Current and Coming features detailed information about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania. Originated as “Currents.” Retitled “Current and Coming,” Winter 2003, and then retitled “Out and About,” Fall 2005. Revived as “Current and Coming,” Winter 2013. Ran regularly, Spring 1984 to Spring 2008, and then occasionally, Winter 2013 to Spring 2015.

Lancaster County’s Folk and Decorative Arts

Lancaster County paintings, printing, fraktur and Chip­pendale furniture comprise the ninth annual exhibit exam­ining local folk and decorative arts and crafts sponsored by the Heritage Center of Lan­caster County, a nonprofit organization devoted to the collection, preservation and ex­hibition of the county’s mate­rial culture. On view through November 17 [1984], the exhibit features the art of Lloyd Miff­lin (1846-1921), poet, painter, photographer and sculptor whose works broadly range from the Hudson River tradi­tion to lyrical impressionism. On display are paintings, photographs and sculpture.

A large portion of “A Splen­did Tradition: Folk and Dec­orative Arts of Lancaster County” is devoted to Lan­caster Chippendale furniture, illustrating – both geographically and chronologically­ – more than fifty years, from 1760 to 1810, of a distinct regional school of cabinetmakers known for extensive use of relief carving. Furniture makers from several communities, includ­ing Manheim, Quarryville, Strasburg, New Holland, Chris­tiana, as well as Lancaster, will be represented. The frak­tur of Heinrich Otto, one of the most popular of the area’s early fraktur artists, is illus­trated by more than fifty of the countian’s works which ex­plain the impact of his art on the fraktur produced by his four sons. Jacob, William, Dan­iel and Conrad Otto have recently been recognized as fraktur artists. The fraktur exhibit also examines the influ­ence of the printed Heinrich Otto taufschein, or birth cer­tificate, on later works.

Almanacs, lottery tickets, newspapers, books, maps, frak­tur, currency and broadsides were printed in Lancaster County during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by craftsmen using hand tools and a few simple machines. Nearly a century of printing in Lan­caster County, from 1745 to 1840, is well illustrated by a great variety of printed works in both German and English, representing an early industry which still thrives throughout the region.

The Heritage Center of Lan­caster County’s museum is located on Penn Square, at King and Queen Sts., in Lancas­ter. Visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Admission is charged. For further information re­garding” A Splendid Tradition,” telephone (717) 299-6440.


Summer Events at Fort Roberdeau

The American Revolution was raging when the scarcity of lead, from which bullets were made, threatened the fate of the colonies. In an effort to secure a new source of lead, Brig. Gen. Daniel Roberdeau took a leave of absence from his seat in the Continental Con­gress and traveled to the Sink­ing Springs Valley area of what was then Bedford County. Roberdeau did find the lead he eagerly sought – but he also encountered marauding Indi­ans and Tories bent on disrupt­ing any mining operations. At his own expense he erected the fort bearing his name and encouraged the government militia to safeguard the fortifi­cation and protect the lead miners. The fort also housed early settlers of the area during terrifying Indian unrest.

An archaeological excava­tion conducted in 1939 deter­mined the exact location of the foundation walls upon which the fort was built. Archaeologists also uncovered the stone and brick founda­tion of the original powder magazine (an underground facility for the safe storage of powder and shot) and frag­ments of shoes, glass, pottery and hand-forged iron work. Fort Roberdeau was recon­structed in the mid-1970s as a Blair County bicentennial celebration project; it is the centerpiece of the Fort Rober­deau Park complex which includes a twenty-one-acre woodland used as an outdoor educational laboratory. The outdoor laboratory features at least one mile of nature trails and a large activities building containing an excellent col­lection of rocks, minerals, plant life and Indian artifacts, as well as a series of paintings depicting life at the early military installation. A picnic area is also located in the park complex.

Cluggage’s Ranger Com­pany, affiliated with the Brigade of the American Revolution, a representation of the original defensive unit of the American forces during the conflict, is garrisoned at the fort. During selected weekends throughout the summer, the company will perform battle tactics and demonstrate traditional crafts.

The Federation of Musi­cians Ceremonial Band will present a concert on July 4 [1984]. “Old Fort Roberdeau Days” will be hosted Tuesday and Wednesday, July 21-22 [1984], fea­turing a frontier battle in which hundreds of visiting soldiers from throughout the Com­monwealth will participate. The complex’s season con­cludes with a nature festival the weekend of September 29-30 [1984].

Fort Roberdeau is located in Sinking Valley, off state route 220, 8 miles east of Altoona. Admission and park­ing are free. For additional information regarding the summer calendar of events, write: Fort Roberdeau Office, Blair County Courthouse, Highland Hall, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648; telephone (814) 695-5541.


Wicks and Wax

The introduction of elec­tricity in 1879 heralded a drama­tic improvement in the quaLity of life for most Americans. The dirty, tedious drudgery of cleaning lamp globes, trimming wicks, and filling lamps came to an end as bright, clean and even light was available at the mere flick or tug of a switch. Electricity soon rendered obsolete the many candles and lamps often responsible for tragic explo­sions and fires. The romance of the flickering flame still persists, however, and candle­light remains popular for religious, ceremonial and numerous social functions.

Candles were in use as early as Roman civilization and prompted the production of handsome holders in a wide variety of styles and material throughout history. A re­cently prepared exhibit at the William Penn Memorial Mu­seum, “Wicks and Wax,” analyzes – through some eighty candleholders and related devices – the aspects of early lighting. Objects, dating from the seventeenth century to 1930, include candlehold­ers made of brass, glass, tin, iron and pottery, as well as unusual accessories such as candle boxes, snuffers and trays. A fine poplar candle­-dipping stand and several candle molds illustrate the two principal methods of candle­making before the mid-nine­teenth century when new waxes were developed and candlemaking machines were perfected.

“Wicks and Wax” is located in the first floor alcove ad­jacent to the State Museum’s majestic Memorial Hall (plaza entrance). A subsequent ex­hibition will examine other types of early lighting devices and include examples of early electric lighting.

The William Penn Memorial Museum is located at Third and North Sts. in center-city Harrisburg, just north of the state capitol. Visiting hours are Tuesday through Satur­day, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Sunday, noon to 5 P.M. Admission is free.


Historic Schaefferstown to Hold Annual Cherry Fair

Historic Schaefferstown, a nonprofit educational organi­zation created to preserve and study the folk culture of surrounding Lebanon County, has revived a charming cus­tom popular with residents of the small community since the early nineteenth century: the Cherry Fair. For several days each summer, early residents of Schaefferstown would gather in the town square, celebrating their Cherry Fair with cherry streusel, cherry cake, cherry soda, cherry ice cream, cherry pie, cherry fritters, cherry dumplings – and plenty of fresh cherries! This year, the annual event will be held Saturday, June 23, from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. on the town square, the site of the sum­mer festivity since 1822.

The following day, Sun­day, June 24 [1984], the Spring Folk Festival will be held at the Alexander Schaeffer Farm Mu­seum, located on state route 501 south, featuring guided tours of the 1736 Swiss bank house, log house and the German garden. Eighteenth­-century crafts demonstrations and early summer farm activi­ties reminiscent of an earlier era will also be offered.

For more information re­garding the events, write: His­toric Schaefferstown, Inc., Box 307, Schaefferstown, PA 17088; or telephone (717) 949-3685 or 949-3447. Schaef­ferstown is located between Reading and Lebanon.


Ethnic Images in Advertising on Exhibit in Philadelphia

Ethnic images have been employed by the advertising industry since its earliest years to appeal to specific markets and to evoke responses associated with targeted eth­nic groups. Nearly every Ameri­can is familiar with Aunt Jemima and the Dutch Cleanser maiden, but few recognize them as ethnic images or seri­ously consider the deeper, somewhat subtle reasons for their use. Often, advertising campaigns relied solely on the ethnic stereotype, an oversimplified expression or image which imposed uni­formity on an ethnic commu­nity without consideration of individual differences or be­liefs. Nevertheless, the ex­pression or image was some­times a gross exaggeration based purely on selective truth.

The use of ethnic stereo­types in advertising has changed considerably during the growth of the industry, accompanied by a greater, more sensitive appreciation for, and understanding of, ethnic dif­ferences. The industry’s recognition of the diversity inherent in a particular ethnic community has prompted increased responses to bur­geoning ethnic and minority markets. The fascinating evolution of advertising’s treat­ment of ethnic images is thoroughly explored in an ex­hibition mounted by the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia. “Ethnic Images in Advertising,” located in the institute’s museum, con­sists of one hundred and fifty images which appeared during the past century in magazine advertisements, post­ers, broadsides, trade cards and television storyboards.

The exhibit depicts fifteen ethnic groups represented mostly by pieces drawn from the extensive holdings of the Balch Institute, but sup­plemented with materials loaned by the Free Library of Philadelphia, the New York Public Library, the archives of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, the Print Collection of the Library of Congress, and the New York Historical Society.

“Ethnic Images in Adver­tising” will be displayed through September 7 [1984]. Visiting hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Admission is free.

Following its run at the Balch Institute, the show will be available to borrowing institu­tions as a traveling exhibit. Information regarding its dis­play at the institute and booking arrangements are available by writing Gail Stern, Museum Curator, The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, 18 South Eighteenth St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or by telephoning (215) 925-8090.


Happy Birthday, Pennsylvania!

Philadelphia’s legendary Carpenters’ Hall is recognized as the birthplace of modern state government. During the week of June 18-25, 1776, the Provincial Conference met, by popular demand, at the historic trade hall to adopt pro­cedures for selecting dele­gates to the Constitutional Con­vention which would, in turn, form a new government to replace the existing provincial government and be truly representative of the views and desires of Pennsylvanians. The actions taken by the Pro­vincial Conference allowed Pennsylvania to officially sup­port the cause for national independence one week later­ – July 4 – and encouraged the adoption of its first state con­stitution. Delegates to the Carpenters’ Hall conference unanimously passed a reso­lution on the last day declar­ing their independence from Great Britain – nine days before the Continental Con­gress, meeting two blocks away, enacted the Declaration of Independence.

A joint resolution passed by the General Assembly in 1981 officially recognized Car­penters’ Hall as the site where founder William Penn’s old provincial government was effectively ended and the first major step toward estab­lishing Pennsylvania as a state was taken.

To commemorate the “birth­day” of modern Pennsyl­vania, the Carpenters’ Com­pany of the City and County of Philadelphia initiated in 1976 an annual celebration feting both the anniversary and the structure. Each of the Com­monwealth’s sixty-seven coun­ties will be invited to co­sponsor, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the yearly pageant. The 208th anniversary celebration will be hosted by the Cumber­land County Historical Society on Saturday, June 23 [1984].

Several documented ties link the important week at Car­penters’ Hall two centuries ago and the County of Cumber­land. Ten countians attended the Provincial Conference, including James McLane, Col. John Allison, John McClay, William Elliot, Col. William Clark, Dr. John Colhoon, John Creigh, Hugh McCormick, John Harris and Hugh Alex­ander. Carlisle, the county seat, also had its own version of the Carpenters’ Company which established standards for building fees and the quality of workmanship by master carpenters. The Carpenters’ Society of Carlisle existed as early as 1768 or 1769.

Additional information re­garding “Pennsylvania’s Birth­day Party” is available by writing: Cumberland County Historical Society, 21 North Pitt St., P.O. Box 626, Carlisle, PA 17013; or by telephoning (717) 249-7610.


East Meets West in Philadelphia

More than three hun­dred objects made in China specifically for the American market and borrowed from collectors and institutions throughout the world will be shown in an exhibit entitled “Philadelphians and the China Trade, 1784-1840,” opening Sunday, July 1 [1984], at the Philadel­phia Museum of Art. All of the objects on display – furni­ture, portraits, silver, silks, lacquerware, porcelain, and ivory and tortoise shell carv­ings – were commissioned by Philadelphians or arrived on ships at the city’s port, evidencing the tastes and inter­ests of Philadelphians in the late eighteenth and early nine­teenth centuries. The exhibi­tion celebrates the two hun­dredth anniversary of the sail­ing of the first American ship for China, which was mainly financed by Philadelphians, and examines the crucial role the port of Philadelphia played in the trade, rivaling that of Boston, Salem and New York.

The exhibition is organized around the portraits and possessions of key Philadelphi­ans associated with the trade, such as financiers, local mer­chants, ships’ captains and supercargoes (those charged with the sale of cargo and purchases in China), and com­mission agents who lived at the foreign colony at Can­ton. “Philadelphians and the China Trade” is unusual because the dates and prove­nance of the fine decorative arts, most of which were spe­cial commissions, have been recently established through genealogical and archival research. The show is the first major exhibit to firmly estab­lish the important and dis­tinctive place held by Phila­delphia in the history of the early China trade.

The sophisticated taste of Philadelphia citizens assured a ready market for Chinese furnishings, which were freely combined with those in Euro­pean and American high style in the city’s fashionable residences. Chinese artisans quickly adapted their skills to supply and satisfy the de­mands of the American market by copying or interpreting Western forms and decorations. In keeping with the Quaker traditions of many traders and their customers, the objects made for Philadelphians show an understated, subtle ele­gance. Some of the finest work by Chinese artists and crafts­men was produced for Phila­delphia’s Quakers. So great was the interest in China that Philadelphia became the site of the first Chinese museum opened in America. Estab­lished in 1839 by Nathan Dunn, who lived in Canton for twelve years as a commission agent for Philadelphia mer­chants, the museum housed a collection of more than 10,000 artifacts which Dunn personally gathered and transported. Thousands visited Dunn’s mu­seum which is represented in the exhibit by a portrait he commissioned in China, a silver and mother-of-pearl toothpick case and pick, and a puzzle box.

“Philadelphians and the China Trade, 1784-1840” con­tinues through September 23. For additional information, write: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Parkway at 26th St., Philadelphia, PA 19101; tele­phone (215) 763-8100.


State Archives Receives Rare Glass Plate Negatives

A collection of thirty-five rare glass plate negatives record­ing the construction and early operations of a Cambria County soft coal mine was recently donated to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission where it will be pre­served intact in the holdings of the State Archives. The col­lection was a gift of Aileen Michelbacher, Vintondale, and Denise Weber, Indiana, daughter and granddaughter of John Huth, mining engineer and later assistant superinten­dent of the Vinton Colliery Company in Vintondale, in whose memory the collection was presented.

The black and white plates show the construction of the Vinton Colliery Company’s number six mine in Vinton­dale, including views of the coal washery, coke ovens, offices, power house and ammonia plant. Each negative measures five by seven inches. The collection is extremely signifi­cant because the State Ar­chives does not own many scenes of Pennsylvania’s bitu­minous region which are older and, especially, because the views offer glimpses of the ac­tual construction of a bitu­minous coal mine and illustrate turn-of-the-century building techniques. Made in the sum­mer of 1906, the photographic negatives are important to both labor and social historians because they not only show laborers at work, but they de­pict a real coal “patch” town in the early twentieth century. Prints will be made of the fragile glass plates enabling researchers, historians and the general public to study them.

Vintondale was a com­pany town planned and laid out by the Vinton Colliery Company in 1894 and largely owned by Warren Delano, a financier and uncle of Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The village was the scene of great labor unrest during the 1920s.

As the Commonwealth’s official history agency, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is actively seeking photographs, prints, drawings and maps to enrich the collections of the State Archives. Persons in­terested in sharing such mate­rial are encouraged to write: Linda A. Ries, State Archives, P.O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026.


National Trust Regional Office Moved to Philadelphia

One of Philadelphia’s most historic and architecturally distinguished Georgian struc­tures, Cliveden, now houses the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for­merly located in Washington, D.C. Built 1763-67, Cliveden was the elegant country house of noted Philadelphia lawyer and jurist Benja­min Chew (1722-1810) and served as the Chew family resi­dence for two centuries. Designated by the federal gov­ernment as a National His­toric Landmark, the historic house-museum is the center­piece of a six-acre park in the center of Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood. The property was acquired by the National Trust in 1972 and is one of nine historic buildings owned and operated by the national preservation organization.

Founded in 1948, the Na­tional Trust for Historic Pres­ervation was chartered by Con­gress as the only indepen­dent organization to promote the preservation of the coun­try’s historic resources, in­cluding sites, objects, buildings and structures, entire vil­lages and neighborhoods and, more recently, rural areas. The organization is a nonprofit private group advocating the preservation and re-use of older buildings.

Since its creation, the Na­tional Trust has expanded its focus and attention from museum-oriented preservation and site-specific restoration projects to community-wide ini­tiatives and public programs. The organization is currently assisting thousands of community-based preservation groups throughout the nation in undertaking major rehabili­tation projects, including the revitalization of commer­cial business districts and resi­dential neighborhoods.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Office offers assistance with grants supporting the hiring of consultants, as well as grants for the co-sponsorship of specialized or topical confer­ences. In addition to serving Pennsylvania, the regional office administers programs in Maryland, Virginia, Dela­ware, West Virginia and New Jersey. For additional in­formation regarding the pro­grams and membership bene­fits of the National Trust, write: Grace Gary, Director, Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, The National Trust for His­toric Preservation, Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Ave., Phila­delphia, PA 19144; or tele­phone (215) 438-2886.


Exhibit Explores Philadelphia’s Jewish Community

The notable history of Philadelphia’s congregation Mikveh Israel is long and proud, distinguishing it not only as the “synagogue of the American Revolution” but also as the second oldest con­tinuous congregation in the country. Mikveh Israel dates its American origins to 1740 and the establishment of the “Jews Burying Ground,” the cemetery at Eighth and Spruce Sts. During the Revo­lutionary War, Jewish pa­triots, fleeing British-controlled New York, sought refuge in Philadelphia and found a spiritual haven at Mikveh Israel.

Prominent members of Mik­veh Israel have included Haym Salomon, financier of the Revolutionary War, and Nathan Levy, whose ship, the Myrtilla, carried the Lib­erty Bell to America. Outstand­ing spiritual leaders of the congregation were Isaac Leeser, founder and publisher of the Occident, the first Jewish periodical in the nation, and Sabata Morais, founder of the Jewish Theological Seminary. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Mikveh Israelites founded or partici­pated in the creation of many major institutions, in­cluding the Jewish Publication Society, Gratz College, the American Jewish Committee, Dropsie College, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association and, most recently, the National Museum of American Jewish History.

The influence of the congre­gation extended far beyond the American Jewish commu­nity and is evidenced by contributions for the first syna­gogue building from Benja­min Franklin and statesmen of the era, as well as by cor­respondence from Presidents George Washington, Abra­ham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

A major exhibit entitled “Kahal Kadosh Mikveh Israel: Congregation and Commu­nity,” on view through Novem­ber 12 [1984] at the National Museum of American Jewish History, traces the roots of Philadelphia’s Jewish community from its colonial period beginnings through the present. Using rare archival materials and arti­facts – many never before pub­licly displayed – the exhibit also examines the roles of the congregation’s leaders and members in American Jewish life.

“Kahal Kadosh Mikveh Israel: Congregation and Com­munity” may be visited dur­ing regular museum hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Sunday, noon to 5 P.M. Guided tours are also available. Admission is $1.50 for adults, $1.25 for stu­dents and senior citizens, $1 for children. For further in­formation, write: National Museum of American Jewish History, Independence Mall East, 55 North Fifth St., Phila­delphia, PA 19106; or tele­phone (215) 923-3811.