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).