Museum Selfie Day 2022

Woman with red hair in a braid, light gray sweater, navy blue scarf, and blue-gray mask takes a selfie. Behind her is a museum exhibit wall where a man with white hair, blue jeans, dark gray shirt and cap is creating a square hole to fit an exhibit case.
Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums curator Rachel takes a selfie to document some exhibit upgrades at the Erie Maritime Museum

As mentioned in last week's post, January 19 was Museum Selfie Day. Folks on the Trails of History took the opportunity to show the variety of exhibits and spaces we take care of and the settings for many of our sites. January is usually pretty quiet, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of activity behind the scenes. Here are just a few of the images that were posted. Visit each site's Facebook page to see more selfies. Also, since they are closed during the week this time of year, Bushy Run Battlefield has declared this Saturday and Sunday "Museum Selfie Days" (see below for info).

Woman with straight gray hair, glasses, and a white mask takes a selfie. Behind her is a taxidermied elk, a window with sun shining through, and several framed 18th or 19th century prints of different sizes.
Old Economy Village curator Sarah with the elk from the recreated Harmonist museum in the Feast Hall building (photo via OEV Facebook page)


A woman with blond hair, a gray knit cap, and blue mirrored sunglasses takes a selfie. Behind her is snow-covered ground and an array of small buildings and oil field equipment, including a tall metal tower. A yellow starburst with "Hi" in blue letters and "Snowy hike @ the Well!" in red letters are added to the photo.
Drake Well Museum & Park's communications coordinator Heather snapped this selfie on a walk around the grounds (photo via DWM's Facebook page)


A man with brown hair, close-cut beard and mustache, and dark blue jacket takes a selfie. Behind him is snow-covered ground, a metal pole for a light fixture, and one wall of a brown stone building with a narrow window and a round window near the peak.
Cornwall Iron Furnace site administrator Mike took this selfie while he was clearing snow in the museum's parking lot (photo via Cornwall Facebook page)


A woman with straight brown hair, glasses, and a gray mask takes a selfie. Behind her is a glass case with a taxidermied bear. Items in the museum store are also visible through a glass wall behind her.
Jeni, chief of education and outreach at The State Museum of PA, with a brown bear specimen on display in the main hallway of the museum's ground floor (photo via SMP Facebook page)

Up Next

Saturday, January 22
  • Winter in the Lumber Camp (in-person): outdoor winter fun with sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and (conditions permitting) ice skating; Pennsylvania Lumber Museum; 10 am-3 pm (Winter in the Lumber Camp info)
  • Museum Selfie Days (in-person): today and tomorrow tag your on-site selfies with #SelfieDay and #BushyRun; Bushy Run Battlefield; 10 am-4 pm (Museum Selfie Days info)
  • StoryTime (in-person): read "The Mitten" by Jan Brett and learn about Pennsylvania animals in the winter; The State Museum of PA; 10:30-11:30 am; for kids age 2 to pre-K and included in regular admission (StoryTime info)
  • Annual Knox Mine Disaster Commemoration (in-person and virtual): an afternoon of art, music, and history to mark the 63rd anniversary; Anthracite Heritage Museum; noon-3:30 pm (museum opens at noon, there's an exhibit opening at 1, and the main program starts at 2); this event will be held in-person at the museum and also livestreamed on Facebook (Knox Mine Disaster program info)
Tuesday, January 25
  • Sensory Hours (in-person): museum lighting, sounds, and activity will be at lower levels, and there will be several quiet spaces created in the galleries; Railroad Museum of PA; 3-5 pm; cost is $7 for age 3 and up; advance tickets are required (Sensory Hours info and tickets)
Wednesday, January 26
  • Family Gallery Tour of Mammal Hall (in-person): museum educators will use hands-on objects to help families explore Mammal Hall's dioramas; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; included in regular admission (Gallery Tour info)
  • PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase (virtual): tonight's theme is Trades & Jobs, panelists will present their objects and the audience will vote on the best fit; 7-8 pm; the program is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (Collections Showcase registration)
Thursday, January 27
  • Curiosity Kids (in-person): learn about the development of flight in Pennsylvania and the state aircraft, the Piper Cub; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; for kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission, be sure to register at the Ground Floor Info Desk when you arrive (Curiosity Kids info)
  • Virtual Program Series: tonight's program features Peter Wentz Farmstead, a historic PA German farm in Montgomery County; Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum; 7-8 pm; the program is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (Virtual Program Series info and registration)
Friday, January 28
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual): archaeology curator Janet Johnson will talk about an artifact of Rev War-era naval defenses recovered from the Delaware River in 2012; The State Museum of PA; 12:15-12:45 pm; the event is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration)

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • The next PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 7 pm. Staff from 5 Trails of History sites will present objects linked to the theme, Trades & Jobs, and the audience members will vote on what they think makes the best match. The program is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (register for Collections Showcase)
  • Ephrata Cloister's popular Winter History Class will be hybrid this year (with limited in-person spots), running Thursday mornings from Feb. 3 through the end of March. Watch this space or keep an eye on Ephrata Cloister's website for details and registration.
  • Winter Academy virtual programs will be offered by Drake Well Museum & Park on Feb. 10 and 17 (Drake Well Virtual Academy info)
  • Rails and Ales: enjoy an evening of craft beer among the museum's historic trains at the Railroad Museum of PA, April 9, 5:30-9 pm; must be 21 or older to attend; variety of ticket options (VIP tickets are sold out), including designated driver tickets (Rails and Ales tickets)

Dreaming of Spring and Other Things

Dreaming of Spring
Melons, beans, peppers, tomatoes and apples in multiple sizes, colors, and varieties spill onto a table
Looks like a Dutch still life, but you can grow them all (photo courtesy Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum)

If dreaming about your spring and summer garden helps you deal with the bleak mid-winter chill, I have good news! Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum has recently put its Heirloom Seed Project catalog online. The Heirloom Seed Project was established some 35 years ago and focuses on seed preservation and growing heirloom varieties of vegetables that have historical significance for Pennsylvania Germans. In the past, seeds were sold at Landis Valley's Museum Store, the annual Herb and Garden Faire, and via a mail order catalog sent to 600 addresses. According to Joanne Ranck-Dirks, the move to an online catalog should help the project reach many more gardeners, which not only provides financial support for the project but furthers the goal of preserving and sharing these heirloom varieties as widely as possible. You can find more information about the Heirloom Seed Project on Landis Valley's website (Heirloom Seed Project info). The photo above gives you an idea of the variety of vegetables available; you can also buy flax seeds or flax straw if growing your own linen is a thing you want to do. To experience the true range of seeds, you'll need to visit the catalog; just looking at the pictures improved my mood and made me a little hungry (Heirloom Seed project online catalog).

3 round melons with green stripes plus a half melon showing orange-ish interior with seeds in the center
Rocky Ford Melon, an 1881 variety of muskmelon also known as "Eden Gem"

Wednesday, January 19, is Museum Selfie Day. It's a great day to show off your favorite museums by taking a picture of yourself while there. Please be sure to tag the museum (for example, their Twitter handle), @MuseumSelfieDay, and #MuseumSelfie. If you can't visit a museum, maybe you have a souvenir or a selfie from a previous visit (or am I the only person who doesn't clean out their phone's camera roll?). Anyway, please join in the fun, especially if you can tag one of our PHMC Trails of History sites (Trailheads post about Museum Selfie Day in 2018). ADDED 1/18: Since they're open only on weekends right now, Bushy Run Battlefield will host a Museum Selfie weekend, January 22-23.

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Keith House at what is now known as Graeme Park (the grounds were originally called "Fountain Low"). Begun in 1722 as a summer residence for Pennsyvlania's Provincial Governor Sir William Keith, the house is the only surviving home of a colonial governor in the U.S. (read more about the history of the site). As part of their efforts to honor the occasion, the folks at Graeme Park are asking the public to share their memories of the site and its programs. If you'd like to contribute, they've posted a Graeme Park Memories Google doc to gather stories and images.

Although I started out this post dreaming of spring, it is still very much winter on the Trails of History. When snow and ice are in the forecast (or have already fallen), it's a good idea to check before visiting. Site staff do their best to keep things open and safe no matter what, but it can take time to clear large amounts of snow. Also, as I may have mentioned once or twice, many sites are closed or on reduced schedules for the winter, so double checking is always, always recommended.

Stone wall with shorter walls at right angles. Gothic style stone building is on the other side of wall. Snow covers the ground and tops of the walls and building.
The Blacksmith Shop at Cornwall Iron Furnace with stone buttresses in foreground; the Charcoal House (visitor center) is behind the photographer (photo via Cornwall's Facebook page)

Up Next

Today, January 14
Saturday, January 15
  • Games Day (in-person): there will be a variety of historical miniature war games throughout the day; Bushy Run Battlefield; 10 am-4 pm; $5 admission includes tours of the museum, food and drink available for purchase (Games Day info)
  • 31 Years Later: Operation Desert Storm (in-person): Commander Frank Mellott, USN Ret., will talk about his experiences during Operation Desert Storm; Pennsylvania Military Museum; 1-2:15 pm; the program is free and seating is first come, first served (PMM info)
Wednesday, January 19
  • Explore! (in-person): learn about education in a one-room schoolhouse through objects and original lessons; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; for kids in grades 3-5 and included in regular admission (Explore! info)
Thursday, January 20
  • Family Gallery Tour: Paleontology (in-person): enjoy a tour of life through time in PA, with hands-on fossils of plants and animals; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; included in regular admission (Paleontology Tour info)
  • Winter Academy (virtual): district forester Cecile Stetler will talk about the best tree species for firewood, estimating volume, pros & cons of heating with wood; Drake Well Museum and Park; 6:30-7:30 pm (Winter Academy info)

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • The Railroad Museum of PA will offer Sensory Hours on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 3-5 pm (last entry at 4:30). Light, noise, and activity levels will be reduced and there will be quiet spaces located in some of the galleries. Advance tickets are required; purchase by 1 pm on Jan. 25 (Eventbrite link for ticket info and purchase).
  • The next PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 7 pm. Staff from 5 Trails of History sites will present objects linked to the theme, Trades & Jobs, and the audience members will vote on what they think makes the best match. The program is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (register for Collections Showcase)
  • Additional Winter Academy virtual programs will be offered by Drake Well Museum & Park on Feb. 10 and 17 (Drake Well Virtual Academy info)
  • Rails and Ales: enjoy an evening of craft beer among the museum's historic trains at the Railroad Museum of PA, April 9, 5:30-9 pm; must be 21 or older to attend; variety of ticket options, including designated driver tickets (Rails and Ales tickets)

Welcome to 2022!

Welcome to 2022!
2-story wood-sided symmetrical house painted white with two 1-story wings on each side. It is twilight and light shows through the windows from inside.
Joseph Priestley House as seen at the Twelfth Night event in 2019 (photo via JPH Facebook page)

Well, we made it through 2021 and now we're on to a new year. I sincerely hope that your outlook is upbeat and that you're ready to take on new challenges that lie ahead. (Some of them are leftover challenges, to be sure.) Our sites on the PA Trails of History continue to face whatever comes with creativity and flexibility. With winter upon us, many sites are on reduced schedules and some are closed for the next couple of months. Looking ahead, we'll see a return of more virtual programming, which works well for folks who are staying inside. Please note that Covid protocols mean that you'll find staff and volunteers masked indoors when you visit in person. We encourage visitors to mask indoors, but we don't require it.

wooden oil derrick with tower is surrounded by snow-covered trees
Drake Well Museum & Park kicks off its Winter Academy virtual program series this week (photo via DWM Facebook page)

The Week To Come

Saturday, January 8
  • Archeology Day (in-person): members of the Westmoreland Archeological Society will be on-site with artifacts discovered throughout the county; Bushy Run Battlefield; 10 am-4 pm; included in regular admission (Archeology Day info)
Sunday, January 9
  • Twelfth Night (in-person): festive greenery, lantern light, and chemistry demos (at 4:30 and 5:30); Joseph Priestley House; 4-7 pm; admission is free (Twelfth Night info)
Tuesday, January 11
  • Sensory Hours (in-person): light and noise levels will be lowered, and there will be several quiet spaces set up around the gallery; Railroad Museum of PA; 3-5 pm; advance tickets required (Sensory Hours info and tickets)
Wednesday, January 12
  • Games & Puzzle Challenge (in-person): test your knowledge and skills with a variety of games and challenges in the galleries; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; included in regular admission (Challenge info)
Thursday, January 13
  • Curiosity Kids (in-person): learn about living and non-living things; The State Museum of PA; 11:30 am-12:30 pm; for kids in grades K-2 and included in regular admission (Curiosity Kids info)
  • Winter Academy (virtual): tonight's program is about recycling all types of materials; Drake Well Museum & Park; 6:30-7:30 pm; this program is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (1/13 Winter Academy info and registration; see below for additional events in the series)
  • Ephrata Virtual Academy: answers to some of visitors' most frequently asked questions; Ephrata Cloister; 7-8 pm; program is free, but you'll need to register to get the Zoom link (Ephrata Academy registration)
Friday, January 14
  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual): learn about the American eel and efforts to restore the eel population in the Susquehanna River basin; The State Museum of PA; 12:15-12:45 pm; free, but you must register to get the Zoom link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration)

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • Additional Winter Academy virtual programs will be offered by Drake Well Museum & Park on Jan. 20, Feb. 10, and Feb. 17 (Drake Well Virtual Academy info)
  • The next PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 7 pm. Staff from 5 Trails of History sites will present objects linked to the theme, Trades & Jobs, and the audience members will vote on what they think makes the best match. The program is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link (register for Collections Showcase)
  • Rails and Ales: enjoy an evening of craft beer among the museum's historic trains at the Railroad Museum of PA, April 9, 2022, 5:30-9 pm; must be 21 or older to attend; variety of ticket options, including designated driver tickets (Rails and Ales tickets)