The 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show: A Blue Ribbon State Fair

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the United States. Each year hundreds of thousands of people flock to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, to experience apples and alpacas, butter sculpture and blue-ribbon contests, milkshakes and mushrooms, square dancing and grape stomping, rodeos and tractor pulling, and...
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A Treasure Trove of Books

Considered one of the finest repositories of rare books in the nation, the Rare Book Collection of the State Library of Pennsylvania was, at its conception, nothing more than an accumulation of law books necessary for the founding fathers to organize and govern the province. In­deed, for two more centuries, the collection of rarities and unique volumes, as it is known and safeguarded today, was...
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The Romance of Pennsylvania Agriculture

When a small group of men met at Lancaster’s Leopard Hotel in August 1916 to organize the first Pennsylvania Farm Show, they did not have in mind mammoth displays of fifty thousand dollar tractors, mountains of steaming baked potatoes or presentations of grand champion livestock ribbons. They didn’t envision a state fair of the type that had become so popular in places like Iowa,...
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Executive Director’s Message

Museums and historical organizations across the cow1try are redefining and repackaging themselves as educational institutions. When I review annual reports of some of the nation’s most prestigious programs­ – Colonial Williamsburg and Greenfield Village, for in­stance – I am struck by new statements of purpose calling for greater commitment to use museums and their diverse...
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Executive Director’s Message

Anyone interested in preserving our past will surely want to review the standards for teaching history proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Under state law, PDE must adopt standards offering guidance to school districts on what students should know in various disciplines. The standards for history, available on PDE’s Web site, include sections on world, national, and...
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Library of the Founding Fathers

Three centuries after the birth of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), the world continues to be amazed by his overwhelming contributions, from the proprietary period in the early years of Pennsylvania through the birth of the United States of America. Of his many accomplishments, Franklin’s love of the printed word seems most obvious. In 1731, he and several friends founded the first...
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Hood Octagonal School

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission launched its annual preservation initiative on Monday, May 8, at the Hood Octagonal School, 3500 West Chester Pike, Newtown Township, Delaware County. This year’s preservation theme, “Educate Yourself about Preservation: Preserving Pennsylvania’s Historic Schools,” recognizes the significance of Pennsylvania’s...
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