Thanksgiving Awaits

Thanksgiving Awaits Please be sure to check the PHMC Events Calendar for information on upcoming programs (in-person and virtual). I've included highlights below. The Trailheads Rec Room pages to the right of your screen offer an array of online content generated by Trails of History sites. Also, if you're looking for a Covid vaccine provider, check out and enter your zip code.

Please note that staff and volunteers at Commonwealth of PA worksites, including the PA Trails of History, are wearing masks while indoors. Visitors are encouraged, though not required, to do so as well.

Wooden table with blue and white tablecloth set with reproduction turkey, pies, bread, potatoes, and two candles in front of a large brick cooking fireplace.
Conrad Weiser Homestead's Candlelight Tours take place tomorrow (see info below)

The next Trailheads post won't be until next Friday, so I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and healthy Thanksgiving. I hope that you have found many things to be thankful for this year and that you will have the chance to share time with family and friends. I am thankful for my husband and all of my family and am grateful that we have weathered the pandemic fairly well so far, although many of the young adult generation battled Covid cases in 2020 and 2021. I am grateful, as always, for the work that my colleagues here at PHMC are doing to share the rich and complicated history of Pennsylvania with the public and to explore ways to improve everyone's access to that history. The flexibility, creativity, and perseverance of our staff and volunteers are a source of inspiration for me. I say "thank you" to them and to all of you for reading Trailheads.

All Pennsylvania Trails of History sites and museums will be closed on Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving. Most will also be closed on Friday, Nov. 26; Bushy Run Battlefield, Fort Pitt Museum, and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will be open that day. Everyone else will resume their current operating hours on Saturday, Nov. 27; please see the list below for some special programs as well. When you're making plans to the holiday weekend, please remember your favorite Trails of History sites on Small Business Saturday and Museum Store Sunday.

If you're interested in new approaches to the traditional Thanksgiving narrative, Native Knowledge 360 (a program of the National Museum of the American Indian) has a broad range of educational resources, such as Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations, which features Wampanoag perspectives on their ancestors' dealings with the Pilgrims in coastal Massachusetts.

Zoom screenshot showing 17th-century printed cookbook, image of a 17th-century round pumpkin pie, and images of presenters
As I was thinking about some menu ideas (but it turns out I'm just making apple pie this year), I remembered that our first PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase last December featured holiday foods. You can watch the program (and other past showcases) on PHMC's YouTube channel (December 2020 Collections Showcase) and see a compilation of recipes from the show on Trailheads (recipe page). Just like on the Cooking Channel! You'll also find an interesting post about heritage turkeys on the Assn. for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums blog (read about heritage turkeys).

The Week (or so) Ahead

Today, November 19
Saturday, November 20
  • Candlelight Tours (in-person): visit the year 1755 with guided tours, Native American storyteller Darius Puff, and musician Catherine Hollen; Conrad Weiser Homestead; 5:30-8 pm (Candlelight Tours info)
Sunday, November 21
  • Historic Foodways Demonstration (in-person): visit the kitchen to see what the cooks are working on; Pennsbury Manor; 1-4 pm; included in regular admission (Foodways info)
Wednesday, November 24
  • Explore! (in-person): visit the Art of the State exhibition and learn how artists use line in their work; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; for kids in grades 3-5 and included in regular admission (Explore! info)
Saturday, November 27
  • Wreaths & Greens Workshops (in-person): make a festive wreath to take home and learn some tips for caring for evergreens in your yard; Pennsbury Manor; 10 am-noon or 1-3 pm; cost is $35 ($31.50 for members) and pre-registration is required (Pennsbury's website has more info)
  • Christmas in the Colonies (in-person): learn about different traditions as you tour the Keith House and watch the Tapestry Historic Dance Ensemble; Graeme Park; 3-5 pm (tours start every 30 minutes from 3:30 to 5); tickets are $10 for ages 13 and up, $7 for members and ages 6-12 (Graeme Park website for more info)
  • Candlelight Open House (in-person): enjoy an evening of art, spinning, and music; Ephrata Cloister; 5-8:30 pm; tickets are $7 for age 3 and up, available at the door or in advance via Ticketleap (Ephrata Open House tickets online)
Sunday, November 28
  • Sunday Sewing Circle (in-person): bring your projects and spend time with other stitchers; Bushy Run Battlefield; 1-4 pm (Sewing Circle info)

On Sale Now (as of 11/17; some programs will sell out)

  • Holly Nights: experience Pennsbury Manor by candlelight Dec. 2 and 3 from 6 to 9 pm; tickets must be purchased in advance by Dec. 1 (Holly Nights info and tickets).
  • Gingerbread Cookie Kits: Railroad Museum of PA is accepting orders for train-shaped gingerbread cookies. Choose 12 cookies per box (plain) or 6 cookies per box with vanilla icing bag and sprinkles for $20. Orders must be picked up at the museum on either Dec. 4 (10 am-3 pm), Dec. 10 (4-6 pm), or Dec. 11 (10 am-3 pm). Deadline for orders is Nov. 29 (RMP cookie flyer for details).
  • Christmas with the Conductor: kids ages 3 and older will get to board one of the Railroad Museum of PA's historic railroad cars to hear a classic holiday story. Other activities are also part of the program. The program is offered Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 with three storytimes each day. The $10 program fee is in addition to museum admission. Deadline for registrations is Nov. 29, but space is limited and this program usually sells out quickly (Christmas with Conductor info and tickets).
  • Ethnic Traditions: on Dec. 5 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, Somerset Historical Center will partner with local families for a program on cultural traditions, food, and music of Japan, Italy, and Bangladesh; cost is $20 per person (Ethnic Traditions ticket info)
  • Christmas at the Cloister: Ephrata Cloister presents a program of lessons and carols in the historic Meetinghouse on Dec. 13 and 14, with performances at 6:30 and 8 pm each evening. Tickets available online via Ticketleap (Christmas at the Cloister info and tickets).


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