What's Up?

A white man in knee breeches and long waistcoat talks with a group of homeschool students. He is standing in front of a large fallen tree with some of the bark shaved off and is hold a long-handled tool to demonstrate.
Pennsbury Manor shared this photo of site administrator Doug Miller during a recent homeschool visitation day at the site (photo via Pennsbury's Facebook page)

We know it's spring when the school groups return to the Trails of History. Although school visits haven't entirely recovered to pre-pandemic levels, most sites are expecting to once again help young visitors explore the history of Pennsylvania and the people who have lived here. Do you have fond memories of a field trip to one of our sites? Drop a note in the comments!

PA Museums, our statewide museum organization, recently announced the winners of their 2022 Special Achievement Awards. Among the awardees are two PA Trails of History sites. Ephrata Cloister was honored for their successful effort in 2020 to move their long-standing Christmas events online during the Covid-19 site closures (this effort was also honored in 2021 by the American Association for State and Local History). Receiving an S.K. Stevens Award for 2022 was Fort Pitt Museum's exhibit, Pittsburgh, Virginia. Congratulations to Ephrata Cloister, Fort Pitt Museum, and all the PA Museums award winners for 2022.

Speaking of sharing history with the public, June 1 is the deadline for nominations to the state historical marker program. New criteria were approved in September 2020, and the nomination process is now online through the PA-SHARE portal. The info you need is on the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) historical marker nomination page. The nomination page includes a link to a PA-SHARE tutorial if you haven't used the new site yet; please allow yourself time to navigate the process.

Up Next

Today, April 8

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual), 12:15-12:45 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • Bert Myers from the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection will talk about PA's successful peregrine falcon reintroduction efforts. The program is free; register to receive the Zoom link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Saturday, April 9

  • Pennsbury Manor and Bushy Run Battlefield will both be closed to the public April 9 and 10.
  • Common Threads Fiber Arts Celebration (in-person), 9 am-4 pm, Somerset Historical Center
    • Fiber artists and guest speakers will be set up throughout the museum, demonstrating specific techniques, providing hands-on activities, and educating visitors about a wide variety of fiber arts. Offered in partnership with Laurel Arts. Admission is $5; a local food truck will be on site with lunch options for purchase (Common Threads info).
  • Rails & Ales (in-person), 6:30-9 pm, Railroad Museum of PA
    • Craft breweries, food vendors (separate charge), and a world-class collection of trains. Ticket options include designated driver tickets. You must be age 21 or older to attend; valid ID required at the door. Advance tickets only (Rails & Ales info and tickets).

Sunday, April 10

  • Online Benefit Auction Preview (virtual), Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Today through April 16, preview items for Landis Valley's silent virtual auction. Bidding will take place online April 17-22. The LIVE benefit auction takes place April 23, starting at 5 pm (LVM Auction info).

Tuesday, April 12

  • The Story of Telling the Cornwall Story (virtual), 7-8 pm, Cornwall Iron Furnace
    • James Polcynski will present a history of Cornwall as a museum; 2022 marks the 90th anniversary of Margaret Buckingham's gift of the Furnace complex to the people of PA. The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Story of Cornwall info and registration).

Wednesday, April 13

  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person), 10 am-3 pm, PA Military Museum
    • Background sound effects in the galleries will be turned off and volume on the orientation film will be reduced (captions always enabled). Reserved timeslots available on the hour between 10 am and 3 pm; payment can be made when you arrive (Sensory Visit info and reservations). Check PMM's event calendar for additional dates for sensory friendly visits.
  • Family Gallery Tour: Mammal Hall (in-person), 11:30 am-12:30 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • A museum educator will help families learn more about the animals in the dioramas using hands-on objects. Included in regular admission (Gallery Tour info).

Thursday, April 14

  • Curiosity Kids (in-person), 11:30 am-12:30 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • PA is the largest producer of pretzels in the U.S.; learn about the history of this snack food and test your pretzel twisting skills. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Space is limited, so sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info).
  • Ephrata Virtual Academy, 7-8 pm, Ephrata Cloister
    • Tonight's program is "Easter Among the Pennsylvania Germans," exploring traditions of early German settlers in PA. The program is free; register to receive the Zoom link (Virtual Academy info and registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Somerset Historical Center's Coopering School for 2022 is fully booked, but there is a waiting list for 2023, or in the event of cancellations this year (Coopering School info and waiting list).
  • 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).
  • On Saturday, May 2, Old Economy Village will host "Unlock Your History," a program on researching your family history and deciphering clues in old documents. Cost is $15, which includes lunch (Unlock Your History info and registration).
  • Railroad Museum of PA's STEAM on the Rails educational experience takes place May 19 from 10 am to 1 pm. The program is for school group students in grades K-6 and features learning stations throughout the Museum - interactive behind-the-scenes tours, a live steam deom, hands-on art activities, and presentations on historic railroading jobs (STEAM on the Rails 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.

Summer Camps & Activities on the Trails of History

I'll add to this as I get more info.
  • Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Summer History Club; activity boxes for Ages 8-12 (pick-up to use at home with an accompanying YouTube video); June 19, July 10 & 24, Aug. 7


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