Waiting for Punxy Phil

Waiting for Punxy Phil
Sunny day with wispy clouds in a blue sky over snow-covered ground with bare trees on either side of a plowed road. A hillside with bare trees is in the distance. On the right side of the road three people in cold weather gear are cross-country skiing.
Last weekend, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum welcomed visitors to try out cross-country skiing and other winter activities (photo courtesy PA Lumber Museum)

Wednesday (February 2) is Groundhog Day. Will we get six more weeks of the above? Or will it be an early spring? Only Punxsutawney Phil (or any of Pennsylvania's other prognosticating rodents) knows for sure. My money's on six more weeks of winter, because it's Pennsylvania and it's February--but I've been wrong before. While we wait to find out what lies ahead, season-wise, here's a roundup of Trails of History site news from January.

PHMC's Keystone Internship program will take place this summer with paid in-person placements around the state. Openings are available for a variety of historic preservation, museum operations, collections care and management, and museum education and interpretation projects. Applications are being accepted through the NEOGOV online system through February 20. Interns must be at least 18 years of age and must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program (the application process requires an unofficial transcript). For details, visit the NEOGOV Internship Site and look for postings for "Keystone Internships."

Graphic has a black background with a multi-colored map of Pennsylvania and "PA" in black letters. Rest of text says "SHARP" and "Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan"

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council recently announced the award of $1.4 million in funds to 92 organizations through the PA SHARP program, funded through the American Rescue Plan. Each grantee will receive up to $20,000 to strengthen their organization and will join the new PA SHARP Learning Network, which fosters resource sharing, networking, professional development, and mutual support. We are pleased to report that two PA Trails of History sites, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum and Pennsbury Manor, were among the successful applicants. Congratulations!

Also on the awards front, Somerset Historical Center is the 2022 recipient of the Betty Haupt Memorial Tourism Award through the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce. It is awarded in memory of Elizabeth "Betty" Haupt (1918-1990), former director of the Somerset Historical Center, and a former member of the Chamber's Tourism Committee. It is given to a county resident or business that has made a significant effort to further tourism in Somerset County. Betty Haupt was instrumental in the early development of Somerset Historical Center and its eventual transfer to the Commonwealth. The Center, with its focus on the history of southwestern Pennsylvania, is a major component of tourism to the Laurel Highlands. Well done, all!

Brandywine Battlefield Park and Hope Lodge were featured in a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the best museums in the Philadelphia region (hat tip to Kevin Horan at Hope Lodge for sharing the link). And Conrad Weiser Homestead was featured in a Washington Post travel piece that suggested folks visit Berks County as a less-busy alternative to Lancaster.

Small stone kitchen building with a garden surrounded by rough wooden fencing is in the foreground, the two-story stone Keith House with blue trim around doors and windows stands behind
The Keith House at Graeme Park with its summer kitchen and kitchen garden in the foreground (photo via GP's Facebook page)

This year is the 300th anniversary of the Keith House, begun in 1722, and the folks at Graeme Park are posting lots of old photos and other images on Facebook to mark the occasion (Graeme Park's Facebook page). They'd also like to hear from people who have stories and memories of the site during its more recent history and have set up a Google Doc to gather that info (Graeme Park Memories Google Doc).

Two weeks ago curators from Drake Well Museum & Park and the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum participated in a program for the Boom Heritage Series, jointly sponsored by the Lumber Heritage Region and the Oil Region Alliance. It was in interesting look at relationships between Pennsylvania's lumber and oil industries and numerous ways in which they overlapped. If you missed it, you can catch the recording of "An Insider's Look at the Drake Well and Pennsylvania Lumber State Museums."

And finally, for today, Eckley Miners' Village is looking for help turning oral history transcripts into a searchable format to make them available for research. They've posted on Facebook with more information. Not a bad way to spend some time if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow next week.

Up Next

Today, January 28
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual): Janet Johnson, curator of archaeology, will talk about a piece of Rev War naval defenses recovered from the Delaware River in 2012; The State Museum of PA; 12:15-12:45 pm; program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration)
Sunday, January 30
  • Sunday Sewing Circle (in-person): bring your sewing or embroidery project and spend time with others who like to sew; Bushy Run Battlefield; 1-4 pm; program is free (Sewing Circle info)
Wednesday, February 2
  • Explore! (in-person): celebrate Groundhog Day by learning about groundhogs and the science of weather forecasting; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; for kids in grades 3-5 and included in regular admission; space is limited, so be sure to sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Explore! info)
Thursday, February 3
  • Winter History Class (in-person and virtual): the 9-week class starts today with a brief history of Ephrata Cloister and a discussion of the Welsh Tract of PA; Ephrata Cloister; 9 am-noon; limited in-person registration is available for members who sign up for the full 9 weeks, non-members and folks who want to choose individual sessions can attend via Zoom (see Ephrata website for details and registration)
  • Games & Puzzle Challenge (in-person): test your knowledge and skills with a variety of games and puzzles in the galleries; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; included in regular admission (Games & Puzzle info)
Friday, February 4
  • StoryTime (in-person): read One Dog Sleigh by Mary Casanova and create your own jingle bells; The State Museum of PA; 10:30-11:30 am; for kids age 2 to pre-K and included in regular admission (StoryTime info)

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • 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 (VIP tickets are sold out), including designated driver tickets (Rails and Ales tickets)


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