So Many Milestones

The August page has a growing list of online events, including a couple of updates since last week's post. For online activities available 24/7, check out the Trailheads Rec Room (to the right of your screen).

Large shrub with dark pink flowers and green leaves
A splash of color (photo by AKF)


This month - this week - included some important milestones and one that's not-so-historic but worth noting, I think (I'm sure you'll be able to tell which it is). Let's get started.

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) announced this week that 140 cultural nonprofits across the state had received $780,500 in PHC CARES emergency relief grants to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their programs and operations. Six Trails of History sites were among the awardees, for a total of $29,500 (grants ranging from $4,000 to $7,000). Congratulations to Ephrata Cloister, Graeme Park, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, Old Economy Village, Pennsbury Manor, and Somerset Historical Center!

PHMC's public portal for museum collections, ARGUS, now includes more than 10,000 entries. Curators on the Trails of History have used their time very productively, turning institutional catalog records into descriptions that convey the essential history of the objects. You can browse to your heart's content by visiting the PHMC website and clicking on Museum Collection (or use this link). And speaking of curators, Susan Hanna, who retired earlier this year after a storied career with PHMC, recently received a Special Achievement Award from PA Museums, our statewide museum association. UPDATE: my sincere apologies for neglecting to mention that Pennsbury Manor received an Institutional Achievement Award for their Gathering of Governors program.


100 Years - Ratification of the 19th Amendment


75 Years - Atomic Bombs Dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki


55 Years - The Voting Rights Act


50 Years - Pennsylvania Lumber Museum


11 Years - Trailheads Blog

August 1 marked the 11 year anniversary of the first Trailheads blog post. As far as I can tell, I failed to note the 10th anniversary last year. Since we'll be coming up on the 600 post milestone in the next month or so (and because the new Blogger format afforded me some additional stats), I've included the top 5 most-viewed posts. Only one of them was actually written by me, but that's fine. Really. Juuuuuust fine. But seriously, it's been a pleasure to work with staff and guest bloggers to help showcase the work of all the people who make the Pennsylvania Trails of History what it is. Thanks for reading. See you next week.

How Is It the End of July Already?

The July program page has info about today's registration deadline for Drake Well's Virtual Summer Camp and the Railroad Museum's Trivia Night tonight. The August page has a growing list of online events. For online activities available 24/7, check out the Trailheads Rec Room (to the right of your screen).

Collage of chalk drawings and messages at Graeme Park - includes a heart and messages thanking staff and saying how nice the site is
Since late spring, visitors enjoying the grounds at Graeme Park have shared encouraging messages in sidewalk chalk (via Facebook)
So, I blinked and apparently July is now over. This week got away from me, too. Folks at our Trails of History sites continue to keep in touch with the public through online programs (check the August calendar page) and social media posts. Below are a few that I'd like to share with you as you head into August (and the weekend). Today's focus (ahem) is on photos and other images.




Quick side note: Two summers ago, when Eckley was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the filming of The Molly Maguires, actress Samantha Eggar shared some thoughts with Eckley staff, and they shared them with Trailheads (June 2018 post).

The Week in Review

The July program page has info about online programs happening this weekend and next week (and a couple of deadlines for August programs). To help you plan ahead, I've also published the August page. For online activities available 24/7, check out the Trailheads Rec Room (to the right of your screen).

Screenshot of computer desktop with photos of online meeting participants arranged in 3 rows of 5 images
Members of the Accessibility Excellence Working Group during their online meeting (screenshot)

I spent yesterday afternoon meeting with colleagues working on the PA Museums and PHMC Accessibility Excellence project. PA Museums received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services last fall, and PHMC is partnering with them on this effort. We are developing an assessment tool to help museums and historical organizations measure their accessibility to the public and a resource kit to help institutions improve. As you might expect, COVID-19 has thrown us a significant curveball. On the upside, we have continued, with the leadership of project manager Jenny Angell, to refine the assessment and work to bring it in line with some other standards programs in the field. On the other hand, we had hoped by now to be piloting the assessment tool at PHMC's Trails of History sites. With uncertainty about when sites will reopen, we are considering a number of alternatives and (yes) pivots to keep the project moving.

Screenshot from online meeting showing shared document with rows of participants above
Online meetings allow for document sharing in addition to the Brady Bunch experience (screenshot)

On a related note, Sunday, July 26, is the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark legislation intended to make employment, government services, and public accommodations fully accessible to people with disabilities. Clearly, the work to achieve that is still ongoing. As part of their "ADA at 30" compilation, the New York Times spoke with disability rights activists Judy Heumann, Alice Wong, and Haben Girma for an article titled "What the A.D.A. Means to Me" and provided an overview, "'Nothing About Us Without Us': 16 Moments in the Fight for Disability Rights." To learn more about disability history and disability rights advocacy, check out the Disability History Association or Disability Rights PA.

Two-story plus attic building with wooden siding, a central door on ground floor, a central window above it, two additional windows on first and second floors.
The historic Saal at Ephrata Cloister (photo via Facebook)
Singer, educator and musicologist Chris Herbert will be on NPR's Morning Edition today to talk about his recording project, "Voices in the Wilderness: The Music of the Ephrata Cloister," which includes works by the earliest-known female composers in America. Herbert describes the project:
"In order to create modern transcriptions of the music for the recording, I visited 22 libraries, collections, and archives throughout the world to study and photograph Ephrata music manuscripts. I got to spend time in the Library of Congress, and it was there that I realized that one of the largest Ephrata documents, known as the Ephrata Codex, contains inscriptions that offer proof of authorship by three women: sisters Föben, Hanna, and Ketura.
Since this post won't publish until about 20 minutes before you can hear Herbert on NPR, I'll add a link to the recording here when it becomes available (NPR link added 7/26/2020). In the meantime, you can sample some of the music, which was recorded at Ephrata in the historic Saal (meetinghouse) last year.

This week also marks the return (finally) of Major League Baseball, although greatly curtailed due to COVID-19. Pennsylvania Trails of History shared a relevant artifact from the State Museum of Pennsylvania collection.



And here's a selection of posts from the past week - I noticed a theme of different types of work. I hope you have a chance to rest from your labors sometime in the coming week.