Dreaming of Spring and Other Things

Dreaming of Spring
Melons, beans, peppers, tomatoes and apples in multiple sizes, colors, and varieties spill onto a table
Looks like a Dutch still life, but you can grow them all (photo courtesy Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum)

If dreaming about your spring and summer garden helps you deal with the bleak mid-winter chill, I have good news! Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum has recently put its Heirloom Seed Project catalog online. The Heirloom Seed Project was established some 35 years ago and focuses on seed preservation and growing heirloom varieties of vegetables that have historical significance for Pennsylvania Germans. In the past, seeds were sold at Landis Valley's Museum Store, the annual Herb and Garden Faire, and via a mail order catalog sent to 600 addresses. According to Joanne Ranck-Dirks, the move to an online catalog should help the project reach many more gardeners, which not only provides financial support for the project but furthers the goal of preserving and sharing these heirloom varieties as widely as possible. You can find more information about the Heirloom Seed Project on Landis Valley's website (Heirloom Seed Project info). The photo above gives you an idea of the variety of vegetables available; you can also buy flax seeds or flax straw if growing your own linen is a thing you want to do. To experience the true range of seeds, you'll need to visit the catalog; just looking at the pictures improved my mood and made me a little hungry (Heirloom Seed project online catalog).

3 round melons with green stripes plus a half melon showing orange-ish interior with seeds in the center
Rocky Ford Melon, an 1881 variety of muskmelon also known as "Eden Gem"

Wednesday, January 19, is Museum Selfie Day. It's a great day to show off your favorite museums by taking a picture of yourself while there. Please be sure to tag the museum (for example, their Twitter handle), @MuseumSelfieDay, and #MuseumSelfie. If you can't visit a museum, maybe you have a souvenir or a selfie from a previous visit (or am I the only person who doesn't clean out their phone's camera roll?). Anyway, please join in the fun, especially if you can tag one of our PHMC Trails of History sites (Trailheads post about Museum Selfie Day in 2018). ADDED 1/18: Since they're open only on weekends right now, Bushy Run Battlefield will host a Museum Selfie weekend, January 22-23.

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Keith House at what is now known as Graeme Park (the grounds were originally called "Fountain Low"). Begun in 1722 as a summer residence for Pennsyvlania's Provincial Governor Sir William Keith, the house is the only surviving home of a colonial governor in the U.S. (read more about the history of the site). As part of their efforts to honor the occasion, the folks at Graeme Park are asking the public to share their memories of the site and its programs. If you'd like to contribute, they've posted a Graeme Park Memories Google doc to gather stories and images.

Although I started out this post dreaming of spring, it is still very much winter on the Trails of History. When snow and ice are in the forecast (or have already fallen), it's a good idea to check before visiting. Site staff do their best to keep things open and safe no matter what, but it can take time to clear large amounts of snow. Also, as I may have mentioned once or twice, many sites are closed or on reduced schedules for the winter, so double checking is always, always recommended.

Stone wall with shorter walls at right angles. Gothic style stone building is on the other side of wall. Snow covers the ground and tops of the walls and building.
The Blacksmith Shop at Cornwall Iron Furnace with stone buttresses in foreground; the Charcoal House (visitor center) is behind the photographer (photo via Cornwall's Facebook page)

Up Next

Today, January 14
Saturday, January 15
  • Games Day (in-person): there will be a variety of historical miniature war games throughout the day; Bushy Run Battlefield; 10 am-4 pm; $5 admission includes tours of the museum, food and drink available for purchase (Games Day info)
  • 31 Years Later: Operation Desert Storm (in-person): Commander Frank Mellott, USN Ret., will talk about his experiences during Operation Desert Storm; Pennsylvania Military Museum; 1-2:15 pm; the program is free and seating is first come, first served (PMM info)
Wednesday, January 19
  • Explore! (in-person): learn about education in a one-room schoolhouse through objects and original lessons; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; for kids in grades 3-5 and included in regular admission (Explore! info)
Thursday, January 20
  • Family Gallery Tour: Paleontology (in-person): enjoy a tour of life through time in PA, with hands-on fossils of plants and animals; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; included in regular admission (Paleontology Tour info)
  • Winter Academy (virtual): district forester Cecile Stetler will talk about the best tree species for firewood, estimating volume, pros & cons of heating with wood; Drake Well Museum and Park; 6:30-7:30 pm (Winter Academy info)

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • The Railroad Museum of PA will offer Sensory Hours on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 3-5 pm (last entry at 4:30). Light, noise, and activity levels will be reduced and there will be quiet spaces located in some of the galleries. Advance tickets are required; purchase by 1 pm on Jan. 25 (Eventbrite link for ticket info and purchase).
  • The next PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 7 pm. Staff from 5 Trails of History sites will present objects linked to the theme, Trades & Jobs, and the audience members will vote on what they think makes the best match. The program is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (register for Collections Showcase)
  • Additional Winter Academy virtual programs will be offered by Drake Well Museum & Park on Feb. 10 and 17 (Drake Well Virtual Academy info)
  • Rails and Ales: enjoy an evening of craft beer among the museum's historic trains at the Railroad Museum of PA, April 9, 5:30-9 pm; must be 21 or older to attend; variety of ticket options, including designated driver tickets (Rails and Ales tickets)


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