Celebrating Women's History and More

A man in a blue suit, a woman in a light gray skirt and jacket, and a woman in blue pants and blue sleeveless top stand next to a blue and gold historical marker on a tall blue pole.
From left: William Lewis, Evelyn Kegerise, and Elizabeth Bertheaud (photos courtesy Ephrata Cloister)

This past Saturday, May 14, a new state historical marker was unveiled on the grounds of Ephrata Cloister, one of our PHMC Trails of History sites. The marker, "Ephrata's Women Composers," honors Sisters Foben, Katura, and Hanna, members of the celibate sisterhood at Ephrata in the 1700s. Several years ago, while doing research on hymns written at Ephrata, music historian Christopher Herbert noticed these three women among the attributions for hymn composition. Further research has so far failed to turn up any earlier American female composers, so the marker recognizes Foben, Katura, and Hanna as the earliest known American women to be credited with musical compositions. The celibate community at Ephrata is quite well known for its music, so this is an important addition to the site's history as well as to the larger history of American music.

Members of the Ephrata Cloister Chorus are seated under a pop-up tent in the traditional white garb they wear for performances.
Craig Benner snapped this shot of members of the Chorus ready to perform during the marker dedication

Representing PHMC at the marker ceremony was Commissioner William Lewis, along with site administrator Elizabeth Bertheaud, and Evelyn Kegerise, who was a member of the Ephrata Cloister Chorus when it first formed as a program to perform the historic music of the celibate brothers and sisters. She was also a guide at the site for many years, sharing Ephrata history with countless visitors and training others to do the same. As part of the marker unveiling the Chorus performed two hymns written by Sister Foben and later in the afternoon performed a concert in the Saal, the Sisters' meetinghouse. To learn more about the history behind the marker, check out this Ephrata Cloister Facebook post or this NPR interview with Dr. Herbert that includes music recorded in the Saal.

Women's history will be a focus at Graeme Park this weekend, as the site celebrates the 300th birthday of the Keith House, built in 1722 for colonial governor Sir William Keith. Governor Keith's step-daughter Ann had married Dr. Thomas Graeme in 1719. Their daughter Elizabeth became well-known as a poet and intellectual in Philadelphia and her life is part of the historical narrative at Graeme Park. Tomorrow, May 21, will be a day of family fun, music, food, and history. See listing below for more info.

Speaking of historical markers, the deadline for nominating new markers is coming up on June 1. The submission process is entirely online now via the PA-SHARE portal (nomination instructions and links). To see if there is an existing marker on your topic of interest, check the list of approved markers (these haven't been placed yet) or the searchable database of existing markers.

The PHMC and Historical Records Advisory Board are now accepting applications for the Historical & Archival Records Care program; the deadline for submissions is August 1. On June 1 and June 21, PA State Archives staff will present a webinar explaining grant eligibility requirements and the web-based application process. They will also provide tips for developing competitive grant proposals. To register, check the Records Care Grants page on PHMC's website.

A quick note before the list of upcoming events: due to some utility work happening in the visitor center, Bushy Run Battlefield will not be open this weekend. They plan to reopen as scheduled on Wednesday, May 24. 

Chives growing in the garden at Pennsbury. The long thin green shoots are topped by spiky purple flowers.
Explore the gardens at Pennsbury Manor this Sunday; info is below (photo via Pennsbury's Facebook page)

Up Next

Today, May 20

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual), 12:15-12:45 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • Dr. Walter Meshaka, senior curator of zoology and botany, will talk about native and exotic species of paper wasps found in downtown Harrisburg, The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Learn at Lunchtime registration).

Saturday, May 21

  • Oil Creek 5 & 13 Stacked Trail Races (in-person), 7 am-?, Drake Well Museum & Park
  • William Chester Ruth Living History Tour (in-person) 9:30 am-3 pm, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Learn about the life of inventor William Chester Ruth through this living history tour featuring Keith Henley as Mr. Ruth and Tim Essig as Henry Landis. Tour times are 9:30, 12:30 and 3. Reservations are required and are available on-line (Living History Tour info and tickets).
  • 300th Birthday Celebration (in-person), 10 am-6 pm, Graeme Park
    • 2022 marks the 300th birthday of the Keith House at Graeme Park. A day full of family-friendly activities, food, and entertainment await. Cost is $10 per car (Birthday details).
  • StoryTime (in-person), 10:30-11:30 am, The State Museum of Pennsylvania
    • Read "Birds" by Kevin Henkes, learn about the world of birds, and participate in a painting activity. For kids age 2 to pre-K and included in regular admission (StoryTime details).

Sunday, May 22

  • Trails of History Run (in-person), 7:30 am-?, Daniel Boone Homestead
  • A Celebration of Service: Honoring Pennsylvania Veterans (in-person), 12:30-3:30 pm, Pennsylvania Military Museum
    • U.S. Army reunion and memorial service sponsored by the PA National Guard commemorating the Pennsylvania Citizen Soldier with a military concert and equipment displays. Ceremony begins at 12:30 pm (Celebration of Service info).
  • Beer Brewing & Garden Highlights (in-person), 1-4 pm, Pennsbury Manor
    • Explore recipes and plants that fed the early residents of Pennsbury. Included in regular admission (Beer & Garden info).

Thursday, May 26

  • histERIE Week Event, 5:30-7:30 pm, Erie Maritime Museum
    • The museum will be open free of charge and will spotlight a historic fife recently placed on display. Tradition holds that the fife was played at the onset of the Battle of Lake Erie by Rev War veteran Cyrus Tiffany, a free Black man serving with Oliver Hazard Perry. Curatorial research assistant Linda Bolla will be on hand to talk with visitors about the fife and Tiffany's life (EMM info)

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Sensory Hours (in-person), Tuesday, May 31, 3-5 pm, Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light, noise, and crowd levels will be reduced, and their will be some quiet areas if you need a break from the action. Several historic trains will be open, with staff on hand to answer questions. Advance tickets ($7) required (Sensory Hours info and tickets).
  • Ales & Petals/Cars & Motorcycles of Englad Car Show, Saturday, June 4, 10 am-4 pm, Hope Lodge
    • Family fun includes food (for purchase), classic British cars and motorcycles, and live music. Those age 21+ with photo ID can also enjoy craft beer from Round Guys Brewing (for purchase). Admission for age 13 and up is $10 per person; tickets available in advance (Event info and tickets).
  • Agnes and the Demise of the Cornwall Iron Mines (virtual), Tuesday, June 7, 7-8 pm, Cornwall Iron Furnace
    • Mike Weber will talk about the history of the Cornwall Iron Mines, leading up to the damage from Tropical Storm Agnes that eventually caused the mines to close in 1973. The program is free; please register to receive the link (Cornwall Iron Mines info and registration).
  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person), Wednesday, June 8, 10 am-3 pm, and Sunday, June 19, 10 am-noon, PA Military Museum
    • Sound effects in the gallery will be turned off, and the volume on the orientation video will be lowered (captions always enabled). Please register in advance for a time slot; you can pay when you arrive (Sensory visit info and tickets).
  • Fabric and Fiber in PA's Forests (virtual), Thursday, June 9, 7-8 pm, PA Lumber Museum
    • Museum staff Josh Roth and Josh Fox will highlight fabric and clothing items in the collection, along with selected images from the photographic archive. The program is free and offered in partnership with the Galeton Worldwide Knitting in Public knitters and fiber artists (Fabric and Fiber info and registration).
  • Log Birling Clinic (in-person), Saturday, June 11, 1-3 pm, PA Lumber Museum
    • Join museum staff to learn how to stay on top of a rolling log while your opponent falls off. Registration is required (Clinic info and registration).
  • Drake Well Marathon and Half (in-person and virtual), Sunday, August 14, 7 am-?, Drake Well Museum & Park

Summer Camps on the Trails of History (in-person and virtual)

  • Pennsylvania Lumber Museum

Lots to Do on the Trails of History

Lots to Do on the Trails of History
Exterior view of multi-level brownstone building housing the iron furnace - to the left is a two-story section with gothic windows and door. Connected to it on the right is the one and a half story casting room with dormers.
Learn about cast-iron cooking on Saturday, May 14, at a place where cast iron was produced (photo via Cornwall Iron Furnace Facebook page)

Up Next

Today, May 13

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual), 12:15-12:45 pm, The State Museum of Pennsylvania
    • Andrew Rohrbaugh, PA Bureau of Forestry, will talk about native plants, ecosystems, and the importance of using our land for food. The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Saturday, May 14

  • Hands On History (in-person), Saturday and Sunday, 10 am-4 pm, Old Economy Village
    • Try your hand at a variety of 19th-century crafts and trades, such as blacksmithing, printing, cooking, textile production, laundry, and more. Regular admission charged (Hands on History info).
  • CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER Cast Iron Cooking Demonstration (in-person), 11 am-3 pm, Cornwall Iron Furnace
    • This outdoor cooking demo is free. Regular admission applies to tour the Furnace; the visitor center and museum store will be open 9 am-4 pm (Cooking Demo info).
  • Heritage Wool & Textile Day (in-person), noon-4 pm, Daniel Boone Homestead
    • Explore the history of wool production and textiles in the 18th century. There will be sheep-shearing and other hands on demos and activities throughout the day. Admission charged (Textile Day info).

Sunday, May 15

  • Sensory Friendly Visit (in-person), 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). Please register in advance (PMM visit registration info).
  • Open-Hearth Cooking and Sheep Shearing (in-person), 1-4 pm, Pennsbury Manor
    • The cooks will demonstrate 17th-century recipes using dairy products and elsewhere on site the sheep will lose their winter coats. Included in regular admission (Open-Hearth Cooking info).

Tuesday, May 17

  • Sensory Hours (in-person), 9-11 am, Railroad Museum of PA
    • Light and noise levels will be lowered, as will crowd levels. Several historic trains will be open, and staff will be on-hand to answer questions. Please register in advance (Sensory Hours info and tickets).

Wednesday, May 18

  • Music on the Lawn (in-person), 7-8 pm, Joseph Priestley House
    • Enjoy an evening of music by Elegance String Quartet on the lawn of the Joseph Priestley House. The concert is free; please bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. In the event of bad weather, the concert will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Northumberland (Music on the Lawn info).

Thursday, May 19

  • STEAM on the Rails (in-person), 10 am-1 pm, Railroad Museum of PA
    • School group students in grades K-6 will explore activity stations, including interactive behind-the-scenes tours, a live steam demo, hands-on art activities, and engaging presentations about historic railroading jobs. Admission charged. Deadline for registration is May 17 (STEAM on the Rails info and tickets).

Friday, May 20

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual), 12:15-12:45 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • Dr. Walter Meshaka, senior curator of zoology and botany, will talk about native and exotic species of paper wasps found in downtown Harrisburg, The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Learn at Lunchtime registration).

An African American man with a mustache and wearing denim overalls, a blue and white check long-sleeved shirt, and a gray tweed cap leans against a piece of antique farm machinery. He is portraying inventor William Chester Ruth, and the machinery is inside an exhibit gallery.
Actor and historian Keith Henley will portray inventor William Chester Ruth during a living history program next weekend. Tickets are still available at the link below (photo via LVM Facebook event page)

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • William Chester Ruth Living History Tours (in-person), Saturday, May 21, 9:30 am-3:30 pm, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Tours are based on the life and work of local inventor William Chester Ruth, who was born in 1882 in Chester County; his father had been enslaved in South Carolina and his mother was a free woman of color. Ruth will be portrayed by actor Keith Henley of American Historical Theater. Landis Valley museum educator Tim Essig will portray museum co-founder Henry Landis. Tour times are 9:30, 12:30, and 3; advance tickets are required (William Chester Ruth Tour info and tickets)
  • Trails of History Run (in-person), Sunday, May 22, 7:30 am-?, Daniel Boone Homestead
    • This event includes a 5K, 10K, and 1/2-mile fun run. There will be awards for 5K and 10K races, plus special awards for the best-dressed representation of the 1770s era. Advance registration is required (DBH trail runs info). Training runs for new runners start at 10:30 am every Sunday at the DeTurk House (near the front entrance gate off of Daniel Boone Rd).
  • Ales & Petals/Cars & Motorcycles of Englad Car Show, Saturday, June 4, 10 am-4 pm, Hope Lodge
    • Family fun includes food (for purchase), classic British cars and motorcycles, and live music. Those age 21+ with photo ID can also enjoy craft beer from Round Guys Brewing (for purchase). Admission for age 13 and up is $10 per person; tickets available in advance (Event info and tickets).
  • Log Birling Clinic (in-person), Saturday, June 11, 1-3 pm, PA Lumber Museum
    • Join museum staff to learn how to stay on top of a rolling log while your opponent falls off. Registration is required (Clinic info and registration).
  • Drake Well Marathon and Half (in-person and virtual), Sunday, August 14, 7 am-?, Drake Well Museum & Park

Summer Camps on the Trails of History (in-person and virtual)

I'll add to this as I get more info.
  • Pennsylvania Lumber Museum

May is Here!

May is Here!
Close-up of white and light pink apple blossoms with green leaves. The rest of the tree is blurred in the background.
This "Flower of Kent" apple tree at Pennsbury Manor is a direct descendant of the one that dropped an apple in 1666 and inspired Sir Isaac Newton's law of gravity (photo via Pennsbury's Facebook page)


There are loads of outdoor activities on the Trails of History this week and in the weeks ahead and some new additions to the summer camp listings below. Enjoy!

Today, May 6

  • Herb & Garden Faire (in-person), 9 am-5 pm Friday and Saturday, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Shop for plants from the Heirloom Seed Project and other garden-related vendors. Event runs 9 am-5 pm both days, rain or shine. Several community food trucks and vendors will be on-site as well. Advance tickets are available online (Herb & Garden Faire info & tickets).

Saturday, May 7

  • Garden Mart (in-person), 9 am-1 pm, Old Economy Village
    • Heirloom varieties of plants raised in OEV's greenhouse will be for sale, along with other plants and garden-related items. Admission is free all weekend (Garden Mart info).
  • Spring Gas Up (in-person), 9 am-3 pm, Drake Well Museum & Park
    • The museum hosts the Pioneer Steam and Gas Engine Society, with displays of antique engines, farm and oil equipment, cars, trucks, and models. Included in regular admision; Hydetown Fire Dept. Auxiliary will have food and beverages for sale (Spring Gas Up info).
  • Spring Nature Walk (in-person), 10 am-noon, Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Learn about the flora and fauna of western PA and explore the grounds. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. Pre-registration is required, but you can pay when you arrive (Spring Nature Walk info and tickets).

Sunday, May 8

  • Mother's Day Breakfast (in-person), 10 am-1 pm, Graeme Park
    • Treat someone special to breakfast and a tour; breakfast seatings at 10 and 10:30 am. Reservations are required by May 7 via Eventbrite. Cost is $30 for age 13+, $10 for ages 6-12, free for age 5 and under (Breakfast details and tickets).
  • Living History Theater (in-person), noon-4 pm, Pennsbury Manor
    • Today's presentation, "Women's Monthly Meeting," is drawn from the 17th- and 18th-century minutes of the Falls Women's Monthly Meeting and features leading Quakers, such as Sarah Sirkit, Jane Biles, and others as they work to solve pressing problems within their community. Presented at 12:15, 1:45, and 3:15 pm. Included in regular admission (Living History Theater info).
  • Second Sunday Pop-Up Beer Garden (in-person), 1-5 pm, Hope Lodge
    • Round Guys Brewing Company will be on-site this afternoon, and guided tours of the mansion will be offered at 1 and 2:30 (there is a charge for both). Feel free to bring your lawn chairs and blankets, food, and leashed pets; no fee charged to enjoy the grounds (Beer Garden info).

Tuesday, May 10

  • Education in Lebanon County 1700s to Present, Part 2 (virtual), 7-8 pm, Cornwall Iron Furnace

Wednesday, May 11

  • Sensory Friendly Visit, 10 am-3 pm, Pennsylvania Military Museum
    • Background sound effects in the gallery will be turned off and volume on the orientation film will be lowered (captions always enabled). Register in advance for a timeslot on the hour between 10 and 3. Standard admission rates apply, and you can pay when you arrive (Sensory Friendly Visit info and registration).
  • PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase (virtual), 7-8 pm
    • Tonight's theme is "Health and Medical Devices." Panelists from five PHMC site will present object/stories related to the theme, then the audience votes on their favorite or the one they think best suits the theme. The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Virtual Showcase info and registration).

JUST ADDED: Thursday, May 12

  • Ephrata Virtual Academy, 7-8 pm, Ephrata Cloister

Friday, May 13

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual), 12:15-12:45 pm, The State Museum of Pennsylvania
    • Andrew Rohrbaugh, PA Bureau of Forestry, will talk about native plants, ecosystems, and the importance of using our land for food. The program is free; please register to receive the Zoom link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • STEAM on the Rails (in-person), Thursday, May 19, 10 am-1 pm, Railroad Museum of PA
    • The program is for school group students in grades K-6 and features learning stations throughout the Museum - interactive behind-the-scenes tours, a live steam demo, hands-on art activities, and presentations on historic railroading jobs. Ticket sales end May 17 (STEAM on the Rails info and tickets).
  • William Chester Ruth Living History Tours (in-person), Saturday, May 21, 9:30 am-3:30 pm, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Tours are based on the life and work of local inventor William Chester Ruth, who was born in 1882 in Chester County; his father had been enslaved in South Carolina and his mother was a free woman of color. Ruth will be portrayed by actor Keith Henley of American Historical Theater. Tour times are 9:30, 12:30, and 3; advance tickets are required (William Chester Ruth Tour info and tickets)
  • Trails of History Run (in-person), Sunday, May 22, 7:30 am-?, Daniel Boone Homestead
    • This event includes a 5K, 10K, and 1/2-mile fun run. There will be awards for 5K and 10K races, plus special awards for the best-dressed representation of the 1770s era. Advance registration is required (DBH trail runs info). Training runs for new runners start at 10:30 am every Sunday at the DeTurk House (near the front entrance gate off of Daniel Boone Rd).
  • Drake Well Marathon and Half (in-person and virtual), Sunday, August 14, 7 am-?, Drake Well Museum & Park

Summer Camps on the Trails of History (in-person and virtual)

I'll add to this as I get more info.
  • Pennsylvania Lumber Museum