Winter Sets In

Winter Sets In
Snowy landscape at PA Lumber Museum with stone and log cabin and statue of a CCC worker. The statue is black and the worker is shirtless, wearing a brimmed hat and hold an ax with its head resting on the ground.
Civilian Conservation Corps statue in front of a relocated cabin built by CCC members in Potter County (photo via PA Lumber Museum Facebook page)

We have lots of winter-themed and seasonal programs in the coming week. Please take a look at the listings to find something that you'd enjoy, either outdoors or indoors.

I am sad to share this post from Ephrata Cloister, but I'd also like to pay tribute to our colleague Michael Showalter, museum educator, who passed away January 15. Michael was a consummate educator, utterly devoted to telling Ephrata's stories to the public and to helping others share those stories as well. I never saw him happier than when he was connecting modern people to the historic people at Ephrata, sometimes through first-person interpretation, but often through well-crafted presentations in virtual classes, the site's popular Lantern Tour programs, or the annual Winter History Class. I am fortunate to have worked with him for so many years. We will all miss him.

[Image description: Screenshot of Jan. 25 Ephrata Cloister Facebook post with photo of Michael Showalter, a smiling man with brown hair and glasses, wearing the white robe used to interpret the celibate members of the Ephrata community. Text reads: "Today we say our final farewells to our colleague, friend, and mentor, Ephrata's Museum Educator, Michael Showalter. It's hard to come to terms with his sudden departure from this earth and the institutional and historical memory that is no longer available to us simply for the asking. Rest In Peace, Michael."]

Up Next

Saturday, January 28

  • Winter in the Lumber Camp (in-person); 10 am-4 pm; PA Lumber Museum
    • Outdoor fun in the snow (weather permitting) with sledding, snow men, and snow art activities. Try your hand at cross-country skis, snowshoes, and ice skates (conditions permitting) with the help of equipment provided by PA DCNR and volunteer instructors. At 1pm Jeremy Banfield, elk biologist for the PA Game Commission’s Deer and Elk Section, will provide an engaging overview of the Commonwealth’s elk management program (Winter in the Lumber Camp info).
  • Seed to Bread (in-person); 10:30-11:30 am and 1:30-2:30 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Explore the exhibits in the Transportation & Industry gallery and learn how seeds can become flour to make bread. Take home some historic recipes to try. Included in regular admission (Seed to Bread info).

Tuesday, January 31

  • Tour of the GP30 (virtual); 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).

Thursday, February 2

  • Winter History Class (in-person & virtual); 9 am-noon; Ephrata Cloister
    • This 9-week winter course kicks off today and runs every Thursday through March 30. If you sign up for the full series, you can choose in-person or Zoom attendance. Single sessions will be available via Zoom only (Winter History Class registration options).

Friday, February 3

  • StoryTime (in-person); 10:30-11:30 am; The State Museum of PA
    • Hear a reading of Over and Under in the Snow by Kate Messner to discover what is happening under the snow and create a winter landscape. For ages 2 to pre-K and included in regular admission. Sign up at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (StoryTime info).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Sensory Hours (in-person); Tuesday, Feb. 7, 3-5 pm, and Tuesday, Feb. 21, 9-11 am; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Noise, light, and crowd levels will be lower, and there will be quiet spaces for breaks. Several historic trains will be open with staff on hand to answer questions. Advance tickets required (Feb. 7 Sensory Hours or Feb. 21 Sensory Hours).
  • Winter Academy (virtual); Thursday, Feb. 9, 6:30-7:30 pm; Drake Well Museum & Park
    • Photographer and retired biology teacher Jeffrey Hall will present a virtual program, "Birds of Venango County," sharing facts and stories about the birds we all know, highlighting some of the birds that are "specialties" of Venango County, and introducing some of the rare birds that visit the county only occasionally (Winter Academy 2/9 info and registration).
  • Artists Conversation (virtual); Friday, Feb. 10, 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Join fine arts curator Amy Hammond as she talks with artist Matthew Cote about his work "Full Circle," recipient of the Art of the State 2022 Purchase Award. The program will be presented via Zoom; please register to receive the link (Artists Conversation info and registration).
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual); Friday, Feb. 17, 12:15-12:45 pm; The State Museum of PA
    • Brant Portner, environmental education specialist with the PA Game Commission, will talk about the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, a popular spot for birds and bird watchers. The program is free and will be offered via Zoom; please register to receive the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).
  • The Harmonist Connection: Gardens (virtual); Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7-8 pm; Old Economy Village
    • The latest in a series of virtual programs sponsored by Harmony Society sites in Pennsylvania and Indiana. Tonight, Kent Schuette from Historic New Harmony (IN) and Joe Pulgini from Old Economy Village will talk about the work both carry out to maintain modern gardens that draw on the traditions of the Harmonists. Free and offered via Zoom (Harmonist Connection info and registration).
  • Rails & Ales 2023 (in-person); Saturday, April 1, 5:30-9 pm; Railroad Museum of PA
    • Taste craft beers among the museum's world-class collection of historic trains in Rolling Stock Hall. Must be age 21 or older to attend; photo ID required at the door. Advance tickets only; VIP tickets tend to sell out quickly (ticket options, including designated driver tickets).
  • Colonial Camp Week (in-person); Monday-Friday, July 17-21, 9 am-4 pm; Pennsbury Manor
    • Campers 6 to 8 years old will spend the week exploring the entire site with a talented team of living history experts. Sessions run 9 am-4 pm each day; before- and after-care are available for an additional fee (registration info).


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