9 at 7 pm EST"

Upcoming Virtual Events

Today, Feb. 26
  • Workin' On the Railroad, program for children K-6th grades, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, 10-11 am (tickets by donation, RMP info and registration)
  • Learn at Lunchtime, learn about virtual school program options, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, 12:15-12:45 pm (SMP info and registration)
Sunday, Feb. 28
  • America at War, discussion with Dr. Marc Blackburn about his military history podcast, Pennsylvania Military Museum, 2-3 pm (PMM info and registration)
Thursday, March 4

What Day Is It?

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs; I've highlighted some below. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--great for when you need a break.

This past week has offered a variety of opportunities for Trails of History sites to highlight items in their collections.

Black History Month

Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara posted an image of Cyrus Tiffany's fife, which is part of the museum's collection. As museum educator Charles Johnson notes in a linked blog post, Cyrus Tiffany was one of a number of Black sailors who served in Oliver Hazard Perry's fleet during the Battle of Lake Erie.

In celebrating #BlackHistoryMonth, the Erie Maritime Museum is home to a unique artifact pertaining to the...

Posted by Erie Maritime Museum on Friday, February 12, 2021


The State Museum of Pennsylvania has been sharing posts about Black Pennsylvanians featured in their Trailblazers exhibit. Among them is Daisy Lampkin (1883-1965), a native of Reading who was active in women's suffrage and anti-lynching movements.

Born in Reading, Daisy Lampkin held a lifelong commitment to advancing the rights of women and African Americans. She...

Posted by The State Museum of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, February 16, 2021


Valentine's Day

The PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase on Feb. 16 revolved around the theme of Love and Relationships. We hope to have the recording available in the next week or so. Keep an eye on the Showcase playlist on PHMC's YouTube channel. Spoiler alert: Old Economy Village won the night with a collection of coded love letters between two non-Harmonist members of the community. Our next Showcase will be March 9 at 7 pm with a theme of Birthdays and Other Celebrations, in honor of Pennsylvania's birthday, Charter Day.

Daniel Boone Homestead highlighted the heart-shaped holes in the barn gables on site, which served a practical purpose (ventilation) but may also reflect Pennsylvania German use of hearts as symbols of love, protection, and luck.

The Homestead "hearts" you! The heart shaped holes in the barn gables at Boone probably served as a ventilation for the...

Posted by Daniel Boone Homestead on Sunday, February 14, 2021


Presidents Day

Or more specifically, Lincoln's Birthday - PA Lumber Museum curator Josh Fox offered the latest installment of the hit series, "What chainsaw did that movie use?" Noting that Abraham Lincoln died about 80 years before chainsaws were widely available, Josh identifies the weapon wielded by the 16th President in the movie "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" (2012) as a Baltimore-Kentucky pattern axe. I'll take his word for it.

Happy Birthday to Abraham Lincoln!

Posted by Pennsylvania Lumber Museum on Friday, February 12, 2021


Black men in CCC uniforms stand in four rows with a CCC camp building behind them

Upcoming Virtual Events

Today, Feb. 19
Monday, Feb. 22
Tuesday, Feb. 23
Wednesday, Feb. 24
Thursday, Feb. 25

Marking Time

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're looking for virtual programs for the long weekend and beyond. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--great for when you're trying to stay warm.

Background is pink and white hearts with red squares for images and white text. Title of graphic reads "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase"

Please join us on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 7 pm for the next edition of "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase." Staff from the Erie Maritime Museum, Hope Lodge, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, Old Economy Village, Pennsbury Manor, and the PA Lumber Museum will have five minutes to present and discuss objects from their collections that all relate to this month's theme, "Love and Relationships." Once all presentations are made and the Q&A is complete, the audience will get to vote on their favorite object (or the one they think best fits the theme). This will be the third installment of our new series (previous episodes live on PHMC's YouTube channel). You won't want to miss it.

In honor of Black History Month, the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum shared a post about artist C. Edgar Patience, whose work is in the museum's collection and has a prominent place in the main exhibit hall.

African American artist C. Edgar Patience sculpted the two pieces highlighted today, each from a single piece of...

Posted by Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum on Sunday, February 7, 2021


Pennsylvania's First Lady, Frances Wolf, has launched "One Lens: Sharing Our Common Views," a project to document Pennsylvanians' COVID-19 experiences through a statewide virtual photography exhibit. PHMC is a partner in the project. Submissions will be accepted through March 8 (more info on submitting an entry).

For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Drake Well Museum and Park shared videos by geologist Kristin Carter, who serves as an advisor to Drake Well, and biologist Wendy Kedzierski, who volunteers at the site.

On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021, we are observing the 6th year of this event. This day was...

Posted by Drake Well Museum and Park on Thursday, February 11, 2021


And the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum shared a DCNR post about botanist Chris F., who works for the Bureau of Forestry and is a friend to the Lumber Museum.

In addition to being a WomanInScience, she's also a friend of the museum... Thanks for helping to care for Pennsylvania's forests, Chris!

Posted by Pennsylvania Lumber Museum on Wednesday, February 10, 2021


For Inventors Day, The State Museum of Pennsylvania highlighted (among others) our own Dr. Joseph Priestley and his work with identifying and isolating gases such as oxygen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

#DYK February 11 is #InventorsDay? Did you know that #Pennsylvania has some famous #inventors? What does Pennsylvania...

Posted by The State Museum of Pennsylvania on Monday, February 8, 2021

Six More Weeks of Winter

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're planning ahead. I've included some highlights below. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings--great for when you're trying to stay warm.

The limbs of a leafless tree against a gray winter sky. There is snow on the ground.
A stark, but beautiful, landscape at Pennsbury Manor (photo via Facebook)

So, before we could even start digging out from the latest snowstorm in southeastern PA (and elsewhere, of course), Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of this...stuff. Great. Well, at least it looks pretty, as evidenced by these posts from the Trails of History.

The folks at Cornwall Iron Furnace have a lot of snow to clear. Even though our sites are closed to the public, there are staff members reporting for work on site to keep everything maintained and safe.

We are still clearing snow here at Cornwall Iron Furnace. Show us your snow photos!

Posted by Cornwall Iron Furnace on Thursday, February 4, 2021


Ephrata Cloister always looks beautiful in the snow!

The site looks beautiful covered in snow!

Posted by Historic Ephrata Cloister on Thursday, February 4, 2021


In addition to clearing snow for people, site staff also are on site when there are animals to take care of, such as here at Pennsbury Manor.

Our barnyard residents are enjoying our beautiful site in the snow! ❄

Posted by Pennsbury Manor on Wednesday, February 3, 2021


Bushy Run Battlefield is the closest Trails of History site to Punxsutawney (I think).

It’s official, six more weeks of winter ❄️ it was prognosticated this morning by our neighbor to the northeast Punxsutawney Phil. #groundhogday #punxsutawneyphil #bushyrunbattlefield

Posted by Bushy Run Battlefield on Tuesday, February 2, 2021


Upcoming virtual events

Friday, Feb. 5 and 12
  • Learn at Lunchtime, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, 12:15-12:45 pm: today's (2/5) program is an artist conversation between fine arts curator Amy Hammond and photographer Ron Tarver (info and registration); next Friday (2/12), join Dr. Walter Meshaka, senior curator of zoology and botany, and nature educator Beth Erikson as they talk about how Pennsylvania's reptiles and amphibians survive winter (info and registration)
Thursday, Feb. 11
  • Winter History Class (Week 2), Ephrata Cloister, 9 am-noon: we're in week 2 of the 9-week class, and today's topics are compulsory military service during the American Revolution and illuminations in Ephrata and Snow Hill manuscripts and prints (info, registration, and complete class schedule)
  • ADDED: Ephrata Virtual Academy, 7-7:30 pm: enjoy a short presentation on artifacts in Ephrata's collection created by the PA Museum Extension Project in the 1930s as part of the Works Progess Administration (info and registration)
Tuesday, Feb. 16
  • What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase, 7-8 pm: this month's theme is Love and Relationships, in honor of Valentine's Day. Staff from six Trails of History sites will share objects related to the theme, and the audience will vote on their favorite (info and registration)

Virtual Groundhog Day?

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're planning ahead. I've included some highlights below. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of online offerings, available 24/7.

Groundhog, eating
A groundhog eating (credit D. Gordon, E. Robertson via Creative Commons)

In what is likely a first (hedging my bets, here), Punxsutawney Phil will deliver the annual prognostication of winter's length virtually. Since I've never gone to Gobbler's Knob in person and really don't like being out in the cold, it's all the same to me, although I know there are plenty of folks who love that sort of thing. Anyway, you'll find Phil and the gang at www.groundhog.org if you want to catch the excitement from home (I just might). I'm sure many of you know that Phil is not Pennsylvania's only whistlepig (and I'm not talking about his brother Gus). I haven't been able to find out info on all of them for this year. I can tell you that Octoraro Orphie is sitting this one out, but Mount Joy Minnie will make a prediction. (I know this is the content you all come to Trailheads for.)

Regardless of what the groundhogs predict, hopes for spring spring eternal on the Trails of History. Pennsbury Manor has announced a project to revitalize the Upper Court, or formal gardens, behind the Manor House. Gardens always require a degree of hope (and spring).

We are pleased to announce the launch of an exciting endeavor that will enhance the aesthetics and educational value of...

Posted by Pennsbury Manor on Wednesday, January 27, 2021


David Miller, museum educator at Old Economy Village, posted some descriptions of George Rapp's garden, along with a lovely image.

From the Museum Educator: When the Duke of Saxe-Weimar visited Economy in 1826 he had this to say about George Rapp’s...

Posted by Old Economy Village on Wednesday, January 27, 2021


And to get a start on your own garden, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum's Heirloom Seed Project has begun taking orders for seeds.

Whether your garden consists of a few pots on the patio or a full scale vegetable garden, nothing tops heirloom veggies!...

Posted by Landis Valley Museum on Wednesday, January 27, 2021


Of course, we have Bernie memes!

Historic Hope Lodge found Sen. Bernie Sanders, with his sensible coat, mask, and warm mittens, in the unheated (at the moment) parlor.

Welcome to Hope Lodge, Mr. Sanders. Better late than never!

Posted by Historic Hope Lodge on Saturday, January 23, 2021


Senator Sanders also, apparently, found his way into the black bear diorama in the State Museum's Mammal Hall.

How does he do it? #Bernie is welcome to visit when we reopen, but for now visit Mammal Hall 360 to see the dioramas -> statemuseumpa.org/PAMammalHall #BernieMemes2021 #pamammalhall #bernieatmuseums

Posted by The State Museum of Pennsylvania on Friday, January 22, 2021


And to everyone's astonishment, Bernie was able to climb aboard Oliver Hazard Perry's boat as he transferred from Lawrence to Niagara.

Wait. That's not how we remember it... #bernie #memes

Posted by Erie Maritime Museum on Thursday, January 21, 2021


Upcoming virtual events

Friday, January 29
Saturday, January 30
  • Boats, Ships, and Us: SS Keewatin, Erie Maritime Museum, 2-3 pm (info and registration)
  • An Industrial History Tour of Scotland, England, and Wales, Anthracite Heritage Museum, 2-3 pm (Zoom link)
Wednesday, February 3
  • Online Sail Training Course, week 1 of 6, Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, 6-7:30 pm (info and registration)
Thursday, February 4

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

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; it's ready when you are.

I know many of you have been watching the virtual programs that Trails of History sites have been offering since the pandemic began last spring. If you haven't, let me try to entice you with some previews of upcoming offerings and some links to programs you may have missed.

Snowshoe, mansion with snow on the ground, and a sled used by an undertaker that has a box for the coffin. Text reads "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase"

The second episode of our new series, "What's in a theme?" is scheduled for Tuesday evening, January 26, at 7 pm. The January theme is winter and cold weather. Presenters from Trails of History sites will show objects and images from their collections and the audience will vote on the one they think best illustrates the theme. The program is free, but registration is required to get the Zoom link (registration info). If you missed the premiere in December, the food-themed first episode is available on PHMC's YouTube channel.

The following evening, the industrial heritage sites on the Trails of History are teaming up to present "Reel History: Pennsylvania Industrial History at the Movies," a new series that kicks off with an exploration of industrial development, labor, and social history themes in the 1970 film, "The Molly Maguires." Fun fact: Eckley Miners' Village was one of the anthracite region venues for filming. View the movie at your leisure (it's currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, and YouTube), and then join the discussion via Zoom on January 27 at 7 pm (registration link).

Two multi-story wooden buildings sit at a 90 degree angle to each other on a grassy hill. A wooden footbridge is directly in front of the viewer, leading to a paved path that goes up the hill.
The Sisters' House and Saal at Ephrata Cloister (image via Facebook)

Ephrata Cloister's popular Winter History class will be offered online this year, starting on February 4 and continuing through April 1. That's especially good news for folks who aren't in the immediate area. You can sign up for the whole series of classes or for individual sessions, as your interest dictates. The full schedule, with details on each class, is available on Ephrata's website, along with instructions for registering by mail or online.

If you just can't get enough sea shanties (or if you want an antidote to the Wellerman earworm), Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara reminded us all this week about their Spotify playlist, featuring sailor songs recorded by The Hardtackers (Facebook post).

Apparently there’s a new trend with social media and shanties? #didyouknow you can follow the Erie Maritime Museum on...

Posted by Erie Maritime Museum on Saturday, January 16, 2021


Many Trails of History sites post the recordings of their virtual programs to Facebook and YouTube for folks who don't get a chance to watch live. Recent additions from The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and Old Economy Village can help you spend a quiet evening or weekend afternoon learning something new and interesting.

Bits and Pieces

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; it's ready when you are.

Twisted skeins of wool in multiple earth tones in a wooden basket
The twisted skein on top of the basket was dyed using onion skins. This photo from Daniel Boone Homestead's Facebook page reminded me of the sheep to shawl contest at the Pennsylvania Farm Show

Sometimes there's no theme

There's no point in pretending that I've had any real focus this past week. So let's just roll with it and explore some of the interesting images and info that our Trails of History Sites have been sharing.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show's live online programming continues through Saturday. Check out PHMC's Virtual Farm Show Booth for all kinds of good content.

Old Economy Village's museum educator posted this photo of a squirrel on the roof of the Community Kitchen. It made me smile, so I'm sharing it. David Miller and curator Sarah Buffington have shared lots of interesting images, objects, and info on Facebook. If you're not following Old Economy's page, you're missing out.

From the Museum Educator: On Saturday I was walking past the Community Kitchen and noticed a squirrel on one of the chimneys. Since I had my camera with me, I took some photos. Enjoy!

Posted by Old Economy Village on Tuesday, January 12, 2021


Hope Lodge explained and illustrated a prominent architectural feature on the mansion with a photo taken on a crisp winter day.

We often get lots of questions about the arched indentation in the wall above the door hood of the mansion. This is...

Posted by Historic Hope Lodge on Saturday, January 9, 2021


The State Museum of Pennsylvania shared a cool quilt pieced from almost 6,000 1-inch blocks.

Sometimes quilts are made from a single piece of fabric. In other instances, quilts are made from individual pieces of...

Posted by The State Museum of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, January 12, 2021


And Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara acknowledged the current popularity of sea shanties on TikTok.

Hey U.S. Brig Niagara, is it #seashanty o’ clock?

Posted by Erie Maritime Museum on Tuesday, January 12, 2021


Upcoming Events

Tuesday, January 19
  • Railroad Museum of PA, "Workin' on the Railroad," a virtual program geared to kids in grades K to 6, 10 am (info and registration)
Thursday, January 21
  • Drake Well Museum & Park, "The New World of COVID-19: Paradigm Shifts in the Petroleum Industry," a panel discussion exploring the effects of the pandemic on all facets of the petroleum industry, 12:30 pm (info and registration)
  • Somerset Historical Center, "It's a Hockey Night in Pittsburgh: 1893 to Today," presented by Larry Woods via the Heinz History Center Affiliates Program, 6:30 pm (info and registration)
Tuesday, January 26
  • Pennsylvania Trails of History, "What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase," a multi-site presentation on collections focused on the theme of winter and cold weather, 7 pm (info and registration)

Virtual Farm Show

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.
Three young white women in warm clothes stand next to a blue and gold historical marker, which is titled "Century Farm Program"
Photo from a previous year's in-person Pennsylvania Farm Show (PHMC photo)

Everything but the donuts (almost)

Traditionally (for a few years anyway), the first new Trailheads post of the year focuses on the Pennsylvania Farm Show and PHMC's participation. It is often one of the most popular posts. This year's Farm Show is taking place mostly online, which means no parking problems or waiting in the cold for a shuttle bus. But it also means [sob!] no Farm Show food (those of you in the Harrisburg area may be able to get potato donuts at your local Giant or Karns supermarket). Although it's not entirely the same without the smells of the animals or the food, this year's virtual Farm Show, January 9-16, means that those of you who can't get to Harrisburg anyway can enjoy the same events as everyone else. Check out the daily schedule of events (including a nightly food and beverage pairing) on the Farm Show website or follow the Farm Show Facebook page for updates.
An older African American man in cap, collared shirt,  and overalls outdoors holding a small piece of farm machinery with wheels and a chain on an incline
William Chester Ruth (1882-1971) demonstrates a model of one of his inventions, a self-lifting elevator for moving bales of hay and other agricultural materials into storage (photo from Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum virtual exhibit on his life, work, and family)


Once it goes live on January 9, you can visit PHMC's Virtual PA Farm Show Booth anytime you like. You'll find info about PHMC's programs, a link to Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum's virtual exhibit on inventor William Chester Ruth, the Pennsylvania State Archives Ancestry.com research assets, the State Museum of Pennsylvania's Mammal Hall exhibit, the historical marker scavenger hunt, and the Section of Archaeology's popular dugout canoe (and much more). So many stories to explore.

View through a doorway to a plaster wall with a square opening. The bottom steps of a wooden stairway are visible to the left.
View of one of the vaults at Old Economy Village (photo via Facebook)

Upcoming events

Saturday, January 9
  • Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara: Boats, Ships, and Us - The USS Pennsylvania - a collaborative online lecture with the PA Military Museum, 2 pm (link for info and registration)
Sunday, January 10
  • Pennsylvania Military Museum, online lecture, "The Korean War, 70 Years Later - U.S. Airpower," 2 pm (info and registration)
Tuesday, January 12
  • Old Economy Village, online lecture, "Vaults and Safes at Old Economy Village," 7 pm (info and registration)
Thursday, January 14
  • Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata Virtual Academy lecture, "An Illustrated History of Postcards with Ephrata Cloister and Other Views," 7 pm (info and registration)
  • Premiere of WQED Pittsburgh documentary, "Out of the Woods: Battlefields of Western Pennsylvania," which features, among other southwestern PA historic sites, Bushy Run Battlefield and Fort Pitt Museum (additional info)