Winding Down April

Winding Down April
A table set outdoors with a plain woven cloth holds clay pots, wooden bowls, and pewter porringers with various green herbs growing or harvested.
Photo via Conrad Weiser Homestead Facebook page

Well, it's almost the end of April, so I'm just going to wrap the month by sharing a few photos from Trails of History programs. As is often the case, Pennsylvania's weather is making us play guessing games, but outdoor events are definitely ramping up. Last weekend, Conrad Weiser Homestead hosted "A Sense of History," where visitors were encouraged to use their senses to learn more about life in 18th-century Berks County. The photo above shows a variety of herbs that visitors could experience by touch, smell, and sight. This Sunday, May 1, from noon to 4 pm, they'll host a living history event focused on trade goods (see details below). If you're in the area, it's a beautiful place to spend some outdoor time.

Two large horses--one mostly white, the other mostly brown--are in harness to pull a wheeled trailer with logs. A bearded man in brown overalls and a burgundy sweatshirt is leaning against one of the wheels.
Photo via PA Lumber Museum Facebook page

Last weekend was the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum's annual spring antique show and sawmill demo. You can't run a sawmill without logs, so they also had folks on hand to show how logs get moved around. There was a loader with a forklift, but also some horses who help with log skidding. The picture above is from Saturday; on Wednesday, it was snowing lightly. You just never know.

Image shows the parking lot, wooden barn (museum store), and entry walkway at Ephrata Cloister. Adults in casual clothes and teens dressed in formal wear are standing around waiting to take photos.
Photo via Ephrata Cloister Facebook page

It's prom season already? Yes, it is. It's become something of a local tradition in Ephrata to take prom pictures at Ephrata Cloister, another of our Trails of History beauties. While history is why our sites are preserved, our communities value us for lots of different reasons. Helping people make lasting memories is important, too.

Rows and rows of small parsley plants in square black starter pots. White and yellow id tags are stuck into the soil of each.
Photo via Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum Facebook page

We started with herbs, we'll end with herbs. After a two-year hiatus, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum's Herb & Garden Faire is back next weekend. You can support the Heirloom Seed Project by purchasing plants such as those pictured above. A wide variety of vendors will have plants and garden-related stuff, plus there will be food trucks and stands. If you're closer to western PA, Old Economy Village's Garden Mart is also a great source of heirloom varieties and garden beauty. See below for details of both events.

Onward to May!

Up Next

Sunday, May 1

  • Living History Sunday (in-person) noon-4 pm, Conrad Weiser Homestead
    • Enjoy an afternoon in the park and learn about life 18th-century trade goods exchanged by Native Americans and European settlers. Donations welcome (Weiser Homestead info).

Monday, May 2

  • Unlock Your History (in-person), 9 am-4 pm, Old Economy Village
    • Learn how to preserve, decipher, and research your family history documents. Offered in association with the Heinz History Center. Cost is $15, which includes a box lunch (Unlock Your History info and registration).

Tuesday, May 3

  • Sensory Hours, 3-5 pm, Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light and sound levels will be lowered and several historic trains will be open with staff on-hand to answer questions. Cost is $7 per person; please register in advance (Sensory Hours info and registration).

Friday, May 6

  • Herb & Garden Faire (in-person), 9 am-5 pm Friday and Saturday, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Shop for plants from the Heirloom Seed Project and other garden-related vendors. Event runs 9 am-5 pm both days. Several community food trucks and vendors will be on-site as well. Advance tickets are available online (Herb & Garden Faire info & tickets).
  • JUST ADDED - Stargazing at the Homestead (in-person), 8 pm-?, Daniel Boone Homestead
    • Join members of the Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society to view planets and constellations. Visitors are encouraged to dress warmly and to bring their own telescopes, flashlights, and chairs (Stargazing info).

Saturday, May 7

  • Garden Mart (in-person), 9 am-1 pm, Old Economy Village
    • Heirloom varieties of plants raised in OEV's greenhouse will be for sale, along with other plants and garden-related items. Admission is free all weekend (Garden Mart info).
  • Spring Gas Up (in-person), 9 am-3 pm, Drake Well Museum & Park
    • The museum hosts the Pioneer Steam and Gas Engine Society, with displays of antique engines, farm and oil equipment, cars, trucks, and models. Included in regular admision; Hydetown Fire Dept. Auxiliary will have food and beverages for sale (Spring Gas Up info).
  • Spring Nature Walk (in-person), 10 am-noon, Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about the flora and fauna of western PA and explore the grounds. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. Pre-registration is required, but you can pay when you arrive (Spring Nature Walk info and tickets).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • The Pennsylvania Military Museum will offer a Sensory Friendly Visit day on Wednesday, May 11, from 10 am to 3 pm. Background sound effects in the gallery will be turned off and the volume on the orientation video will be reduced (captions always enabled). Please register in advance; standard admission rates apply and you can pay when you arrive (Sensory Friendly visit info).
  • The next PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11, at 7 pm. Staff from five Trails of History sites will present objects on the theme "Health & Medical Devices" and then the audience will vote on their favorite or the one they thought best illustrated the theme. The program is free; register to receive the Zoom link (Collections Showcase 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 demo, hands-on art activities, and presentations on historic railroading jobs. Ticket sales end May 17 (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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