History in Many Forms

History in Many Forms Please be sure to check the PHMC Events Calendar for information on upcoming programs (still mostly virtual). The Trailheads Rec Room pages to the right of your screen offer an array of online content generated by Trails of History sites.

Purple milk thistle flower with spiky leaves against a background of green
Milk thistle from Pennsbury Manor's garden posted for National Pollinator Week (photo via Pennsbury Facebook page)

History is all around us. People talk about it all the time, sometimes heatedly. It shapes who we are today, as individuals and as a society. And there are lots of ways to learn and encounter new information, no matter your age. A number of items came across my screen recently that I'd like to share for those of you out there who may want to engage with the past.

Obviously, an in-person visit to one of our Trails of History sites is a great way to explore (find the list of all on PHMC's website). And sure, other museums besides PHMC's can be a good thing too (PA Museums has a good online directory). But as we've learned over the past year, virtual history offerings can expand your access to stories and places that you can't visit in person.

Starting in December 2020, PHMC's Virtual Collections Showcase has brought a monthly exploration of a central theme through objects and images from a selection of Trails of History sites. I'm always impressed with the variety of stories site staff convey through these objects and fascinated by their different interpretations of each theme. If you're curious about the breadth and depth of PHMC's collections and the expertise of our staff, the showcase programs, I highly recommend the showcase programs. Our next event is July 20 at 7 pm with a theme of travel and destinations (watch this space for the Zoom link when it's available). We record each program, so you can check out the Collections Showcase playlist (with edited captions) on PHMC's YouTube channel.

Graphic of a steam locomotive with silhouettes of children on either side. Text reads "Barons and Builders Summer Day Camp"
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has two virtual day camps coming up in July and August designed for children ages 9 to 12. Campers will experience virtual tours of historic railroad equipment, participate in activities with instructors online and at home, engage in live discussions and interactions with railroad professionals, and collaborate with each other to solve challenges. Each camp will have three one-hour sessions, scheduled for Tuesday mornings at 10 am. The cost is $75 per camper; sessions will be offered via Zoom with activity kits sent to each camper's address. "Barons and Builders" camp will take place July 13, 20, and 27 (Barons & Builders registration link) and "Behind the Scenes of Railroading" camp is set for August 3, 10, and 17 (Behind the Scenes registration link).

I missed the first week of this, but there's still time to sign your family up for Bushy Run Battlefield's Summer History Club. Club participants will pick up a themed activity box at the site to enjoy at home and will receive a link for a YouTube video centered around that week's theme and activities. Upcoming dates are July 10, July 24, and August 7. The cost is $5 per session; pre-registration and payment are required. For more information and a registration form, visit Bushy Run's Summer History Club page.

When the Pennsylvania Military Museum updated the website this spring, they archived their blog posts and organized them according to topic. You can access posts by conflict/time period, as well as themes of arms and weaponry, Medal of Honor, innovation and interest, leadership and strategy, and women's history. The posts cover a wide range of stories, and many focus on artifacts in the museum's collection. You'll find the blog archive on PMM's website.

1890s photo taken in a PA logging camp, men in suspenders seated and standing, there are two women standing on the left side of the group, one man in front row is African American
Photo of unidentified lumber camp, possibly near Corbett, Potter County, PA, 1890s (photo from PA Lumber Museum collection, LM2019.4.1)

The Lumber Heritage Region of Pennsylvania (LHR) recently released a draft report on research into diversity in the lumber industry, forestry, and communities in the region. PHMC's Pennsylvania Lumber Museum is an important venue in the region for sharing history and culture with visitors and residents. Research focused particularly on uncovering documentation of the roles and work of women and people of color. I'm still working through the report and am finding it quite interesting. It's available on LHR's website.

Next month, the State Library of Pennsylvania will launch a new lunchtime program series in collaboration with PHMC. Each "PA History: Read It, See It" program will feature a virtual visit to a Trails of History site along with suggestions for related books available from public libraries and/or examples of rare and historic books from the vaults of the State Library's Rare Collections Library. Sessions will be offered free of charge via Zoom on the third Thursday of each month from noon to 1 pm. First up is Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum on Thursday, July 15, at noon (State Library link to register).


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