A Busy Weekend on the Trails of History

Oil field equipment - Two large metal drive wheels attached to pistons and sitting atop a solid wood base.
Oilfield equipment on the grounds at Drake Well Museum & Park (as seen at the Spring Gas Up via Facebook)

This weekend is a particularly busy one on the Trails of History, with events large and not-so-large. I hope you'll find just the right thing to suit your tastes from art to industrial history to a remembrance of Sept. 11 (last year we marked the 20th anniversary with a post about the day).

Up Next*

*Please note that calendar info is subject to change; we try to keep this up to date, but it's always best to check.

Today, September 9

  • Mountain Craft Days (in-person); today through Sunday, 10 am-5 pm; Somerset Historical Center
    • More than 125 craft booths and a dozen outdoor performance venues (not to mention food vendors) dot the grounds of the SHC for three days. Free on-site parking (or free shuttle if weather messes with the fields). Tickets are $9 for age 18 and up, $5 for age 6-17 (Mountain Craft Days info).
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual); 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Join us as we talk to Jeremy Banfield, Elk Biologist from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, to learn more about history of the elk reintroduction and the management of Pennsylvania’s current elk population. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Saturday, September 10

  • Annual Fall Gas Up (in-person); 9 am-3 pm; Drake Well Museum & Park
    • Members of the Pioneer Steam and Gas Engine Society will be on-site with their display of operating and stationary gas engines made in PA. The museum's Olin gas engine and pumping wells will be in operation, along with the Bessemer engine. The program will also feature oilfield tractors of various vintages. Included in regular admission. In addition, the Hydetown Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary will have a food booth (Fall Gas Up info).
  • Antique Pontiac Car Visit (in-person); 10 am-3 pm; Ephrata Cloister
    • The Pontiac Early Times chapter will display cars dating between 1926 and 1954 in the museum's upper parking lot. There is no charge to view the cars. Regular admission rates apply to tour the historic buildings and grounds (Pontiac Car Visit info).
  • Railroad Heritage Day (in-person); 10 am-4 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Presentations and displays focused on the Pennsylvania Railroad will take place today. Today and tomorrow Artist-in-residence Frank Crowe will be on hand as well. Included in regular admission (Heritage Day and Artist-in-residence info).
  • Paws in the Park (in-person); 11 am-3 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • This event celebrates dogs and their humans with a series of activity stations spread out around the grounds. The event is free, but pre-registration is requested (Paws in the Park info and registration).
  • Women in the Lumber Industry (in-person); 1-2 pm; PA Lumber Museum
    • Researcher Hilary Folwell Jebitsch will explore the important roles women have held in the lumber industry and provide in-depth information on the lives of some remarkable women (Women's history program info).
  • 12th Annual Crush & Brew (in-person); 5-9 pm; Old Economy Village
    • Wine & beer from local breweries, home brews, and more, as well as food trucks and live music. Event is presented in cooperation with the Ambridge Historic District. Tickets are $30, which includes tasting glass, a food voucher, and admission to the off-site afterparty (Crush & Brew info and tickets).

Sunday, September 11

  • Living History Theatre (in-person); Noon-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • "Pennsylvania's Southern Border" explores the contentious relationship between the Penns and the Calverts over where Pennsylvania ends and Maryland begins. Join William Penn and members of his inner circle as they discuss how to deal with Lord Baltimore. Presented at 12:15, 1:45, and 3:15. Included in regular admission (Living History Theatre info).
  • Living History Sunday (in-person); Noon-4 pm; Conrad Weiser Homestead
  • Art of the State Awards Ceremony & Reception (in-person); 1:30-3 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • This year's juried exhibit features works by 92 Pennsylvania artists (see PHMC Flickr slide show). The exhibit opens to the public at noon and will continue during regular hours through January 15, 2023. Admission is on Sept. 11 as part of Harrisburg's annual Gallery Walk (Art of the State info).
  • Remembrance Day (in-person); 6-7 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • Join us for the annual remembrance of the Battle of Brandywine (Sept. 11, 1777) and the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Admission is free (Remembrance Day info).

Wednesday, September 14

  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); 10 am-3 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the gallery will be turned off and the orientation film's volume will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please sign up for a timeslot in advance; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select Sept. 14 to reserve a timeslot).
  • Colonial Games & Puzzles (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Discover and play with toys, games, and puzzles from colonial Pennsylvania. Test your skills with a bilbo catcher, Jacob's ladder, or a hoop-and-stick. Included in regular admission (Colonial Games info).

Thursday, September 15

  • Curiosity Kids (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Visit the Art of the State exhibit with the museum educators and learn how artists use line in their work. Try out your drawing skills to create your own art. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Space is limited, so please sign up at the Ground Floor desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info).

Friday, September 16

  • Taurus Star Party (in-person); 8-10 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about 18th-century astronomy and celestial folklore. The program includes identifying constellations, using a star map, and (weather permitting) using telescopes to look at the night sky. Pre-registration is required (Star Party registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day; Sat., Sept. 17, hours vary; several Trails of History sites participating
  • Colonial Tavern Night (in-person); Sat., Sept. 17, 6-9 pm; Hope Lodge
    • An evening of local brews from Round Guys Brewery, food, music, and history to support the site and its programs. General admission is $60 per person; must be 21 or older to attend. Advance tickets are required (Eventbrite site for Tavern Night tickets).
  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); Sun., Sept. 18, 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background effects in the gallery will be turned off and the orientation film's volume will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Please sign up for a timeslot in advance; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select your date and time).
  • Sensory Hours (in-person); Tuesday, Sept. 20, 3-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Reduced noise, light, and attendance plus quiet spaces when you want a break. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about several of the historic trains open for visitors. Advance tickets required (Sensory Hours Sept. 20 tickets).
  • Fall Nature Walk (in-person); Sat., Sept. 24, 10 am-noon; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about the plants and animals of western PA on this naturalist-guided walk. Pre-registration is required, but you can pay for your tickets at the door (Nature Walk info and registration).
  • Wine & Paint Night (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 5-7 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • General admission tickets include wine sampling and hors d'oeuvres (designated driver tickets available). Ten people can purchase tickets for a private art lesson. Others are welcome to bring their canvasses and paints and set up on the grounds to paint in the evening light. Advance tickets only; must be at least 21 to attend (Paint Night info and tickets).
  • Pithole Lantern Tours (in-person); Sat., Oct. 1, 6:30-9:30 pm; Historic Pithole City
    • Nighttime tours against the backdrop of the remaining elements of this historic oil boomtown. There are some steep hills and rugged terrain, so please dress accordingly. Advance tickets are required and may be purchased online or at the Museum Store at Drake Well Museum & Park (Lantern Tour online tickets).


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