Hello, 2023!

Hello, 2023! Well, we made it to another year. I hope you've started 2023 happy and healthy. Here's a few things to look forward to in the coming weeks.

Three mannequins (no faces) with dresses worn by PA First Ladies: a late 19th-century gold brocaded silk with elbow length sleeves and a bustle; a 1930s pink, green, and cream floral silk dress with spaghetti straps; and a 1970s sleeveless dress with gold and cream embroidery and a fitted waist
Photo via The State Museum of PA Facebook page

Now through the end of January at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, you can view three gowns from three distinct historical eras currently on display on the first floor. The State Museum's collections include nearly 20 inaugural gowns worn by First Ladies of Pennsylvania when their husbands became governor. In the photo above, from left to right, are gowns worn by Mary McAllister Beaver in 1887, Huberta Potter Earle in 1935, and Muriel Matzkin Shapp in 1971. The display is available during the museum's regular operating hours and is included in regular admission.

Farm Show exhibit hall with booth for PA Military Museum: museum banner, benches, display tables, WWII-era recruiting and home front posters

Staff from the Pennsylvania Military Museum will be at the 2023 PA Farm Show starting tomorrow, January 7, through January 14. They're partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, the Secretary of Agriculture, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, and the Furious Fourth (4th ID) WWII Living History Association to tell war-front and home front stories of World War II. Wartime service was not just on the front line, but also included thousands of women such as those in Harrisburg, PA. Women from across the city, and much of the Commonwealth, provided critical mechanical services to aircraft engines prior to deployment overseas, and others provided security services at facilities such as the Farm Show Arena. Visit Booth 2310 (pictured above) in the GIANT Expo Hall for hands-on activities, displays of uniforms, gear, and photos, and examples of food and rations from World War II. You can find Farm Show info in the 2023 Visitors Guide.

PHMC is partnering with the PA Historical Association for the 2023 Scholars in Residence program, which will provide a stipend for up to four weeks of research in the PA State Archives during the period of Aug 1 thru Sept 30. Residency programs are open to all who are conducting research on Pennsylvania history, including academic scholars, public sector professionals, independent scholars, graduate students, educators, writers, filmmakers, and others. Applicants are encouraged to formulate their topic and consult with archives staff prior to submitting a proposal. Deadline for proposals is Feb. 15; applicants will be notified in April. For more info, visit the PHA website.

Please note that Fort Pitt Museum will close Jan. 9 for exhibit upgrades and maintenance, reopening to the public on Wed., Feb. 1. Kids receive free admission through Sunday, Jan. 8.

Up Next

Today, 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).

Saturday, January 7

  • PA Geography with the Giant Map (in-person); 1-3 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Discover the giant map of Pennsylvania as we walk across the state. Test your geography skills playing a game. Included in regular admission (Giant Map 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).

Wednesday, January 11

  • Homeschool Program (in-person); 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).

Friday, January 13

  • Family Gallery Tour: Geology Hall (in-person); 11:30 am-12:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Learn about the landforms and waterways found in Pennsylvania’s Physiographic Provinces and get hands-on with the common minerals and rocks found in Pennsylvania. Included in regular admission (Geology Hall tour info).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • 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).
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual); Friday, Jan. 20, 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Join us as we talk to Jeff Jumper, Resiliency Program Manager with the Bureau of Recovery at the PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), to discuss some of our weather normal and some of our extremes. From tornadoes to floods, we’ll take a look through the Pennsylvania weather almanac. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime registration).
  • 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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