Saying Goodbye to 2022

Four images arranged together: Ephrata Cloister's meetinghouse and Sisters' house with candles in the windows and snow on the ground; WWII-era jeep at PA Military Museum with wreaths and presents for soldiers; green wreath with a red bow on the door of a miner's house at Eckley Miners' Village; greenery, fruit, and candlelit lanterns against a brick wall at Pennsbury Manor
Clockwise from upper left corner: Ephrata Cloister, Pennsylvania Military Museum, Pennsbury Manor, and Eckley Miners' Village

This will be the last new Trailheads post for 2022, so I want to wish everyone a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season. I hope that 2023 brings only good things for you and the people you care about. As always, I have been inspired this year by my colleagues on the PA Trails of History, who continue to bring Pennsylvania history alive, from the tried-and-true to innovative new programs. Whether working directly with the public or behind the scenes, PHMC's staff and volunteers make me proud to be part of such a great team.

The listings below cover the next two weeks, so please be sure to check ahead to make sure the schedules haven't changed, especially if weather is a factor. Please note that most Trails of History sites will close at 1 pm today (12/23) (UPDATE: due to weather some are closed entirely today) and next Friday (12/30) and be closed Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1. There are a few exceptions, so check with specific sites before heading out. Also, winter schedules are now in effect at some sites, meaning reduced hours or closures.

And if you're looking for a non-holiday movie, The Pale Blue Eye (R-rated), which was filmed in part at Old Economy Village (as well as other historic sites and state parks in western PA), opens today for a limited run in theaters before heading to Netflix streaming on January 6. Check out the trailer on IMDb to see if it's right for you (content note: it's a murder mystery set in the 19th century and includes suspected suicide).

Up Next

Today, December 23

  • Art of the State Stroller Tour (in-person); 10:30-11 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Fine arts curator Amy Hammond will lead a 30-minute tour of Art of the State 2022 for children in strollers or front carriers and their grown-ups. At the same time, museum staff will provide activities for older kids in Village Square, adjacent to the exhibit gallery. Included in regular admission (Stroller Tour info).

Tuesday, December 27

  • Sensory Hours (in-person); 9-11 am; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light, sound, and crowd levels will be lower, and there will be quiet spaces in some of the galleries. Several historic trains will be open for viewing, with staff on hand to answer questions. Last entry is at 10:30 am. Admission is $7 and advance tickets are required (Sensory Hours info and tickets).
  • Lantern Tours (in-person); today thru Friday, Dec. 30, 6-8 pm; Ephrata Cloister
    • This theatrical style program is led by the Student Historians, local high school students who take on the roles of people from history as the story unfolds in selected historic buildings. This year visitors will join Mrs. Fahnestock as she plans the wedding of an Ephrata Sister and a young man working for the Brothers. This light-hearted look at the past will provide enjoyment for the entire family. Advance tickets are required, and some timeslots are already sold out: $12 for adults, $9 for ages 6-17 (Lantern Tours info and tickets). PLEASE NOTE that Ephrata Cloister will not be open for tours Dec. 27-30, the site will open only for the Lantern Tours evening programs.

Wednesday, December 28

  • Mapping Mammal Hall (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Did you know that the dioramas in Mammal Hall are based on real locations in Pennsylvania? Locate each of these spots on the giant map of Pennsylvania and discover some interesting facts about our state mammals. Included in regular admission (Mapping Mammal Hall info).

Thursday, December 29

  • Curiosity Kids (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • What different types of portraits do artists create? What can a portrait tell us? Explore the 2022 Art of the State exhibition and learn about portraits. Create a mixed medium self-portrait 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).

Friday, December 30

  • Noon Year's Celebration (in-person); 10 am-1 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Ring in 2023 a little early with hands-on activities, crafts, and the dropping of the Firefly at noon. Included in regular admission (member and military discounts apply). There will be timed tickets for Curiosity Connection, and tickets for the Planetarium will be $3 (Noon Year's info).

Tuesday, January 3

  • Simple Machines and the Railroad (virtual); 10-10:30 am; Railroad Museum of PA
    • This interactive virtual program is geared to grades K-6 and will explore how simple machines make tasks easier alone and in combination. Admission is by donation (Simple Machines info and registration).

Thursday, January 5

  • Drake Well Winter Academy (virtual); 6:30-7:30 pm; Drake Well Museum & Park
    • Mitch Littler will present "In Your Blood," a talk focused on his first-hand experiences as an oilfield worker in northwest PA. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (email Drake Well Museum to register).

Friday, January 6

  • StoryTime (in-person); 10:30-11:30 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Read Supertruck by Stephen Savage and uncover how this truck saves the town from the big snow storm. For ages 2 to pre-K and included in regular admission. This program will also be offered on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 10:30 am. Sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (StoryTime info).

Sunday, January 8

  • Twelfth Night (in-person); 4-7 pm; Joseph Priestley House
    • Enjoy a traditional English celebration with music, refreshments, and lantern light. Dr. Priestley will conduct chemistry demos in the Pond Building at 4:30 and 5:30. Admission is free (Twelfth Night info and updates).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Homeschool Program (in-person); Wednesday, Jan. 11, 10-11:30 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Curators Dr. Curt Miner and Bob Hill will talk about the early 20th-century transition from "Horse Power to Gas Power" and how it's similar and different from current changes in transportation energy. Experiment with power sources by making a wind-powered car. Registration and pre-payment are required (Homeschool Program registration).
  • Workin' on the Railroad (virtual); Tuesday, Jan. 17, 10-10:30 am; Railroad Museum of PA
    • This interactive virtual program is geared to grades K-6 and explores a variety of railroad jobs through artifacts, photographs, and activities. Admission is by donation (Workin' on the Railroad info and tickets).
  • Revolutionary Speaker Series (in-person); Saturday, Jan. 21, Noon-2 pm; Brandywine Battlefield Park
    • Jennifer Janofsky, director and public historian at Red Bank Battlefield, and Wade Catts, principal archaeologist with South River Heritage Consulting, will present a program on recent excavations at Fort Mercer and Red Bank Battlefield Park. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online (Rev Speaker Series tickets).
  • Tour of the GP30 (virtual); Tuesday, Jan. 31, 10-10:30 am; Railroad Museum of PA
    • This interactive virtual program is geared to grades K-6 and will provide a behind-the-scenes view of spaces inside the locomotive. Admission is by donation (GP30 Tour info and tickets).


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