PHMC Highlights

Here are a few of the PHMC Highlights that appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of PA Heritage magazine, as well as some extras that didn't fit in this issue.

Archaeology Day at the Capitol

Archaeologists from The State Museum of Pennsylvania joined others from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology (SPA), the Pennsylvania Archaeological Council (PAC) and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to celebrate Archaeology Month on October 26, 2009 at the state Capitol. Students joined the archaeologists to learn about the prehistory of Pennsylvania. There were artifacts on exhibit, demonstrations of archaeological field work, and a lecture from former Senior Curator, Steve Warfel. For more information, visit This Week in Pennsylvania Archaeology.

PHMC/Photo by Amanda Shafer

Graeme Park Dog Show

PHMC staff and volunteers who work hard to preserve and interpret Graeme Park in Horsham, Montgomery County, also recognize the indisputable importance of family pets. An imaginative event held this past September, the third annual Graeme Park Dog Show, attracted more than 400 people with their furry companions, including an adorable Yorkshire Terrier (above). Crowd favorites at the event included shopping at canine product vendors and visiting rescued dogs in need of new homes. Dogs participated in Frisbee competitions and also competed for prizes for best costume, best trick, and biggest feet. An award was even presented to a dog for being the best at doing absolutely nothing!

PHMC Graeme Park Historic Site/Photo by Joan D. Hauger

Erntefest at Old Economy Village

Erntefest, or "harvest festival," was an important seasonal event for the Harmonists, the original inhabitants of Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Beaver County. The historic site staged a reenactment of Erntefest in late September 2009 with skilled craftspeople and their apprentices. Inside the historic granary, Michael Falcone (above) of Leesdale, Allegheny County, portrayed a young Harmonist broom maker. Visitors invited to help make brooms which they could then purchase. The granary originally stored large amounts of grain for both economic and religious reasons. Members of he Harmony Society believed that when the Millennium arrived, there would be a time of upheaval and famine.

PHMC Old Economy Village/Photo by Roberta Sunstein

Mountain Craft Days at Somerset Historical Center

PHMC's Somerset Historical Center, Somerset County, celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Mountain Craft Days, a popular folk festival, in September 2009. The event features crafts demonstrators, artisans, musicians, and entertainers who interpret the rich frontier heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania. Volunteer Elizabeth Hobbes (above) of Jeannette, Westmoreland County, took time out from assisting in the interpretation of the center's 1770s farmstead to feed her daughter Eirene.

PHMC Somerset Historical Center/Photo by Carrie Blough

General George Washington

Washington Crossing Historic Park has an unusual — and highly entertaining — way of casting the individual to portray General George Washington at the Bucks County historic site. In September 2009, contestants competed for the 2009 George Washington contest during auditions in which contestants answered questions about the American Revolutionary War. The winner earned the privilege of playing Washington at the annual rehearsal and Christmas Day Delaware River crossings, as well as at events on Washington's birthday weekend, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July. This year's winner is John Godzieba (left), of Langhorne, Bucks County, photographed with the outgoing Washington reenactor, Ronald P. Rinaldi, of Branchburg, New Jersey.

PHMC Washington Crossing Historic Park/Photo by Jennifer Phillips April

Pennsylvania Governors Speakers Series

A new presentation series featuring former Pennsylvania governors is being hosted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and the Pennsylvania Heritage Society through the Pennsylvania State Bookstore.

The series commenced on October 21 when former Governor George M. Leader spoke about his books Healing Poems and Healing Poems II and discussed his forthcoming biography authored with PHMC historian Kenneth C. Wolensky. Leader served as governor from 1955 to 1959 and, at thirty-six years old, was the second youngest chief executive in the Commonwealth's history. He enacted Pennsylvania's first civil rights legislation, reformed the state mental health system, required public education for disabled children, and is recognized to be among the state's leading twentieth-century public policy reformers. His presentation was very well attended, and the 91-year-old statesman was an inspiration to many.

The series continues in 2010 with Governor Tom Ridge, Governor Richard Thornburgh, Governor Mark Schweiker, and concludes in late 2010 when U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. will discuss his late father, Governor Robert P. Casey, who served as chief executive from 1987-1995.

Photo by Don Giles, State Museum of Pennsylvania