Free Admission on the Trails of History

Free Admission on the Trails of History
Event graphic text reads: "Enjoy free admission at participating Pennsylvania Trails of History sites, Saturday, September 24"

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, the commonwealth’s official history agency, invites the public to explore the state-owned historic sites along the Pennsylvania Trails of History for free on Saturday, September 24. Visit sites on the Military History, Industrial Heritage, Historic Homes, or Rural Farm & Village trails or The State Museum of Pennsylvania to learn about the people, places, and events that make our commonwealth so special. Before you head out, please check the list of participating sites. Then join us for a great day of history.

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.

Saturday, September 24

  • Free Admission Day (in-person); site hours vary; participating PA Trails of History sites
    • See info above.
  • Fall Nature Walk (in-person); 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). Regular admission is free today.
  • PA Geography with the Giant Map (in-person); 10 am-noon; The State Museum of PA
    • Discover the giant map of Pennsylvania, walk across the state, and test your geography skills (Giant map info).

Sunday, September 25

  • Sunday Sewing Circle (in-person); noon-3 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Bring your needlecraft projects and enjoy some company while you work. The event is free and open to the public (Sewing Circle info).
  • Beer Brewing and Garden Highlights (in-person); 1-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • Explore the recipes and plants that helped feed Pennsbury's early residents. Included in regular admission (Garden Highlights info).
  • Exploring the Armor (in-person); 1-4 pm; PA Military Museum
    • Take a private history tour of the outside tracked vehicles including a private look inside the crew compartments. Climb into history and experience our armored vehicles firsthand! Please Dress appropriately for seasonal weather and uneven terrain. Cost is $15 per person, and reservations are required (Exploring the Armor reservations).

Wednesday, September 28

  • Family Gallery Tour: Mammal Hall (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Museum educators will use hands-on objects to help visitors explore the animal dioramas in Mammal Hall. Included in regular admission (Gallery Tour info).

Thursday, September 29

  • Curiosity Kids (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Explore the history of bicycles, tricycles, and scooters in the museum's collection. For kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission. Space is limited; please sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • 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). Some timeslots are already sold out, and others are going fast.
  • Apple Dumpling Sales (in-person); Fri. & Sat., Oct. 7 & 8; Ephrata Cloister
    • Purchase delicious apple dumplings and support the Back to the Cloister Fund. Dumplings are $5 each. Sale hours are Friday from 10 am to 3 pm and Saturday from 9 am until sold out. Prepaid orders of 10 or more dumplings can be placed online for pickup at the site, and delivery is available within 10 miles of Ephrata Cloister for orders of 20 or more dumplings (Ephrata website for details).
  • Garden Railway Tours (in-person); Sun., Oct. 9, 1-5 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Enjoy a self-guided tour of operating model trains in various outdoor and garden settings at 7 stops around Lancaster County. Masking and social distancing may be required or requested a venues. Tickets are $10 for ages 6 and up, available only via Eventbrite. Location info will be sent after you purchase your ticket (Garden Railway Tour tickets).
  • The Farms of the Gettysburg Battlefield (virtual); Tues., Oct. 11, 7-8 pm; Cornwall Iron Furnace
    • Tom Lehman will explore the stories of civilians in and around Gettysburg and how their lives were changed the Civil War battle on their doorsteps. Site administrator Mike Emery will moderate a brief discussion. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Gettysburg lecture registration).
  • Lunch & Learn (in-person); Wed., Oct. 12, 10 am-2 pm; Graeme Park
    • Jim Miller, retired professor of biology at Delaware Valley Univ., will present "Typhoid Mary, Irish Immigrant," exploring the misunderstood history of Mary Mallon and the social policies that resulted from the typhoid outbreak. Cost is $35 per person, which includes continental breakfast, lecture, lunch, and a tour of the Keith House (Lunch & Learn tickets).
  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person); Wed., Oct. 12, 10 am-3 pm, and Sun., Oct. 16, 10 am-noon; PA Military Museum
    • Background sound effects in the gallery will be turned off and volume on the orientation video will be reduced (captions always enabled). Standard admission rates apply. Register in advance for a timeslot; you can pay when you arrive (visit PMM website and select your preferred timeslot).


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