What's New and Old on the Trails of History?

Tools with iron heads and wooden handles are displayed on a photo mural of a wooden barn wall with vertical boards. A plow with wooden handles sits in front of the wall.
A display of 18th- and 19th-century farming tools at Daniel Boone Homestead

What's New?

Several new temporary and long-term exhibits opened on the PA Trails of History this past weekend, ready for the 2022 visitation season. The photo above (courtesy of my colleague Janice Mullin) is one element of a new visitor center exhibit at the Daniel Boone Homestead. The exhibit explores the history of Berks County's Oley Valley, the people who lived (and live) there, and the families that made what we call the Daniel Boone Homestead their home.

As I mentioned in last week's post, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum opened their new changing exhibit for 2022, Pennsylvania Germans: Their Lives Through Color. The colorful pieces on display, including textiles, fraktur, ceramics, and furniture, support the notion that Pennsylvania Germans led lives that were not monochrome but were woven with color.

On Sunday, as part of their celebration of Dr. Joseph Priestley's birthday, the Friends of Joseph Priestley unveiled a new temporary exhibit exploring Dr. Priestley's friendship with Benjamin Franklin. The two met in London around 1765 and became long-time friends. Franklin is credited with encouraging Priestley's interest in science, including the study of electricity. The exhibit includes timelines of their lives, showing where they overlapped, as well as excerpts from their letters. During Sunday's festivities, WVIA, the local PBS station, visited the site to conduct interviews and filming to be used as part of a preview screening of Ken Burns's new documentary on Franklin, which will debut in April. The Daily Item posted an article on Saturday that provides a nice overview of Sunday's event and the new exhibit.

What's Old?

As part of its ongoing project to create a baseline survey of older and historic places all across Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), part of PHMC, is reaching out to people who live and work in the following counties: Berks, Bucks, Butler, Carbon, Crawford, Delaware, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, McKean, Montgomery, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Venango, Warren, Washington, Wayne, and Westmoreland. SHPO is working to find properties that have not previously been included in the Pennsylvania Historic Places Inventory. This includes places of local significance, such as recreational properties, fraternal buildings, industrial resources, African American churches and cemeteries, ethnic communities, and properties that represent local building styles and traditions. Survey teams will be in these counties starting in April and continuing through early 2023. If you know of places that should be considered for inclusion, please submit the information to the Baseline Survey on Survey Monkey or email it to ra-bhpmail@pa.gov. To learn more about the larger baseline survey project visit Baseline Survey Effort, 2020-2024.

Up Next

Today, March 18

  • Charter Chat (virtual), noon, PA State Archives
    • Archivist Josh Stahlman will explore the story of Pennsylvania's Charter in honor of our 341st birthday. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Charter Chat info and registration).

Saturday, March 19

  • StoryTime (in-person), 10:30-11:30 am, The State Museum of PA
    • This month's book is Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket by Sue Fliess with illustrations by Annabel Tempest; learn about Earth's solar system and make a rocket picture to take home. For kids age 2 to pre-K and included in regular admission; sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk (StoryTime info).
  • Exploring the Armor (in-person), 2-4 pm, Pennsylvania Military Museum
    • Take a tour of the tracked vehicles on the museum grounds and get a look inside some of the crew compartments. Space is limited, and reservations are required; as of Wednesday, there were still some tickets available (Armor tour info and registration).

Sunday, March 20

  • Open-Hearth Cooking (in-person), 1-4 pm, Pennsbury Manor
    • It's spring, and the cooks will demonstrate some seasonal recipes that would have been prepared for William Penn and his family. Included in regular admission (Open-Hearth Cooking info).

Tuesday, March 22

  • Sensory Hours (in-person), 3-5 pm, Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light and noise levels will be lowered and the museum will be less crowded. There will also be some quiet spaces for breaks. Pre-registration is required (Sensory Hours info and tickets).

Wednesday, March 23

  • Games & Puzzle Challenge (in-person), 11:30 am-12:30 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • Test your knowledge and skills with a variety of games and puzzles. Included in regular admission (Challenge info).

Thursday, March 24

  • Winter History Class (virtual), 9 am-noon, Ephrata Cloister
    • Today's topic is "The Moravians: A Fresh Look at their Origin." If you did not register for the full course, you can attend today's session via Zoom for $10 (History Class info and registration).
  • Curiosity Kids (in-person), 11:30 am-12:30 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • Learn how artists use line as an element in their work and make your own artwork. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Space is limited, so please sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info).
  • Wisdom & Wine Series (in-person), 6:30-8 pm, Drake Well Museum & Park
    • Historian and retired pastor Dr. Barry Cressman will present "The Sometimes Unholy Entanglement of Church and Oil. Tickets are $5 (free for members). At 5:30 pm there will be a wine-tasting happy hour for a separate $5 fee. Registration is required (Wisdom & Wine info and registration).
  • Virtual Lecture Series, 7 pm, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Abby Baer, executive director of the Demuth Foundation, will present "The Demuths of Lancaster City: Moravians, Merchants, and a Modern Artist," exploring the history of the Demuth family from businessman Christopher Demuth to artist Charles Demuth. The program is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (Virtual Lecture info and registration).

Friday, March 25

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual), 12:15-12:45 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • Nevin Welte from the PA Fish and Boat Commission will talk about freshwater mussels and efforts to improve their populations in PA's rivers and streams. Offered via Zoom; registration is required (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).
  • Ritchie Boy Secrets (in-person and virtual), 1:30 pm, Pennsylvania Military Museum
    • Dr. Beverley Driver Eddy will discuss her book, Ritchie Boy Secrets, which explores the history of the Military Intelligence Training Center in northern Maryland during World War II. The program is presented in cooperation with Penn State's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and will be offered in-person and via Zoom. Registration is required for both. In-person tickets are $20 and include admission to the museum; Zoom tickets are $15 (PMM Lecture info and registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Somerset Historical Center has rescheduled their Pysanky Egg Decorating Workshop to Saturday, April 2. This class is geared to beginners and the fee includes materials. Adults and kids age 12 and up welcome; ages 12 to 15 must be accompanied by an adult (Pysanky workshop info and registration).
  • 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)
  • Tickets are on sale now for Bushy Run Battlefield's Art and Wine with Henry! event on Saturday, April 23. Enjoy some history and view the work of local artists (Art and Wine info and tickets).
  • On Wednesday, April 27, Graeme Park will host a lunch and learn program, "Forgotten Heroes - Women and the Fight for the Right to Vote." The program includes continental breakfast, a lecture, and a buffet lunch; tours of the Keith House will be available after lunch. Tickets are $35; reservations are required (Forgotten Heroes info and tickets).
  • Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum will offer living history tours on Saturday, May 21, based on the life and work of local inventor William Chester Ruth. Ruth was born in 1882 in Chester County; his father had been enslaved in South Carolina and his mother was a free woman of color. Ruth will be portrayed by actor Keith Henley of American Historical Theater. Tour times are 9:30, 12:30, and 3; advance tickets are required (William Chester Ruth Tour info and tickets)
  • On May 22, Daniel Boone Homestead will host the Trails of History Run, which includes a 5K, 10K, and 1/2-mile fun run. There will be awards for 5K and 10K races, plus special awards for the best-dressed representation of the 1770s era. Advance registration is required (DBH trail runs info). Training runs for new runners start at 10:30 am every Sunday at the DeTurk House (near the front entrance gate off of Daniel Boone Rd).
  • Drake Well Marathon, August 14 - this race is a Boston Marathon qualifier. Registration for a variety of categories is now open.


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