Free Admission on the Trails of History

Free Admission on the Trails of History
Event graphic text reads: "Enjoy free admission at participating Pennsylvania Trails of History sites, Saturday, September 24"

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, the commonwealth’s official history agency, invites the public to explore the state-owned historic sites along the Pennsylvania Trails of History for free on Saturday, September 24. Visit sites on the Military History, Industrial Heritage, Historic Homes, or Rural Farm & Village trails or The State Museum of Pennsylvania to learn about the people, places, and events that make our commonwealth so special. Before you head out, please check the list of participating sites. Then join us for a great day of history.

Up Next*

*Please note that calendar info is subject to change; we try to keep this up to date, but it's always best to check.

Saturday, September 24

  • Free Admission Day (in-person); site hours vary; participating PA Trails of History sites
    • See info above.
  • Fall Nature Walk (in-person); 10 am-noon; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about the plants and animals of western PA on this naturalist-guided walk. Pre-registration is required, but you can pay for your tickets at the door (Nature Walk info and registration). Regular admission is free today.
  • PA Geography with the Giant Map (in-person); 10 am-noon; The State Museum of PA
    • Discover the giant map of Pennsylvania, walk across the state, and test your geography skills (Giant map info).

Sunday, September 25

  • Sunday Sewing Circle (in-person); noon-3 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Bring your needlecraft projects and enjoy some company while you work. The event is free and open to the public (Sewing Circle info).
  • Beer Brewing and Garden Highlights (in-person); 1-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • Explore the recipes and plants that helped feed Pennsbury's early residents. Included in regular admission (Garden Highlights info).
  • Exploring the Armor (in-person); 1-4 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Take a private history tour of the outside tracked vehicles including a private look inside the crew compartments. Climb into history and experience our armored vehicles firsthand! Please Dress appropriately for seasonal weather and uneven terrain. Cost is $15 per person, and reservations are required (Exploring the Armor reservations).

Wednesday, September 28

  • Family Gallery Tour: Mammal Hall (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Museum educators will use hands-on objects to help visitors explore the animal dioramas in Mammal Hall. Included in regular admission (Gallery Tour info).

Thursday, September 29

  • Curiosity Kids (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Explore the history of bicycles, tricycles, and scooters in the museum's collection. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Space is limited; please sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Pithole Lantern Tours (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 6:30-9:30 pm; Historic Pithole City
    • Nighttime tours against the backdrop of the remaining elements of this historic oil boomtown. There are some steep hills and rugged terrain, so please dress accordingly. Advance tickets are required and may be purchased online or at the Museum Store at Drake Well Museum & Park (Lantern Tour online tickets). Some timeslots are already sold out, and others are going fast.
  • Apple Dumpling Sales (in-person); Fri. & Sat., Oct. 7 & 8; Ephrata Cloister
    • Purchase delicious apple dumplings and support the Back to the Cloister Fund. Dumplings are $5 each. Sale hours are Friday from 10 am to 3 pm and Saturday from 9 am until sold out. Prepaid orders of 10 or more dumplings can be placed online for pickup at the site, and delivery is available within 10 miles of Ephrata Cloister for orders of 20 or more dumplings (Ephrata website for details).
  • Garden Railway Tours (in-person); Sun., Oct. 9, 1-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Enjoy a self-guided tour of operating model trains in various outdoor and garden settings at 7 stops around Lancaster County. Masking and social distancing may be required or requested a venues. Tickets are $10 for ages 6 and up, available only via Eventbrite. Location info will be sent after you purchase your ticket (Garden Railway Tour tickets).
  • The Farms of the Gettysburg Battlefield (virtual); Tues., Oct. 11, 7-8 pm; Cornwall Iron Furnace
    • Tom Lehman will explore the stories of civilians in and around Gettysburg and how their lives were changed the Civil War battle on their doorsteps. Site administrator Mike Emery will moderate a brief discussion. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Gettysburg lecture registration).
  • Lunch & Learn (in-person); Wed., Oct. 12, 10 am-2 pm; Graeme Park
    • Jim Miller, retired professor of biology at Delaware Valley Univ., will present "Typhoid Mary, Irish Immigrant," exploring the misunderstood history of Mary Mallon and the social policies that resulted from the typhoid outbreak. Cost is $35 per person, which includes continental breakfast, lecture, lunch, and a tour of the Keith House (Lunch & Learn tickets).
  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); Wed., Oct. 12, 10 am-3 pm, and Sun., Oct. 16, 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background sound effects in the gallery will be turned off and volume on the orientation video will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Register in advance for a timeslot; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select your preferred timeslot).

The Week Ahead - Sept. 16-22

The Week Ahead - Sept. 16-22
White picket fence with vines growing on it. To the right is a vine covered in small white flowers, while the one on the left has small yellow flowers. In the center of the photo, the gate is open and shows a gravel path leading into a garden.
An inviting garden path at Old Economy Village (via OEV's Facebook page)


This photo makes me want to walk right into it. We have lots of great events and activities on the Trails of History this weekend, including a big band concert in the garden (weather permitting) at Old Economy. If this weekend is full, please mark your calendars for next Saturday, Sept. 24, when participating Trails of History sites will be open free of charge (list of participating sites). We hope you'll join us!

Up Next*

*Please note that calendar info is subject to change; we try to keep this up to date, but it's always best to check.

Today, September 16

  • Taurus Star Party (in-person); 8-10 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about 18th-century astronomy and celestial folklore. The program includes identifying constellations, using a star map, and (weather permitting) using telescopes to look at the night sky. Pre-registration is required (Star Party registration).

Saturday, September 17

  • Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day; hours vary; several Trails of History sites participating
  • "On the Way to Mexico": The NGP Mobilizes in 1916 (in-person); Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-3 pm; PA Military Museum
    • The NGP History Project will be on site with an encampment and lectures exploring the history of the National Guard of PA. Encampment is open to the public 10 am to 3 pm each day, with a lecture at 1 pm in the museum theater. Admission is free (NGP Mobilizes program info).
  • StoryTime (in-person); 10:30-11:30 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Read Because of an Acorn by Lola and Adam Schaefer and make an acorn art project. For kids age 2 to pre-K and included in regular admission. Sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk (StoryTime info).
  • SOLD OUT Colonial Tavern Night (in-person); 6-9 pm; Hope Lodge
    • An evening of local brews from Round Guys Brewery, food, music, and history to support the site and its programs. General admission is $60 per person; must be 21 or older to attend. Advance tickets are required (Eventbrite site for Tavern Night tickets).

Sunday, September 18

  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the gallery will be turned off and the orientation film's volume will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please sign up for a timeslot in advance; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select your date and time).
  • Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration (in-person); 1-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • The cooks will fire up the bake oven to demonstrate the weekly baking of bread and more. Included in regular admission (Open Hearth Cooking info).
  • Summer Concert Series (in-person); 2-4 pm; Old Economy Village
    • Swingin' Bopcats Big Band, a classic 18-piece big band with two vocalists, will perform in the Rapp House garden (or the Feast Hall if the weather's bad). The concert is free; $5 donation is suggested. Please bring chairs and blankets for seating (Big Band concert info).

Tuesday, September 20

  • Sensory Hours (in-person); 3-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Reduced noise, light, and attendance plus quiet spaces when you want a break. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about several of the historic trains open for visitors. Advance tickets required (Sensory Hours Sept. 20 tickets).
  • Revolutionary Speaker Series (in-person); 7-9 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • Michael Idriss, African American Interpretive Fellow at the Museum of the American Revolution, will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the museum. After his presentation, attendees will have a chance to view Brandywine's exhibit gallery and enjoy some light refreshments. Tickets are $20 (Speaker Series tickets via Eventbrite).

Wednesday, September 21

  • Explore! (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Learn about color theory; how animals use color to survive and communicate; and a printmaking technique using primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. For kids in grades 3-5 and included in regular admission. Sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk (Explore! info).
  • History Speaks Series (in-person); 7-10 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Michael Doucette, service forester at Forbes State Forest, will present "Land Usage in the Colonial Era." Tickets are $10 (History Speaks tickets).

Thursday, September 22

  • Family Gallery Tour: Transportation (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Visit the transportation gallery with museum educators to learn about vehicles that have helped people move across the state. Included in regular admission (Gallery Tour info).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Fall Nature Walk (in-person); Sat., Sept. 24, 10 am-noon; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about the plants and animals of western PA on this naturalist-guided walk. Pre-registration is required, but you can pay for your tickets at the door (Nature Walk info and registration).
  • ADDED Exploring the Armor (in-person); Sun., Sept. 25, 1-4 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Take a private history tour of the outside tracked vehicles including a private look inside the crew compartments. Climb into history and experience our armored vehicles firsthand! Please Dress appropriately for seasonal weather and uneven terrain. Cost is $15 per person, and reservations are required (Exploring the Armor reservations).
  • Wine & Paint Night (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 5-7 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • General admission tickets include wine sampling and hors d'oeuvres (designated driver tickets available). Ten people can purchase tickets for a private art lesson. Others are welcome to bring their canvasses and paints and set up on the grounds to paint in the evening light. Advance tickets only; must be at least 21 to attend (Paint Night info and tickets).
  • Pithole Lantern Tours (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 6:30-9:30 pm; Historic Pithole City
    • Nighttime tours against the backdrop of the remaining elements of this historic oil boomtown. There are some steep hills and rugged terrain, so please dress accordingly. Advance tickets are required and may be purchased online or at the Museum Store at Drake Well Museum & Park (Lantern Tour online tickets).
  • Garden Railway Tours (in-person); Sun., Oct. 9, 1-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Enjoy a self-guided tour of operating model trains in various outdoor and garden settings at 7 stops around Lancaster County. Masking and social distancing may be required or requested a venues. Tickets are $10 for ages 6 and up, available only via Eventbrite. Location info will be sent after you purchase your ticket (Garden Railway Tour tickets).
  • The Farms of the Gettysburg Battlefield (virtual); 7-8 pm; Cornwall Iron Furnace
    • Tom Lehman will explore the stories of civilians in and around Gettysburg and how their lives were changed the Civil War battle on their doorsteps. Site administrator Mike Emery will moderate a brief discussion. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Gettysburg lecture registration).

A Busy Weekend on the Trails of History

Oil field equipment - Two large metal drive wheels attached to pistons and sitting atop a solid wood base.
Oilfield equipment on the grounds at Drake Well Museum & Park (as seen at the Spring Gas Up via Facebook)


This weekend is a particularly busy one on the Trails of History, with events large and not-so-large. I hope you'll find just the right thing to suit your tastes from art to industrial history to a remembrance of Sept. 11 (last year we marked the 20th anniversary with a post about the day).

Up Next*

*Please note that calendar info is subject to change; we try to keep this up to date, but it's always best to check.

Today, September 9

  • Mountain Craft Days (in-person); today through Sunday, 10 am-5 pm; Somerset Historical Center
    • More than 125 craft booths and a dozen outdoor performance venues (not to mention food vendors) dot the grounds of the SHC for three days. Free on-site parking (or free shuttle if weather messes with the fields). Tickets are $9 for age 18 and up, $5 for age 6-17 (Mountain Craft Days info).
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual); 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Join us as we talk to Jeremy Banfield, Elk Biologist from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, to learn more about history of the elk reintroduction and the management of Pennsylvania’s current elk population. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Saturday, September 10

  • Annual Fall Gas Up (in-person); 9 am-3 pm; Drake Well Museum & Park
    • Members of the Pioneer Steam and Gas Engine Society will be on-site with their display of operating and stationary gas engines made in PA. The museum's Olin gas engine and pumping wells will be in operation, along with the Bessemer engine. The program will also feature oilfield tractors of various vintages. Included in regular admission. In addition, the Hydetown Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary will have a food booth (Fall Gas Up info).
  • Antique Pontiac Car Visit (in-person); 10 am-3 pm; Ephrata Cloister
    • The Pontiac Early Times chapter will display cars dating between 1926 and 1954 in the museum's upper parking lot. There is no charge to view the cars. Regular admission rates apply to tour the historic buildings and grounds (Pontiac Car Visit info).
  • Railroad Heritage Day (in-person); 10 am-4 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Presentations and displays focused on the Pennsylvania Railroad will take place today. Today and tomorrow Artist-in-residence Frank Crowe will be on hand as well. Included in regular admission (Heritage Day and Artist-in-residence info).
  • Paws in the Park (in-person); 11 am-3 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • This event celebrates dogs and their humans with a series of activity stations spread out around the grounds. The event is free, but pre-registration is requested (Paws in the Park info and registration).
  • Women in the Lumber Industry (in-person); 1-2 pm; PA Lumber Museum
    • Researcher Hilary Folwell Jebitsch will explore the important roles women have held in the lumber industry and provide in-depth information on the lives of some remarkable women (Women's history program info).
  • 12th Annual Crush & Brew (in-person); 5-9 pm; Old Economy Village
    • Wine & beer from local breweries, home brews, and more, as well as food trucks and live music. Event is presented in cooperation with the Ambridge Historic District. Tickets are $30, which includes tasting glass, a food voucher, and admission to the off-site afterparty (Crush & Brew info and tickets).

Sunday, September 11

  • Living History Theatre (in-person); Noon-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • "Pennsylvania's Southern Border" explores the contentious relationship between the Penns and the Calverts over where Pennsylvania ends and Maryland begins. Join William Penn and members of his inner circle as they discuss how to deal with Lord Baltimore. Presented at 12:15, 1:45, and 3:15. Included in regular admission (Living History Theatre info).
  • Living History Sunday (in-person); Noon-4 pm; Conrad Weiser Homestead
  • Art of the State Awards Ceremony & Reception (in-person); 1:30-3 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • This year's juried exhibit features works by 92 Pennsylvania artists (see PHMC Flickr slide show). The exhibit opens to the public at noon and will continue during regular hours through January 15, 2023. Admission is on Sept. 11 as part of Harrisburg's annual Gallery Walk (Art of the State info).
  • Remembrance Day (in-person); 6-7 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • Join us for the annual remembrance of the Battle of Brandywine (Sept. 11, 1777) and the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Admission is free (Remembrance Day info).

Wednesday, September 14

  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); 10 am-3 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the gallery will be turned off and the orientation film's volume will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please sign up for a timeslot in advance; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select Sept. 14 to reserve a timeslot).
  • Colonial Games & Puzzles (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Discover and play with toys, games, and puzzles from colonial Pennsylvania. Test your skills with a bilbo catcher, Jacob's ladder, or a hoop-and-stick. Included in regular admission (Colonial Games info).

Thursday, September 15

  • Curiosity Kids (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Visit the Art of the State exhibit with the museum educators and learn how artists use line in their work. Try out your drawing skills to create your own art. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Space is limited, so please sign up at the Ground Floor desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info).

Friday, September 16

  • Taurus Star Party (in-person); 8-10 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about 18th-century astronomy and celestial folklore. The program includes identifying constellations, using a star map, and (weather permitting) using telescopes to look at the night sky. Pre-registration is required (Star Party registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day; Sat., Sept. 17, hours vary; several Trails of History sites participating
  • Colonial Tavern Night (in-person); Sat., Sept. 17, 6-9 pm; Hope Lodge
    • An evening of local brews from Round Guys Brewery, food, music, and history to support the site and its programs. General admission is $60 per person; must be 21 or older to attend. Advance tickets are required (Eventbrite site for Tavern Night tickets).
  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); Sun., Sept. 18, 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the gallery will be turned off and the orientation film's volume will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please sign up for a timeslot in advance; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select your date and time).
  • Sensory Hours (in-person); Tuesday, Sept. 20, 3-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Reduced noise, light, and attendance plus quiet spaces when you want a break. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about several of the historic trains open for visitors. Advance tickets required (Sensory Hours Sept. 20 tickets).
  • Fall Nature Walk (in-person); Sat., Sept. 24, 10 am-noon; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about the plants and animals of western PA on this naturalist-guided walk. Pre-registration is required, but you can pay for your tickets at the door (Nature Walk info and registration).
  • Wine & Paint Night (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 5-7 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • General admission tickets include wine sampling and hors d'oeuvres (designated driver tickets available). Ten people can purchase tickets for a private art lesson. Others are welcome to bring their canvasses and paints and set up on the grounds to paint in the evening light. Advance tickets only; must be at least 21 to attend (Paint Night info and tickets).
  • Pithole Lantern Tours (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 6:30-9:30 pm; Historic Pithole City
    • Nighttime tours against the backdrop of the remaining elements of this historic oil boomtown. There are some steep hills and rugged terrain, so please dress accordingly. Advance tickets are required and may be purchased online or at the Museum Store at Drake Well Museum & Park (Lantern Tour online tickets).

Labor Day Weekend

Three stone buildings are dotted with late afternoon light and surrounded by trees. A partial rainbow is visible in the sky.
A rainbow in the sky above Conrad Weiser Homestead (photo David Sonnen via CWH Facebook page)

I hope your summer has been what you hoped it would be. Although it will still be "officially" summer until September 22, and although Daylight Saving Time runs into November, Labor Day always feels like a bookend to me. The days feel shorter - that is, mornings are darker - and it just seems like summer is done. (It's of course all much more complicated than that, as The State Museum explained earlier this week.)

There's still plenty to do on the Trails of History, whatever season it is or feels like. A word about Labor Day, September 5. Fort Pitt Museum and Pennsylvania Lumber Museum are open, but the other Trails of History sites will be closed. As you probably know, some sites are surrounded by parks and have dawn-to-dusk hours, so if you're looking for places to enjoy the outdoors, be sure to check us out.

Up Next*

*Please note that calendar info is subject to change; we try to keep this up to date, but it's always best to check.

Friday, September 2

  • StoryTime (in-person); 10:30-11:30 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Read Because of an Acorn by Lola and Adam Schaefer and make an acorn art project. For kids age 2 to Pre-K and included in regular admission. Sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (SMOP StoryTime info).

Saturday, September 3

  • Community Yard Sale (in-person); 9 am-4 pm; PA Lumber Museum
    • Vendors will be set up near the museum entrance along U.S. Route 6 (Yard Sale info).
  • Lafayette's Birthday (in-person); 12:30-1 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • Come wish a happy birthday to the Marquis de Lafayette. Site is open 10 am-4 pm with a short celebration at 12:30. Included in regular admission (Lafayette's Birthday info).

Sunday, September 4

Tuesday, September 6

  • Sensory Hours (in-person); 9-11 am; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light and noise levels will be reduced, attendance will be lower, and there will be some quiet spaces in the galleries when you want a break. Several of the historic trains will be open with staff on hand to answer questions. Advance tickets required (Sensory Hours Sept. 6 tickets).

Wednesday, September 7

  • Explore! (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Learn about the history of amusement parks in PA and our state's role in many innovations, including the first roller coaster. For kids in grades 3-5 and included in regular admission. Space is limited, so please sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Explore! info).

Thursday, September 8

  • PA Geography with the Giant Map (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Test your geography skills walking across PA on the giant map. Included in regular admission (Giant Map info).
  • Virtual Ephrata Academy; 7-8 pm; Ephrata Cloister

Friday, September 9

  • Mountain Craft Days (in-person); today through Sunday, 10 am-5 pm; Somerset Historical Center
    • More than 125 craft booths and a dozen outdoor performance venues (not to mention food vendors) dot the grounds of the SHC for three days. Free on-site parking (or free shuttle if weather messes with the fields). Tickets are $9 for age 18 and up, $5 for age 6-17 (Mountain Craft Days info).
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual); 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Join us as we talk to Jeremy Banfield, Elk Biologist from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, to learn more about history of the elk reintroduction and the management of Pennsylvania’s current elk population. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • 12th Annual Crush & Brew (in-person); Sat., Sept. 10, 5-9 pm; Old Economy Village
    • Wine & beer from local breweries, home brews, and more, as well as food trucks and live music. Event is presented in cooperation with the Ambridge Historic District. Tickets are $30, which includes tasting glass, a food voucher, and admission to the off-site afterparty (Crush & Brew info and tickets).
  • Sensory Friendly Visit; Wed., Sept. 14, 10 am-3 pm, and Sun., Sept. 18, 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the gallery will be turned off and the orientation film's volume will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please sign up for a timeslot in advance; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select your date and time).
  • Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day; Sat., Sept. 17, hours vary; several Trails of History sites participating
  • Colonial Tavern Night (in-person); Sat., Sept. 17, 6-9 pm; Hope Lodge
    • An evening of local brews from Round Guys Brewery, food, music, and history to support the site and its programs. General admission is $60 per person; must be 21 or older to attend. Advance tickets are required (Eventbrite site for Tavern Night tickets).
  • Sensory Hours (in-person); Tuesday, Sept. 20, 3-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Reduced noise, light, and attendance plus quiet spaces when you want a break. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about several of the historic trains open for visitors. Advance tickets required (Sensory Hours Sept. 20 tickets).
  • Fall Nature Walk (in-person); Sat., Sept. 24, 10 am-noon; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about the plants and animals of western PA on this naturalist-guided walk. Pre-registration is required, but you can pay for your tickets at the door (Nature Walk info and registration).
  • Wine & Paint Night (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 5-7 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • General admission tickets include wine sampling and hors d'oeuvres (designated driver tickets available). Ten people can purchase tickets for a private art lesson. Others are welcome to bring their canvasses and paints and set up on the grounds to paint in the evening light. Advance tickets only; must be at least 21 to attend (Paint Night info and tickets).
  • Pithole Lantern Tours (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 6:30-9:30 pm; Historic Pithole City
    • Nighttime tours against the backdrop of the remaining elements of this historic oil boomtown. There are some steep hills and rugged terrain, so please dress accordingly. Advance tickets are required and may be purchased online or at the Museum Store at Drake Well Museum & Park (Lantern Tour online tickets).

A Summer Well Spent

A Summer Well Spent
Row of buildings at Landis Valley - Yellow wood-sided barn, 1-and-a-half story white frame house, and 1-and-a-half story stone building
From left: the Yellow Barn, Erisman House, and Tavern (photo from Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum Facebook page)

[Editor's note: This is the second installment of a guest post by Keystone Intern Claire DeVinney. A junior at Millersville University majoring in Atlantic World Studies and minoring in Spanish, Claire spent her summer at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum assisting curator Jennifer Royer with collections care and interpretation. In last week's post, Claire wrote about some research materials related to World War II. Today's post focuses on two exhibits she developed for the museum's Collections Gallery display windows. There is a separate page with additional photos from Claire's work this summer. Stay tuned at the bottom of this post for more info on Trails of History interns and a link to the list of events coming up in the week ahead.]

As an intern for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, I have had the privilege of learning about the behind-the-scenes museum work at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum. Like most museums, only a small percentage of Landis Valley's collection is on display. The rest of the artifacts are in one of Landis Valley's four storage buildings. With over 150,000 objects in the collection, some items are very rarely or never included in one of Landis Valley's rotating exhibits. [You can find many of PHMC's collections online via our website.]

View through a glass window shows open collections storage. There is a mezzanine with rows of shelves and a railing displaying wooden ad signs. On the ground floor there are a variety of larger objects including a Conestoga wagon without its canvas top.
View into the Collections Gallery before the shelves are filled (photo Claire DeVinney)

To make the collection more accessible to the public, Landis Valley's main collections gallery has a glass wall so that visitors can see objects that are in open storage. The collections gallery also has four banks of shelves to serve as mini exhibits. While Landis Valley's main Visitor Center exhibit is replaced every 2-3 years, the collections gallery shelf exhibits are changed every year. This allows for a constant rotation of artifacts and increases the amount of the museum's collection that is accessible for visitors to see and learn from.

Traditionally, it is the job of Landis Valley's interns to set up the collections gallery exhibit windows. I chose a theme for each of my two sets of shelves.

3 cowboy carvings by Larkin Scull: On left a woman with fringe on her shirt stands next to a pale tan horse with a black saddle, holding its reins. Middle is a man in a yellow shirt with red bandana astride a horse that is standing on a small round pedestal. The man is waving his cowboy hat. On right is a man in an embroidered shirt astride a horse and holding the reins in his left hand. The horse is rearing with its forelegs off the ground.
Three wooden cowboy carvings by artist Larkin Scull (photo Claire DeVinney)

In the first exhibit window, I focused on the works of folk artist Larkin Scull (1892-1966). Scull grew up on a southeastern Pennsylvania farm, and much of the wood carvings he created reflect his familiarity with hunting and agriculture. Many of his works depict livestock or people completing agricultural chores. His works also reflect the popular culture of the 1940s and 1950s. Scull created carvings of cowboys, horse racing, boxing, two statuesque depictions of George Washington, and a stunning five-and-half-foot long Anheuser-Busch Budweiser wagon complete with eight Clydesdales.

Because Scull carved figures from his own world of southeastern Pennsylvania, his body of work is like a time capsule of the period when Landis Valley's founders, Henry and George Landis, were collecting artifacts to preserve the Pennsylvania German agricultural way of life.

An advertisement, small paper box and two glass jars with metal lids - all related to horse & cattle powder used by vets
Horse and cattle powder containers from the Newcomer veterinary collection (photo Claire DeVinney)

The second exhibit window features items from the veterinary office of Dr. Ezra Newcomer, from nearby Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. Before Dr. Newcomer passed away in 1960, he was Lancaster County's oldest veterinarian. He earned his degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1899. While sorting through the tools and items from his office, I came across his diploma and his Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association membership plaque. Identifying some of Dr. Newcomer's medical tools was a lesson in veterinary technology. Some of his implements, like a scale or tattoo pliers, were instantly recognizable, and look virtually identical to a tool a veterinarian might use today.

Other tools required a lot of research to identify--luckily, the collection included some of Dr. Newcomer's notes that I could consult for research assistance. I included a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar tools in the exhibit window to give visitors a sense of how veterinary medicine is different now than it was in the early 20th century and how it is the same.

Learning more about artifacts like these has made me more interested in history and more grateful for my experiences as an intern at Landis Valley. The opportunities I have had this summer have been rewarding and educational and have strengthened my appreciation for the institutions that preserve the past.

[I want to thank Claire and all of our PHMC summer interns for their hard work and wish them well in whatever lies ahead. Read about other intern projects and activities:
The list of Trails of History events in the coming week is on a separate page today.]

Snapshots of World War II

Snapshots of World War II
Yellowed and crinkled front page of Aug. 20, 1942, Reading Eagle, reporting various stories of World War II
Front page of Aug. 20, 1942, Reading Eagle (Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum collection, photo by Claire DeVinney)

Editor's note: Today's guest blogger is Claire DeVinney, a junior at Millersville University majoring in Atlantic World Studies and minoring in Spanish. Claire was one of this summer's PHMC Keystone Interns and worked at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum assisting curator Jennifer Royer with collections care and interpretation. One of her assignments was to create two exhibits for the museum's Collections Gallery display windows. As part of her research, Claire ran across an old newspaper that featured news of World War II, including significant events that occurred 80 years ago today. Given the timeliness of the info, I decided to feature that part of Claire's post today. Next week's post will focus on Claire's description of the two exhibits she prepared.

While looking through the Dr. Ezra Newcomer veterinary collection, I found a copy of the Reading Eagle from August 20th, 1942 (pictured above), which is eighty years ago this week. Most of the stories are focused on World War II, specifically on an attack on the German-held French town of Dieppe, which occurred on August 19th. The lead article, titled "Allies Map Europe Invasion Based on Commando Tactics," explains what Allied forces learned from the Dieppe invasion: "...it proved that a second front can be opened in the west." The Allies did utilize lessons from the Dieppe raid to open a front in France two years later with the D-Day invasion on June 6th, 1944. [Read more about the raid on Dieppe from the National WWII Museum website.]

While the front page details memorable historical events, the Reading Eagle also shows ways that local civilians contributed to the domestic war effort. One article, "Blood Donations Continue Here," reports that the Red Cross mobile blood-donor unit planned to increase monthly visits to Reading after the military announced a need for 3,000,000 pints of blood. Reading residents evidently rose to the occasion -- after the announcement, 50% of donors committed to more donation appointments. Another article explains how women could apply to join the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or "WAVES," the navy's female division. As a visual illustration, the Eagle includes a photo of a WAVE volunteer applicant having a dental exam (see below). A third article cheerfully points out the bright side of gasoline rationing: "Tire and gasoline rationing has cut Pennsylvania's highway fatality toll...Speeding has fallen off 'noticeably,' [state motor police commissioner Col. Lynn G.] Adams said, expressing a belief it was due to a 'desire to conserve rubber and gasoline.'"

Black and white newspaper photo of woman in dental chair examined by nurse and man in Navy uniform. News caption reads: "Lieut. Commander L.J. Obrey, Dental Corps, U.S.N.R., is shown examining the teeth of a candidate for the U.S. Navy "WAVES," in Boston, Mass. He is assisted by Ensign Juliet A. Yoksas, navy nurse. Candidates are given aptitude tests and thorough physical examinations each day, under the supervision of the officer of procurement."
Source: Reading Eagle, August 20, 1942 (Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum collection)

On a related note, the Pennsylvania Military Museum has several World War II-themed events coming up in the next few months: Kids Day: Fun on the Homefront (Aug. 27); Battle of the Huertgen Forest (lecture, Oct. 8); Holiday on the Homefront (Nov. 19 & 20); and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute (Dec. 7). - AKF

Up Next*

*Please note that calendar info is subject to change; we try to keep this up to date, but it's always best to check.

Today, August 19

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual); 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Chris Kemmerer from the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources will present a virtual program about PA's state parks. The program is free; please register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Saturday, August 20

  • Games Day (in-person); 9 am-4:30 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • A variety of historical miniature war games will be offered for experienced gamers, beginners, and folks in between. Admission is $5 and includes museum admission and a battlefield tour. Food and drink will be available for purchase (Games Day info).
  • Family Fun Day (in-person); 10 am-4 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • The day includes house tours, carpentry and blacksmithing demos, colonial cooking and dancing, food trucks, and more. Free admission. (Family Day info).
  • Model Railroading Days (in-person); 10 am-4 pm Saturday & noon-4 pm Sunday; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Watch the world of operating model trains in action and see static displays from a variety of participating groups and clubs. Don't miss the PA Middle Division HO-scale layout or the PA Landscapes layout. Included in regular admission (Model Railroading Days info).
  • StoryTime (in-person); 10:30-11:30 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Today's book is Tea Rex by Molly Idle. Feel free to wear your best tea party hat or helmet. For kids age 2 to pre-K and included in regular admission. Sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (SMOP StoryTime info).
  • Lecture (in-person); 1-2 pm; PA Lumber Museum
    • Lenora Henson, deputy director and curator at the Theodore Roosevelt Inauguration Site, will present "The Green Team: Theodore Roosevelt & Gifford Pinchot," exploring the personal and professional relationships that shaped their conservation efforts and their legacies (Green Team info).

Sunday, August 21

  • Open Hearth Cooking Demo (in-person); 1-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • The cooks will be preparing their favorite recipes that use the bounty of the summer harvest. Included in regular admission (Cooking Demo info).

Tuesday, August 23

  • Garden Workshop Series (in-person); 10-11 am; Pennsbury Manor
    • Join Pennsbury's gardener to learn about 17th-century and modern gardening skills - today's topic is Seed Saving. The workshop is open to visitors age 12 and older; cost is $20 per session. Registration is required; call 215/946-0400 to reserve your spot (Aug. 23 Garden workshop info).
  • Sensory Hours (in-person); 3-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light, noise, and crowd levels will be reduced, and there will be some quiet spaces if you need a break from the activity. A few of the historic trains will be open, with staff on hand to answer questions. Advance tickets required (Aug. 23 Sensory Hours tickets).

Wednesday, August 24

  • Family Gallery Tour: Mammal Hall (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Using hands-on objects, museum educators will help visitors explore the Mammal Hall dioramas together. Included in regular admission (Mammal Hall Gallery Tour info).

Thursday, August 25

  • Storytime in the Garden (in-person); 10-11 am; Pennsbury Manor
    • Enjoy a story with the gardener, then explore the grounds. Suggested for ages 4 to 8, but all are welcome. Cost is $3, which is a grounds pass; additional fee to tour the Manor House (Pennsbury Storytime info).
  • Curiosity Kids (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Learn about ice cream and PA's story of the banana split. Create and taste some hand-cranked ice cream. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Space is limited; please sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info).
  • Parade of Sails (in-person); 4-6 pm; Erie Maritime Museum & U.S. Brig Niagara

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • 12th Annual Crush & Brew (in-person); Sat., Sept. 10, 5-9 pm; Old Economy Village
    • Wine & beer from local breweries, home brews, and more, as well as food trucks and live music. Event is presented in cooperation with the Ambridge Historic District. Tickets are $30, which includes tasting glass, a food voucher, and admission to the off-site afterparty (Crush & Brew info and tickets).
  • Sensory Friendly Visit; Wed., Sept. 14, 10 am-3 pm, and Sun., Sept. 18, 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the gallery will be turned off and the orientation film's volume will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please sign up for a timeslot in advance; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select your date and time).
  • Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day; Sat., Sept. 17, hours vary; several Trails of History sites participating
  • Colonial Tavern Night (in-person); Sat., Sept. 17, 6-9 pm; Hope Lodge
    • An evening of local brews from Round Guys Brewery, food, music, and history to support the site and its programs. General admission is $60 per person; must be 21 or older to attend. Advance tickets are required (Eventbrite site for Tavern Night tickets).
  • Harvest, Death & Renewal: Late October Traditions of the PA Germans (in-person); Fri., Oct. 21, 6:30 and 8:30; Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • This program explores funeral and burial customs, powwowing, healing and hexes. It is recommended for adults and older teens. The event involves two hours of walking around a cemetery and the Museum grounds, so please dress for the weather (including your shoes) and bring a flashlight. Tickets are $28 per person and must be purchased in advance (Harvest, Death & Renewal event info and tickets).

New Exhibits on the Trails of History

New Exhibits on the Trails of History
Several historic photos of Black Pennsylvanians. Text reads: A Place for All, Three Stories of Integration in Pennsylvania

As summer winds down on the Trails of History, several new exhibits have recently opened or are currently in the works. Curators, historians, craftspeople, and partner organizations have developed these exhibits to share a variety of stories about Pennsylvania and U.S. history, using images, art, and other objects. Some are on temporary display, others will be available long-term.

Just prior to Juneteenth, The State Museum of Pennsylvania opened A Place for All, which explores three stories of racial integration efforts in the Philadelphia area and Pittsburgh. Drawing on research by PHMC historian Eric Ledell Smith (1949-2008), Museum staff combined three stories into a single exhibit and tied them together with additional context. The result provides powerful insights into the Civil Rights Movement in Pennsylvania and features some of the key participants in fighting for racial equality. The exhibit is open during regular hours and included in general admission; it is expected to remain on view for the foreseeable future.

Fort Pitt Museum recently launched a new exhibit, Guyasuta: The Life and Legend of a Seneca Chief. Visitors will learn about the American Indian leader’s allyship with George Washington just before the French and Indian War began and see the bronze maquette for Jim West's “Points of View” sculpture that overlooks Pittsburgh from its perch on Mt. Washington. The exhibit is included in regular admission.

Graphic features image of Harriet Tubman holding a lantern. The image uses a variety of patterns and colors to suggest patchwork quilt pieces joined together. Text reads: Exhibition, Dreams of Freedom: The Threads that Hold Us Together, Aug - Nov 2022
Last weekend, Pennsbury Manor welcomed a new traveling quilt exhibit celebrating the life and contributions of American hero Harriet Tubman. Dreams of Freedom: The Threads That Hold Us Together was organized by the Sankofa Artisans Guild (SAG) and includes quilts submitted by artists and crafters from around the country. The quilts depict scenes and themes honoring Tubman's life and legacy. Included in regular admission, the exhibit will be available for viewing in the Crozier House Friday through Sunday, noon to 4 pm, through November.

Seven men in work clothes stand outside a maintenance building with overhead door open to show a coopered wooden oil tank that is taller than any of the men.
Photo via Drake Well Facebook page

Work continues on the restoration of a replica Densmore Tank Car at Drake Well Museum and Park. Created in 1959 to celebrate the centennial of Edwin Drake's successful oil well, the car was an important part of the Museum's oil transportation exhibits. By the 1990s, however, it was in poor condition and needed significant work. Over the past year or more, staff and volunteers have rebuilt the car's platform and built a new, coopered wooden oil tank (see above). Drake Well posted some images on Facebook in February and earlier this week. Once the restoration work is complete, the Densmore Tank Car will resume its role helping to teach visitors about the history of getting oil from the well to the refinery. You can read more about Densmore Tank Cars in this 1985 article in Pennsylvania Heritage magazine.


Up Next*

*Please note that calendar info is subject to change; we try to keep this up to date, but it's always best to check.

Saturday, August 13

  • Exploring the Armor (in-person); 2-4 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Take a guided tour of the tracked vehicles on the museum grounds. According to info at the link, all non-member tickets are sold out, but it's probably worth checking just in case (Armored tour tickets).
  • Extended Evening Hours (in-person); 4-7 pm; Ephrata Cloister
    • Enjoy a late-in-the-day visit. Guided tours at 4, 5, and 6; self-guided tours also an option. Regular admission rates apply, and the Museum Store will be open (Ephrata Cloister info).

Sunday, August 14

  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the galleries will be turned off and the volume on the orienation video will be reduced (captions enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please reserve your timeslot, you can pay when you arrive (go to PMM online booking calendar and select Aug. 14).
  • Living History Theatre (in-person); noon-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • Yellow Fever has struck William Penn's colony, and it is a terrifying and mysterious threat. Learn about the precautions taken by Pennsbury's residents and others in the area. Presented at 12:15, 1:45, and 3:15. Included in regular admission (Living History Theatre info).
  • Second Sunday Beer Garden (in-person); 1-5 pm; Hope Lodge
    • Round Guys Brewing Company will be pouring beer under the tent. Guided tours of the Mansion will be available (as they are most Sundays through October) at 1 and 2:30 (Hope Lodge info).

Tuesday, August 16

  • Garden Workshop Series (in-person); 10-11 am; Pennsbury Manor
    • Join Pennsbury's gardener to learn about 17th-century and modern gardening skills - today's topic is Mustard & Ketchup. The workshop is open to visitors age 12 and older; cost is $20. Registration is required; call 215/946-0400 to reserve your spot (Aug. 16 Garden workshop info).
  • Virtual Museum Spotlight; 5-6 pm; Old Economy Village
    • This virtual visit to Old Economy will show you the wide variety of things to see and do. The program is part of the Heinz Center Affiliate Program Experience Kits initiative. Please register to receive the link (OEV Museum Spotlight registration).
  • Music on the Lawn (in-person); 7-? pm; Joseph Priestley House
    • Tonight's event features "9 Degrees of Syncopation," which recreates the jazz music of Django Reinhardt. Please bring lawn chairs for seating. In case of inclement weather, the concert will move to Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 265 Point Township Dr. in Northumberland (Music on the Lawn info).

Wednesday, August 17

  • Explore! (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Learn about the science of ornithology, the study of birds. For kids in grades 3-5 and included in regular admission. Space is limited; please sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Explore! info).
  • PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase; 7-8 pm
    • This month's theme is "Fine and Folk Art." Panelists from five Trails of History sites will present objects, and then the audience votes on their favorite. The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Virtual Showcase registration).

Thursday, August 18

  • Storytime in the Garden (in-person); 10-11 am; Pennsbury Manor
    • Enjoy a story with the gardener, then explore the grounds. Suggested for ages 4 to 8, but all are welcome. Cost is $3, which is a grounds pass; additional fee charged to tour the Manor House (Pennsbury Storytime info).
  • Family Gallery Tour: Transportation (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Museum educators will be on hand to help visitors explore PA's transportation history. Included in regular admission (Gallery Tour info).
  • Virtual Talk: Drake Well Museum (virtual); 7-8 pm EDT

Friday, August 19

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual); 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Chris Kemmerer from the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources will present a virtual program about PA's state parks. The program is free; please register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Garden Workshop Series (in-person); final workshop, Tues., Aug. 23, 10-11 am; Pennsbury Manor
    • Join Pennsbury's gardener to learn about 17th-century and modern gardening skills - the topic is Seed Saving. The workshops are open to visitors age 12 and older; cost is $20 per session. Registration is required; call 215/946-0400 to reserve your spot (Aug. 23 Garden workshop info).
  • Sensory Hours (in-person); Tues., Aug. 23, 3-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light, noise, and crowd levels will be reduced, and there will be some quiet spaces if you need a break from the activity. A few of the historic trains will be open, with staff on hand to answer questions. Advance tickets required (Aug. 23 Sensory Hours tickets).
  • Tall Ships Erie (in-person); Thurs., Aug. 25, to Sun., Aug. 28; Erie Maritime Museum & U.S. Brig Niagara
    • Festivities start Aug. 25 at 4 pm with the Parade of Sails, a free event featuring tall ships from around the Great Lakes. Ticketed activities continue 10 am to 6 pm Aug. 26-28 and are based along the waterfront (Tall Ships Erie info and tickets).
  • 12th Annual Crush & Brew (in-person); Sat., Sept. 10, 5-9 pm; Old Economy Village
    • Wine & beer from local breweries, home brews, and more, as well as food trucks and live music. Event is presented in cooperation with the Ambridge Historic District. Tickets are $30, which includes tasting glass, a food voucher, and admission to the off-site afterparty (Crush & Brew info and tickets).
  • Harvest, Death & Renewal: Late October Traditions of the PA Germans (in-person); Fri., Oct. 21, 6:30 and 8:30; Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • This program explores funeral and burial customs, powwowing, healing and hexes. It is recommended for adults and older teens. The event involves two hours of walking around a cemetery and the Museum grounds, so please dress for the weather (including your shoes) and bring a flashlight. Tickets are $28 per person and must be purchased in advance (Harvest, Death & Renewal event info and tickets).

Summer in Bloom

Small stone building with white trim on a bright summer day. Small clusters of yellow flowers on long green stems with clusters of small green leaves are in front.
Tansy growing outside the summer kitchen at Graeme Park (photo via GP Facebook page)

The gardens and grounds at our Trails of History sites are brimming with flowers, veggies, and greenery. Many also have shade, so if you're looking for ways to keep cool this weekend, why not visit? Not to mention that there's always at least one air-conditioned building. I hope your weekend is full of fun and interesting things. Don't forget to hydrate!

Up Next*

*Please note that calendar info is subject to change; we try to keep this up to date, but it's always best to check.

Today, August 5

  • StoryTime (in-person); 10:30-11:30 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Wear your best tea party hat or helmet to read Molly Idle's Tea Rex. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (SMOP StoryTime info).
  • Sawmill demo (in-person); 11 am and 2 pm; Daniel Boone Homestead
    • Weather permitting, staff at Daniel Boone Homestead will demonstrate the water-powered Bertolet Sawmill, which was moved to the Homestead from its original Berks County site in 1972 (DBH info and a short video preview of what the mill looks and sounds like in operation).
  • First Fridays (in-person); 5:30-8:30 pm; Somerset Historical Center
    • Enjoy a relaxing evening with live music and food for purchase from local vendors. Some covered seating is provided but feel free to bring your lawn chairs and blankets. Admission is free with parking fee of $5 (First Fridays info).
  • Summer Movie Night (in-person); 6-9:30 pm (approx); Railroad Museum of PA
    • Watch Night at the Museum (rated PG) and enjoy popcorn and ice cream. Advance tickets are $10 each for ages 3+, $15 at the door. Tickets include museum admission from 6 pm until the movie starts outside on the lawn at dusk. Please bring your own lawn seating (Movie Night info and tickets).

Saturday, August 6

  • Battle of Bushy Run Anniversary (in-person); Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-5 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about the two-day battle between Native American warriors and British soldiers during Pontiac's War, as well as life on the frontier for European settlers and Native peoples (Battle of Bushy Run event info).
  • A Tour into the Past Day (in-person); 10 am-4 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • There will be a blacksmith, carpenter, colonial dancers, and other presenters to enliven your visit (BBP event info).
  • Friends Lecture Series (in-person); 2-3:30 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Meg and Dan Smith will discuss life in the Navy band, including training, duty stations, travel and special events. Lecture is free (donations welcome); seating is first come, first served (PMM lecture info).

Sunday, August 7

  • Living History Sunday (in-person); noon-4 pm; Conrad Weiser Homestead
    • Living history demonstrations include Native American culture by Darius Puff and 18th-century shoemaking. Guided tours will be available (CWH info).
  • Garden Party/Oxygen Day (in-person); noon-4 pm; Joseph Priestley House
    • The Garden Party starts at noon with music, children's activities, light refreshments. From 1 to 4 pm, the house will be open for self-guided tours with docents on hand to answer questions. Dr. Priestley will conduct chemistry demos at 1:30 and 2:30 (stop by the Visitor Center to pick up your free tickets). Both events are free (Garden/Oxygen event info).
  • Ice Cream Social (in-person); 1-4 pm; Ephrata Cloister
    • Enjoy an ice cream sundae and visit the historic buildings. $10 ticket includes ice cream and access to the grounds; members get in free but pay $5 for ice cream (Ice Cream Social info).
  • Historic Trades (in-person); 1-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • Historic trades demonstrators will be eager to talk to visitors as they showcase their skills. Included in regular admission (Historic Trades info).
  • Summer Concert Series (in-person); 2-4 pm; Old Economy Village
    • Miss Freddye's Homecookin' Band will bring acoustic blues to the garden, with some gospel, classic rock, and a hint of country and bluegrass. The event will move indoors if the weather's bad. Concert is free ($5 donation suggested). Please bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating (Concert Series info).

Tuesday, August 9

  • Sensory Hours (in-person); 9-11 am; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light, noise, and crowd levels will be reduced, and there will be some quiet spaces if you need a break from the activity. A few of the historic trains will be open, with staff on hand to answer questions. Advance tickets required (Aug. 9 Sensory Hours tickets).
  • Garden Workshop Series (in-person); 10-11 am; Pennsbury Manor
    • Join Pennsbury's gardener to learn about 17th-century and modern gardening skills - today's topic is flower arrangements. The workshop is open to visitors age 12 and older; cost is $20. Registration is required; call 215/946-0400 to reserve your spot (Garden workshop info for 8/9).
  • Virtual Museum Spotlight; 5-6 pm; Somerset Historical Center
    • Make a virtual visit to Somerset Historical Center and learn all the site has to offer. The program is free as part of the Heinz Center Affiliates Program; please register to receive the Zoom link (SHC Virtual Museum Spotlight info and registration).
  • The Battle of Brandywine (virtual); 7-8 pm; Cornwall Iron Furnace
    • Historian and educator Michael C. Harris will draw on his research and experience to present a program on this important Revolutionary War battle. Cornwall site administrator Mike Emery will moderate a short discussion. The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Cornwall lecture info and registration).

Wednesday, August 10

  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); 10 am-3 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the galleries will be turned off and the volume on the orienation video will be reduced (captions enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please reserve your timeslot, you can pay when you arrive (go to PMM online booking calendar and select August 10).
  • Family Gallery Tour: Mammal Hall (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Museum educators will use hands-on objects to help visitors learn about the Mammal Hall dioramas. Included in regular admission (Gallery Tour info).

Thursday, August 11

  • Storytime in the Garden (in-person); 10-11 am; Pennsbury Manor
    • Enjoy a story with the gardener, then explore the grounds. Suggested for ages 4 to 8, but all are welcome. Cost is $3, which is a grounds pass; additional fee to tour the Manor House (PMM Storytime info).
  • Curiosity Kids (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Learn about memory and logic and try your skills at a variety of puzzles and games. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Space is limited; sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info).
  • Ephrata Virtual Academy; 7-8 pm; Ephrata Cloister
    • Historian Noah Lewis will present a virtual program on African Americans in the Revolution, based on his extensive research on and portrayal of Edward "Ned" Hector, who served at the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. Hector was among thousands of African Americans who served during the American Revolution. The program is free; please sign up to receive the Zoom link (Ephrata Virtual Academy registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Exploring the Armor (in-person); Sat., Aug. 13, 2-4 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Take a guided tour of the tracked vehicles on the museum grounds. Tickets are $15. Space is limited and reservations are required; as of earlier this week there were 5 slots available (Armored tour tickets).
  • Drake Well Marathon and Half (in-person and virtual); Sun., August 14; 7 am-?, Drake Well Museum & Park
  • Garden Workshop Series (in-person); continuing Tues., Aug. 16-23, 10-11 am; Pennsbury Manor
    • Join Pennsbury's gardener to learn about 17th-century and modern gardening skills - a new topic each week. The workshops are open to visitors age 12 and older; cost is $20 per session. Registration is required; call 215/946-0400 to reserve your spot (Garden workshop dates and topics).
  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); Sun., Aug. 14, 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the galleries will be turned off and the volume on the orienation video will be reduced (captions enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please reserve your timeslot, you can pay when you arrive (go to PMM online booking calendar and select Aug. 14).
  • Virtual Museum Spotlight; Tues., Aug. 16, 5-6 pm; Old Economy Village
    • This virtual visit to Old Economy will show you the wide variety of things to see and do. The program is part of the Heinz Center Affiliate Program Experience Kits initiative. Please register to receive the link (OEV Museum Spotlight registration).
  • PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase; Wed., Aug. 17, 7-8 pm
    • This month's theme is "Fine and Folk Art." Panelists from five Trails of History sites will present objects, and then the audience votes on their favorite. The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Virtual Showcase registration).
  • Virtual Talk: Drake Well Museum (virtual); Thurs., Aug. 18, 7-8 pm EDT
  • Sensory Hours (in-person); Tues., Aug. 23, 3-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light, noise, and crowd levels will be reduced, and there will be some quiet spaces if you need a break from the activity. A few of the historic trains will be open, with staff on hand to answer questions. Advance tickets required (Aug. 23 Sensory Hours tickets).