Historical Societies: News and Highlights

Historical Societies: News and Highlights presents news and information about Pennsylvania's regional and county historical societies.

Statewide Meetings Scheduled Together

This coming April [1983], in a departure from tradition, the spring meetings of two statewide historical organizations, the 76th annual meeting of the Pennsyl­vania Federation of Historical Societies and the spring conference of the Penn­sylvania Historical Association, are be­ing held concurrently in Harrisburg. The meetings of the Federation, num­bering some 200 of the state’s historical societies among its members, had in re­cent years been held in early May. The spring conference of the PHA, drawing its membership from among profes­sional historians and others interested in Pennsylvania history, replaces the an­nual research conference which had taken place in late March or April of each year. Although each of the two meetings will have its own independent program, those attending will have an opportunity to choose bet ween some concurrent sessions. In addition. the schedule also calls for a joint luncheon planned for Saturday.

Further information on the two meet­ings can be obtained from George R. Beyer at the PHMC, Division of His­tory, Box :026, Harrisburg 17120, or telephone (717) 783-9871 /787-3034.


Allentown’s Wooden Ornaments

Walking tours, focusing on down­town Allentown’s wooden architectural ornamentation, are now available [in 1983] through the Lehigh County Historical Society. The tours are the culmination of a massive project to document and interpret every type of wooden architec­tural ornament in 150-square blocks of downtown Allentown.

The project, directed by Karyl Lee Kibler Hall and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humani­ties, was divided into three distinct phases. The first part involved photo­graphing every wooden ornament with­in the study area and coding onto com­puter the more than ten thousand homes involved. Each structure was cataloged as a separate case so that changes in facade styles over time could be studied. In addition, each particular kind of ornament was tabulated to determine how many existed and what styles ap­peared in what years.

The second stage of the project, inter­pretative analysis of the documentation data, utilized valuable advice from proj­ect consultants. The discovery of a large collection of nineteenth-century pattern books in the Lehigh University Library proved to be exceptionally helpful in this process.

The final aspect of the project in­volved the collection of local artifacts. Architectural ornaments from both city­- and privately-owned buildings sched­uled for demolition or extensive renova­tion have been removed and stored at the historical society.

For more information about the proj­ect and the walking tours, contact the society at Old Court House, Hamilton at Fifth, Allentown 18101, or call (215) 435-1074.


Society Notes

Under a $10,800 grant from the Insti­tute of Museum Services, the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania has prepared and made available to junior and senior high school students two slide/tape shows, “Transportation in Western Pennsylvania” and “The Whiskey Rebellion in Western Pennsyl­vania.” Another such program, “Oil on the Brain,” was prepared through a grant from the Gulf Oil Corporation in conjunction with McCullough Com­munications. All three programs deal with critical events and processes which shaped the region’s past and are supple­mented with study guides. For addi­tional information contact the society’s director, John Labanish, at 4338 Bige­low Blvd., Pittsburgh 15213.

The National Endowment for the Hu­manities offers grants for humanities projects conducted through museums and historical organizations and for general research programs in state. local and regional studies. For a complete list of grant application deadlines, write to the National Endowment for the Hu­manities, Mail Stop 204, Washington, D.C. 20506.

Historic houses and museums garnered thirty-four percent of the Institute of Museum Services’ general operating support grants for 1982. Of the grams awarded, totaling $10.2 million, 109 went to history museums and 97 to his­toric house museums. The awards are designed to assist museums in providing basic services such as salaries, utilities, maintenance, conservation of collec­tions and educational programs.

In order to preserve the past and edu­cate future generations, the Manheim Preservation Society has been estab­lished. The new organization is seeking information concerning the history and culture of Manheim Township, York County and encourages interested in­dividuals to become members by con­tacting the society’s founder, Bette Snyder, at 216 Stone House, R.D. 1, Brodbecks 17329. or call (717)235-4646.