Pennsylvania Trails of History

Pennsylvania Trails of History The Pennsylvania Trails of History is the official page of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). To contact PHMC, please visit http://www.phmc.pa.gov

The PHMC is the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Created in 1945, we are responsible for the collection, conservation, and interpretation of Pennsylvania's historic heritage. Our Mission The PHMC preserves the Commonwealth's memory as a teacher and champion of its heritage for citizens of Pennsylvania and the nation. Our Vision The PHMC enriches people's lives by helping them to understand Pennsylvania's past, to appreciate the present, and to embrace the future.

PHMC's Virtual Farm Show Booth is open!  We've got so many stories to explore - minus the doughnuts & milkshakes. 👉 Land...
01/09/2021
Virtual Farm Show

PHMC's Virtual Farm Show Booth is open! We've got so many stories to explore - minus the doughnuts & milkshakes.
👉 Landis Valley Museum William Chester Ruth Exhibit.
👉 Full Access to Ancestry. #Archives
👉 Virtual tour of The State Museum's Mammal Hall
👉 Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt.

#PAFS21 #PAFarmSHow Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Pennsylvania Farm Show

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're planning ahead. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of onli...

It's 2021!  We are building a Digital Bridge to PA-SHARE.  Let's start with two of the biggest advantages that PA-SHARE ...
01/08/2021
2021: The Year of PA-SHARE - Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

It's 2021! We are building a Digital Bridge to PA-SHARE. Let's start with two of the biggest advantages that PA-SHARE will offer:

👉 Convenience
👉 Efficiency

Here's what we mean. 👇

Every new year is filled with excitement and anticipation of change. Once the page turns (or we click) to the new month, our minds begin a mental list of resolutions, personal goals, and reflections on what we would like to … Continue reading →

Why - during middle age - did Alexander Wilson take on the daunting ornithological endeavor of sketching & describing al...
01/05/2021
Biographer of the Feathered Tribes: Alexander Wilson and American Ornithology - Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine

Why - during middle age - did Alexander Wilson take on the daunting ornithological endeavor of sketching & describing all the “finest” American birds 🐦? It's #NationalBirdDay! Here's the answer. 👇

“As it has fallen to my lot to be the biographer of the feathered tribes of the United States,” Alexander Wilson (1766-1813) wrote to William Bartram (1739-1823) on August 4, 1809, “I am solicitous to do full justice to every species; and I would not conceal one good quality that any one of th...

It's #NationalTriviaDay!  This artifact, preserved by Landis Valley Museum, has quite an unusual shape, especially when ...
01/04/2021

It's #NationalTriviaDay! This artifact, preserved by Landis Valley Museum, has quite an unusual shape, especially when you consider its intended use. Can you name this object? #TrailsofMystery #MuseumMonday

PA SHPO is hosting two webinars that will give you the inside track on the Keystone Historic Preservation grant program,...
01/04/2021

PA SHPO is hosting two webinars that will give you the inside track on the Keystone Historic Preservation grant program, creating competitive applications & connecting with staff. The webinars are #free, but registration is required 👉 https://phmc.info/SHPOWebinar

Start 2021 with the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s Riding The Rails Pennsylvania Passenger Experience virtual lecture...
01/04/2021

Start 2021 with the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s Riding The Rails Pennsylvania Passenger Experience virtual lecture. Climb aboard! 👇

Start the New Year with the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s Riding The Rails Pennsylvania Passenger Experience virtual lecture, Wednesday, January 6 at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Join us to survey the railroad passenger experience, how train travel has changed over time and how Pennsylvania has often led the way. Tickets are by donation. Learn more and register here.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/riding-the-rails-the-passenger-experience-in-pa-virtual-lecture-qa-tickets-133386451467

@rrmuseumpa #rrmuseumofpa #museumfromhome #virtualprogram #passenger #railtravel #ridingtherails #education #historictrains #strasburgpa

📢 New tool for your #genealogical toolbox: The State #Archives has just uploaded a major birth/death certificates update...
01/02/2021

📢 New tool for your #genealogical toolbox: The State #Archives has just uploaded a major birth/death certificates update 👇

Birth Certificates, 1906-1915 ➡ http://phmc.info/2BJKwtF
Death Certificates, 1906-1970 ➡ http://phmc.info/2UpuRXu

01/02/2021
Mummers Parade

This video offers a glimpse into the history of Philadelphia's Mummers Parade, held in the past to honor #NewYearsDay. The 1939-1940 photos are preserved by the State #Archives 👉 https://phmc.info/2L2g4g9

In this 1979 photo, preserved by the State #Archives, Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh & the NRC's Harold Denton speak ...
12/31/2020

In this 1979 photo, preserved by the State #Archives, Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh & the NRC's Harold Denton speak to reporters in the wake of the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island's Unit 2 reactor. Gov. Thornburgh's leadership guided Pennsylvania through the crisis. Today, PHMC joins Gov. Tom Wolf in expressing condolences on the loss of former Gov. Thornburgh ➡ http://phmc.info/2WZyMNV

2020 brought us a little bit of everything and so did the PA SHPO blog – in a good way! Among other highlights, here is ...
12/30/2020
2020 Blog in Review - Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

2020 brought us a little bit of everything and so did the PA SHPO blog – in a good way! Among other highlights, here is our list of the 10 most viewed posts of 2020. #PreservationHappensHere 👇

In this crazy year, the PA SHPO’s blog is the one thing you could count on every week to bring you all sorts of current, relevant, fun and interesting information. I have actually won a trivia contest or two because … Continue reading →

PHMC's "Digital Doors" are always open. The PA Trails of History is filled with online events ranging from fascinating l...
12/28/2020

PHMC's "Digital Doors" are always open. The PA Trails of History is filled with online events ranging from fascinating lectures to virtual tours. Start your adventure here.! 👉 http://phmc.info/EventsCal

"This will be the last Trailheads post for 2020, as we take a little break until after the new year...I want to thank my...
12/28/2020
Bring on 2021!

"This will be the last Trailheads post for 2020, as we take a little break until after the new year...I want to thank my colleagues for their inspiring and resilient work to keep history alive and well." Amy Fox, PHMC. #HappyNewYear2021

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're planning ahead. The Trailheads Rec Room to the right of your screen has all kinds of onli...

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
12/28/2020

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, it’s still a beautiful day in the neighborhood. ☀️🏘

We’re doing our part to stay safe and protect those around us.

12/25/2020

Merry Christmas from PHMC! To celebrate the day, here's Santa Claus delivering gifts to children at the Elizabethtown Hospital for Crippled Children, circa 1930-1960. The State #Archives preserves the images. #MerryChristmas #ChristmasDay 👉 www.pastatearchives.com

#DidYouKnow? This homemade Santa mask - made of plaster, chicken wire, horsehair & paint - was once described as a moder...
12/25/2020

#DidYouKnow? This homemade Santa mask - made of plaster, chicken wire, horsehair & paint - was once described as a modern #Belsnickel mask. #Christmas #CuratorsChoice -> http://ow.ly/VZsR50CT3qK

This homemade Santa mask is constructed of plaster, chicken wire, horsehair and paint. The realistic ruddy cheeks and nose, along with the ample gray hair and beard, make for a striking and unusual rendition of a typically jovial Santa. This object was originally described as a modern #Belsnickel mask, though that attribution is likely in error. There are hanging loops on the side of this mask, indicating that this might have mounted or attached to an interior surface or wall. #santa #Christmas #CuratorsChoice

Explore this item and more in our online Collections database -> http://ow.ly/VZsR50CT3qK

This Christmas Eve card, preserved by The State #Archives, depicts the birthdate & birthplace of Dr. Benjamin Rush on De...
12/24/2020

This Christmas Eve card, preserved by The State #Archives, depicts the birthdate & birthplace of Dr. Benjamin Rush on Dec. 24, 1745 in Byberry, PA. Rush would become a Founding Father of the United States and a signatory to the Declaration of Independence. #OnThisDay #ChristmasEve 👉 www.pastatearchives.com

From the rise of Boscov's in Reading to the competition between Kauffman’s & Gimbel’s in Pittsburgh, the 20th century de...
12/23/2020
Window Shopping at 5 of Pennsylvania’s Historic Department Stores - Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

From the rise of Boscov's in Reading to the competition between Kauffman’s & Gimbel’s in Pittsburgh, the 20th century department store gave rise to the window-shopping culture across cities and towns throughout Pennsylvania. #PreservationHappensHere

With the widespread availability of plate glass at the end of the nineteenth century, department stores and window-shopping culture flourished in cities and towns throughout Pennsylvania – especially during the holiday shopping season near the end of the calendar year. … Continue reading →

12/23/2020
National Roots Day

It's #NationalRootsDay! Talking to your relatives is the best way to launch into any #genealogy project. Next, fill in the gaps by searching birth, death & census records preserved by the State #Archives. 👉 www.pastatearchives.com

Next month, PA SHPO is hosting two webinars that will give you the inside track on the Keystone Historic Preservation gr...
12/22/2020

Next month, PA SHPO is hosting two webinars that will give you the inside track on the Keystone Historic Preservation grant program, creating competitive applications & connecting with staff. Register now 👉 https://phmc.info/SHPOWebinar

Winter is here ❄! PHMC is celebrating the #WinterSolstice with this winter scene capture at Erie County's Sacred Heart M...
12/21/2020

Winter is here ❄! PHMC is celebrating the #WinterSolstice with this winter scene capture at Erie County's Sacred Heart Mission House. The postcard, preserved by the State #Archives, dates to 1947. #wintersolstice2020 👉 http://www.pastatearchives.com/

Looking for a genealogical tool to help build your family tree? The State #Archives preserves ships' passenger lists, re...
12/20/2020

Looking for a genealogical tool to help build your family tree? The State #Archives preserves ships' passenger lists, recording the arrival of Europeans at the Port of Philadelphia. #genealogy 👉 http://bit.ly/2GjxvtH

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
12/20/2020

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Our health care workers have been on the front lines of the COVID pandemic for the better part of a year.

We can help them by taking care of ourselves, doing what we can to prevent spreading COVID, and following guidelines if we do get sick.

Despite the challenges of 2020, PHMC has successfully preserved the commonwealth’s natural & cultural heritage as a stew...
12/19/2020

Despite the challenges of 2020, PHMC has successfully preserved the commonwealth’s natural & cultural heritage as a steward, teacher and advocate for the people of PA and the nation. Recently, we posted our 2019-2020 Annual Report ➡ https://phmc.info/2020Report

Here are just a few of the accomplishments you'll find within its pages:

👉 The State Archives safeguards more than 250 million
significant historic, legal & financial documents.
👉 Museum programs continue to educate via online offerings
during the pandemic.
👉 The Community Initiative Awards honors preservation successes.

At 2 p.m. tomorrow, #Zoom in as staff from 5 Trails of History sites present objects related to food. The audience (that...
12/18/2020
What's on Your Watchlist?

At 2 p.m. tomorrow, #Zoom in as staff from 5 Trails of History sites present objects related to food. The audience (that's you!) will vote on their favorite selection. The winning site will host a future episode of "What's In a Theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase." Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Eckley Miners' Village Museum Pennsbury Manor Pennsylvania Military Museum Old Economy Village

Please check the PHMC Events Calendar if you're planning ahead; I've highlighted some events below. The Trailheads Rec Room has all kinds o...

Artists Brian Skalaski & Amy Edwards use different media to address the destruction of Pennsylvania’s ash trees. Log on ...
12/18/2020

Artists Brian Skalaski & Amy Edwards use different media to address the destruction of Pennsylvania’s ash trees.

Log on & find out why. This presentation is free, but registration is required 👉 statemuseumpa.org/aos2020 #seepaart

There is still time to sign up for our December 18 Artists Conversations!

How do artists address conservation issues in their art? Join us to explore the work Brian Skalaski and Amy Edwards, who use different media to address the destruction of Pennsylvania’s ash trees by the emerald ash borer.

This presentation is free, but registration is required statemuseumpa.org/aos2020 #seepaart

From Santa Claus to Krampus, Christmas is steeped in legends. Many Pennsylvanians know of the Belsnickel, a legendary fi...
12/17/2020
Der Belsnickel: Nicholas in Furs or Hairy Devil? - Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine

From Santa Claus to Krampus, Christmas is steeped in legends. Many Pennsylvanians know of the Belsnickel, a legendary figure who serves as both the bearer of gifts and the agent of punishment in the Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas tradition. #Christmas2020 Landis Valley Museum

“There was a rush of noise outside that broke the silence of the winter night — a clanking of chains and a scratching at the kitchen window. Mother encouraged my brother and me to leave the dinner table to see who was outside. At the window, a ghastly masked face greeted us with an unearthly [.....

The team took on a community survey project in the Beaver & Monongahela river valleys in western PA. The project explore...
12/17/2020
Surveying Western Pennsylvania Communities - Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

The team took on a community survey project in the Beaver & Monongahela river valleys in western PA. The project explored the potential for investment in historical properties. Here's what they found. #PreservationHappensHere 👇

With support from the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation office, this summer, a team from ASC Group, Inc. and Aurora Research Associates, LLC undertook a community survey project in the Beaver and Monongahela river valleys in western Pennsylvania. The project is … Continue reading →

12/16/2020

At this point, it's not clear how much #snow central Pennsylvania will receive from this 🌨 storm. However, we can comfortably say that we've been here before. These photos, as preserved by the State #Archives, put into perspective historic storms from Pennsylvania's past. ❄️

12/15/2020

It's #BillofRightsDay! The Declaration of Rights found within the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 greatly influenced the Bill of Rights. Here are pages 2-10 of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, as preserved by the State #Archives.

You're registered for the State Archives' Community History Dialog event tomorrow...right?  If not, there's still time. ...
12/15/2020
Current News

You're registered for the State Archives' Community History Dialog event tomorrow...right? If not, there's still time. Here's what you need to know about this can't-miss #virtual event. #Archives #Zoom 👇

How can a community start preserving the many stories that make up its history? Discover how the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action ConsortiumOpens In A New Window has collaborated with the Senator John Heinz History Center to develop a unique community preservation strategy to p...

Look closely.  You can clearly make out the hints of #snow ❄️ in this gray winter scene of the West End Coal Company bre...
12/14/2020

Look closely. You can clearly make out the hints of #snow ❄️ in this gray winter scene of the West End Coal Company breaker. This painting by muralist George William Breck brings to mind the wintery landscape many of us may face later this week.

From the art collection of the Anthracite Heritage Museum: A gray winter scene of the West End Coal Company breaker by muralist George William Breck in 1915. Breck was born in Washington D.C. in 1863 and had a talent for art at an early age. He eventually gained a scholarship to the American Academy in Rome. He served as the director of the Academy of fine arts in Rome, Italy from 1904 to 1909 before settling in Flushing, New York in 1910. Before his death in 1920 he would also publish illustrations in several books such as "Dere Mabel; Love Letters of a Rookie" and "For the Children's Hour" a collection of 100 fairytales and poems for children.

By now, you're likely finishing up your holiday shopping 🛍️. When I was young, I wanted a chemistry set. My parents even...
12/14/2020

By now, you're likely finishing up your holiday shopping 🛍️. When I was young, I wanted a chemistry set. My parents eventually bought me a set, but it wasn't anywhere near as elaborate as this Chemcraft Master Laboratory, now preserved by The State Museum. ➡ https://phmc.info/3oMmy72

Today, the commonwealth’s presidential electors will cast their votes for #POTUS. The PA Department of State borrows fro...
12/14/2020

Today, the commonwealth’s presidential electors will cast their votes for #POTUS. The PA Department of State borrows from this box from The State Museum of Pennsylvania to collect the #ElectoralCollege votes. This box 🗳️ is steeped in history, especially when it comes to the term, “black balled.” 👇

#DYK the #Pennsylvania Department of State borrows this box to collect the #ElectoralCollege votes? Although simple in design and humble in origin, this wooden box becomes part of a national event.

Citizens Fire Company 3 originally used the box for its elections. Members placed either a black or white ball in a hole in the top of the box; a white ball signified “yes” and a black ball signified “no.” Candidates denied membership were said to have been “black balled.”

After the Harrisburg-based fire company disbanded in the early 1960s, the box was donated to the State Museum and in recent decades has been used by the PA Department of State every four years to collect ballot cards cast by the state’s presidential electors.

To learn more about this and other objects associated with Pennsylvania’s Electoral College, link here: http://ow.ly/k2q950CKRGR
#CuratorsChoice

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