Retail Therapy on the Trails of History

Retail Therapy on the Trails of History
Blue background with white line drawings of gifts, shopping carts and sale signs. Text says: Celebrate Small Business Saturday and Museum Store Sunday along the Pennsylvania Trails of History! Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, and Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022.

Before we get to the post-Thanksgiving fun, please note that all Trails of History sites will be closed tomorrow, November 24. Only Fort Pitt Museum, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and The State Museum of Pennsylvania will be open on Friday, November 25. All of us here at Trailheads HQ wish you and yours a meaningful and restful holiday filled with family, friends, and good food.

But, come the weekend, we invite you to "shop 'til you drop" and take in some history as well. For Small Business Saturday and Museum Store Sunday, participating Trails of History sites will offer discounts or perks to thank you for shopping on site. Whether you're looking for books, handmade pottery and textiles from local artisans, delicious food items, and much, much more, Trails of History museum stores are a great place to shop. And while we'd love to have you also tour the sites to experience the many and varied stories of Pennsylvania, you don't need an admission ticket to visit our museum stores. How many can you visit in a weekend? Check out the list of participating sites and lace up your skates!

Up Next

Saturday, November 26

  • Christmas in the Colonies (in-person); 3-6 pm; Graeme Park
    • Christmas in the colonies was celebrated differently, and sometimes not at all, by each ethnic group who settled here, bringing traditions from their homeland. Graeme Park was home to the Scottish Keith and Graeme families, Irish and German servants, enslaved workers, and later the Quaker Penroses. As you tour the rooms of the Keith House, costumed actors will present these different traditions to you – some you will recognize in our modern-day celebrations or maybe you’ll discover something new to incorporate into your own traditions. Part of the tour will also feature the Tapestry Historic Dance Ensemble performing traditional parlor dances, Noah Lewis playing Ned Hector and telling you about the life of a free black soldier, and Santa will be on the grounds for selfies with the kids. Tickets are $12 for age 13+, $8 for age 6-12 and Friends members (Christmas in the Colonies info).
  • Candlelight Open House (in-person); 5-8:30 pm; Ephrata Cloister
    • Spend a few minutes or hours visiting with local craftsmen as they share their stories and wares. Included in the evening’s event will be Fraktur calligraphy by Emily Smucker-Beidler, and Matt and Elaine Vardjan of Pennsylvania Folk Art Papers showing paper stars and block prints. Additionally, demonstrations will be provided by local spinners and the letterpress will be working in the Printing Office. The whole family can become craftsmen making small treasure boxes just the size for stocking stuffers. The Ephrata Cloister Chorus will be singing a short program at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30, and the Woodlands Trio will add to the sounds of the evening at 6:00, 7:00 and 8:00. Tickets are $7 for ages 3 and up, available online or at the door (Candlelight Open House info and tickets).

Sunday, November 27

  • Sunday Sewing Circle (in-person); Noon-3 pm; Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Bring your needlecraft projects and enjoy the company of others while you work. The event is free and open to the public (Sewing Circle info).

Wednesday, November 30

  • Family Gallery Tour: Mammal Hall (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • This family friendly tour looks at the animals in the Mammal Hall dioramas. Using hands on objects, a museum educator will help you explore more about these animals, their habitats and how adaptations allow these animals to live within Pennsylvania. Included in regular admission (Mammal Hall tour info).

Thursday, December 1

  • Curiosity Kids (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Join Museum Educators in Nature Lab as we learn about dinosaurs. Explore what makes a dinosaur different from other pre-historic reptiles and the different types of dinosaurs that existed. Craft your own “I-built-osaurus” dinosaur model to take home. For 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).
  • Holly Nights (in-person); Thursday and Friday, 6-9 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • Come and experience the enchantment of Pennsbury Manor by candlelight. There will be music, tours, craft demos, and a visit with Father Christmas. The event runs 6-9 pm both nights. Tickets: Adults, $14; Seniors, $12; Children age 4+, $6. Tickets can be purchased at the door or ahead of time via Eventbrite (Holly Nights ticket link).

Friday, December 2

  • StoryTime (in-person); 10:30-11:30 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Read Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett and create a day/night wheel to explore more about the dark. For ages 2 to Pre-K and included in regular admission. Please sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk (StoryTime info).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Christmas with the Conductor (in-person); Saturday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 10, 11 am and 2 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Do you love a classic holiday story? The Museum conductor will punch your child’s souvenir train ticket and welcome you on board one of the historic railroad cars for a lively reading. Kids then have more fun decorating their own gingerbread cookie in Jack Frost Station and receive a small bag of special goodies to take home. Two 45-minute sessions, one at 11 am and one at 2 pm. For ages 3 and older; children must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Space is limited and registration is required. Cost is $10 per child, in addition to regular admission (Dec. 3 info and tickets OR Dec. 10 info and tickets).
  • SOLD OUT Children's Christmas Party (in-person); Sunday, Dec. 4, 1-4 pm
    • A holiday party with games, crafts, entertainment, and a visit from Santa. Geared for ages 5 to 12. Tickets ($5) on sale now (Christmas Party tickets).
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual); Friday, Dec. 9, 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Dr. Houping Liu, forest entomologist with the PA Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources, will talk about the Eastern hemlock tree and hemlock woolly adelgid management. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).
  • Holidays at Hope Lodge & Colonial Tavern (in-person); Saturday, Dec. 10, 11 am-4 pm; Hope Lodge
    • Enjoy a self-guided tour of the mansion with holiday decorations and music by members of the Ambler Symphony Orchestra (noon-2 pm). Tickets are $8 for ages 12 and up, free for members and children younger than 12. Purchase tickets at the door or online via Eventbrite. For an additional charge, visitors age 21+ can also taste seasonal craft beers from Round Guys Brewing Co. (Holidays at Hope Lodge tickets).
  • Christmas at the Cloister (in-person); Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 12 and 13, 6:30-8 pm; Ephrata Cloister
    • Spend a few moments in quiet reflection with seasonal readings and music in the historic Saal. Two programs each night, one starting at 6:30 and the other at 8:00. Seating is limited and advance tickets are required (Christmas at the Cloister tickets).
  • Late Nite with the Belsnickle! (in-person); Friday, Dec. 16, 7-9 pm; Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Holiday-themed crafts, PA Dutch traditions, a visit with Belsnickle, and an adult beverage. Must be at least 21 to attend. Event is rain or shine; dress for the weather, including shoes appropriate for walking the site. Tickets are $40 (Late Nite info and tickets).
  • Putz'n and Brutz'n with the Belsnickle! (in-person); Saturday, Dec. 17, 1-3 pm; Landis Valley Vilage & Farm Museum
    • This family-friendly event includes a walking tour, making a punched tin ornament, light refreshments, a visit with the Belsnickle, and more. The program will be held rain or shine, so please dress for the weather with appropriate shoes. Tickets are $30 for people age 8 and up, $20 for ages 3-7. Space is limited, and reservations are required (Family Belsnickle event).


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