News and Notes

News presents briefs about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.

New Commission Logo Unveiled

For the past several months, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has been developing a number of new promotional campaigns aimed at enhancing its visibility and increasing visitation at its historic sites and museums. Most Pennsylvanians are already aware of the PHMC televi­sion public service announcements released last October. Building upon the themes of that television project, the deci­sion was-made to create a new promotional logo for use with Commission marketing initiatives.

The new logo incorporates the statement “Making Sure Our Past Has A Future,” which concisely explains what the PHMC is and why it exists. The images employed as part of the logo represent various aspects of our Pennsylvania heri­tage which the Commission interprets through its programs, symbolically under one roof. These representations include a shock of wheat, depicting Pennsylvania’s rural traditions and vital agricultural contributions in American history; a build­ing, representing our vast architectural heritage and the need to preserve our manmade environment; a gear, portraying the Commonwealth’s technological and industrial history memorialized in a number of PHMC historic sites and muse­ums; the drum, of course, suggesting our military history; and a tree, calling attention to the Commission’s natural history programs. Finally, the William Penn signature not only ack­nowledges the Founder as we enter our fourth century but also calls attention to the documents and other collections for which the PHMC has responsibility. On the whole, the logo is a modern representation, in a Pennsylvania folklife style, of what the PHMC is.

This new logo, symbolic of both the Commission’s past achievements and its enthusiastic aspirations for the future, first appeared this spring on the new “Trail of History,” a descriptive brochure on the PHMC’s historic sites, properties and museums. The logo also helped introduce a new discount admission fee program. Now, when PHMC admission ticket stubs, and those of participating non-PHMC historic attrac­tions, are presented at historic sites and museums displaying the new logo, visitors will receive an admission discount.

This new promotional campaign has already begun to stim­ulate interest in and appreciation of Pennsylvania history. So, this summer look for the new logo as you travel throughout the state and know that the Pennsylvania Historical and Mu­seum Commission is working hard, “Making Sure Our Past Has A Future.”


Rural Life and Culture Institute Once Again

As it has twenty-six times in the past, the Pennsylvania Farm Museum in Lancaster will be hosting its annual Institute of Pennsylvania Rural Life and Culture on June 21-24 [1983]. The program will include seminars on Pennsylvania antiques and material culture, nine craft workshops, museum exhibition openings and, of course, food and fun.

The seminars will feature painters; fraktur artists, with pre­sentations on Jacob Maentel, Lewis Miller and the “Alms­house Painters”; early crafts and industries; Pennsylvania German material culture; and paper conservation. Craft workshops will also cover a wide range of topics and will be conducted in wood graining, straw hat making, introductory and advanced tinsmithing, blacksmithing, tinsel painting, cabinetmaking, punched tin, fraktur (making a Pennsylvania German birth certificate) and quilting (making a doll quilt).

Each evening of Institute will also be full of activities. The first exhibit, “The Best of the Landises,” will follow registra­tion on Tuesday evening, June 21 [1983], while Wednesday evening’s program will feature the opening of the museum exhibit “It’ll Be a Miniature Williamsburg!” On Thursday evening, June 23 [1983], the Institute will commemorate thirty years of Common­wealth administration of the Pennsylvania Farm Museum with a special dinner program and entertainment. Part of that special event will feature an interpretive performance of peri­od magic tricks by Robert Olson of Old Sturbridge Village.

The registration fee of $90 includes one seminar and one workshop, or two seminars, plus the opening reception Tues­day evening, a coffee hour and lunch each day, and the dinner program on Wednesday. Thursday evening’s festivities can be enjoyed for an additional $15.


Bark Peelers Convene

The lumber industry has provided a significant contribution to the history of the economy and technology of Pennsylva­nia. The immense stands of virgin timber, which covered nine­ty percent of early Pennsylvania’s land area, were perhaps the state’s single most important natural resource.

At first, lumbering was mostly an individual enterprise of men who wished to clear their lands, but by 1870, Pennsyl­vania was the largest single lumber producing state in the na­tion. The invention of the geared locomotive permitted the ex­pansion of logging railroads into the remote and mountainous counties of northern Pennsylvania where lumbering became big business. Men of wealth and of vision bought large tracts of timbered lands and invested their assets in the establish­ment of bandsaw mills capable of producing 250,000 feet of lumber daily. The largest sole leather tanneries in the world were located in the hemlock forests of the northern tier coun­ties. Thousands of men found employment as woodhicks, bark peelers, sawyers, scalers, teamsters and beamhands. En­tire communities developed around the mills of the lumber­men and the plants of the tanners.

Logging, in its heyday, was characterized as a great deal of hard work and a good measure of worry and uncertainty. So, the end of the work season, which usually occurred on or about the Fourth of July, was always cause for celebration.

Each year, in commemoration of the “glory days” of log­ging, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum volunteers sponsor a two-day program called the Bark Peelers’ Convention at the museum in Galeton. The program, which is scheduled this year for July 2 and 3 [1983], features many of the traditional compe­titions-biding, tobacco-spilling and fiddling-enjoyed by loggers. Demonstrations of cooking, blacksmithing, horse­-drawn log skidding, timber hewing, chopping, bark peeling and sawing illustrate camp activities. One of the most popular features of the program is the cutting and serving of the eight­-foot-long log cake, from which over 1,000 pieces are shared with museum visitors. Other activities include special films, music and craft sales. For additional information, contact the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Box K, Galeton 16922, or call (814) 435-2652.


State Archives Search Room Schedules Remodeling

As part of the $1.2 million security, fire safety and emer­gency lighting project directed by the Department of General Services, the Search Room of the State Archives will be closed for a period of six to eight weeks sometime between Septem­ber 1, 1983 and December 1984. Under project D.G.S. 946.8, the Commonwealth plans to make architectural, mechanical and electrical improvements to the William Penn Memorial Museum and Archives building complex for the purpose of improving the security of collections and the fire safety needs of the public and Commission staff.

Specifically, the long-range improvements to the Search Room will result in the creation of a larger reading room to serve Archives patrons. Carpeting, better lighting, library bookcases and a security system, consisting of cameras, smoke detectors, and other perimeter security devices, wilt also be installed to provide a more secure and better equipped research area. In addition, a small foyer and new entrance will be created which will further improve in-house security by centralizing traffic patterns.

While there is no doubt that these changes will greatly assist researchers in their work at the State Archives, it is realized that closing the research facilities for six weeks wilt cause some inconvenience to the public and require some internal adjustments to the reference program. Because it was impossi­ble to identify appropriate space to be used as a temporary search room during the remodeling project, efforts have been made to alert genealogists, historians and government person­nel about the planned closing. Notices are being enclosed in all outgoing correspondence to researchers, suggesting that those patrons who plan to come to Harrisburg after Septem­ber 1 first write to the Bureau of Archives and History, PHMC, Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120. Letters have also been developed to provide information on where research can be conducted elsewhere. Finally, the staff will be involved in providing more detailed written responses to inquiries during this period.

In any event, the Commission is pleased to report that the state has made this substantial commitment to the security of collections and individual safety. Completion of this project will mean better service to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania and to the many other researchers who visit the archives.


Miniatures for All Ages

Pennsbury Manor, William Penn’s country plantation on the banks of the Delaware River in Morrisville, opened its third annual exhibition of miniature rooms, to the delight of visitors, on May 29, 1983. The exhibit, entitled “Miniatures for All Ages,” will remain on view in the Visitor Center until September 5.

Originally initiated in 1981 as part of Pennsbury Manor’s celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Penn­sylvania, the exhibit was so popular that it has now been es­tablished as an annual event. This year more than a dozen rep­lica models, with a scale of 1″ : 1′, will portray historical rooms, furnishings and themes related to history or legend. The miniatures, some exhibited by miniaturists who have earned ribbons for replicas presented in many local and state competitions, including the Philadelphia Flower Show, can be seen Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and from noon to 5:00 P.M. on Sundays.

After viewing the exquisite display, visitors can then tour William Penn’s forty-three-acre country estate with a cos­tumed interpreter, stroll through the gardens and visit the Manor Shop. For additional information, write The Penns­bury Society, Pennsbury Manor, 400 Pennsbury Lane, Mor­risville 19067, or call (215) 946-0400.


State Museum Secures Sedan

Earlier this year the William Penn Memorial Museum be­came the proud new owner of a mint condition 1948 Packard sedan. The vintage auto, frequently referred to as a “pregnant whale” because of its distinctive styling, was the gift of Mrs. Neal Okleigh Harris of Lancaster, the widow of a prominent Olympics coach whose wish it was that the car be donated to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

The Packard, the only automobile accepted into the collec­tions of the PHMC since 1956, is an important museum ac­quisition because it greatly expands the range of automobile styles represented in the William Penn’s Hall of Industry and Technology. The new addition joins a number of early cars featured in the transportation exhibit, including a 1909 Rolls­-Royce Landaulet; a 1913 “Lulu,” manufactured in Beaver­town, Snyder County; and an Autocar Roadster, built by the Autocar Company of Ardmore in 1905.

The 1948 Packard was recently repainted in its original Egyptian sand color, the rear seat interior upholstered in its original brown, hounds-tooth check material, and the driver’s seat restored with authentic 1949 material, researched and lo­cated by Mrs. Harris. The four-door sedan, which has logged 96,372 miles, was purchased new in 1948 by the Harrises from R. F. Manske, a Reading automobile dealer.

What makes the car even more fascinating was its owner, Neal Okleigh Harris. A professor and director of athletics at Albright College in Reading, Harris was appointed by the In­ternational Olympic Committee to teach American Olympic basketball to the Egyptians. He trained and coached the first Egyptian Olympic basketball team, then traveled to Japan where he coached Tokyo University to its first intercollegiate basketball championship. Later, the U.S. Army named Harris its first athletic director in Europe. After retiring from that post, he was rehired – eight hours later – because a suitable successor could not be found. Harris, who attended Franklin and Marshall College and the Pennsylvania State University, died February 8, 1982.

The newest acquisition to the Hall of Industry and Technol­ogy can be seen at the William Penn Memorial Museum dur­ing visiting hours Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and Sunday, noon to 5:00 P.M. Admission is free.


Ephrata Cloister Hosts Musical Drama

In the eighteenth century, because of Penn’s ideas of reli­gious toleration, many churches and sects sought shelter in his colony. Ephrata, founded in 1732 by Conrad Beissel, a Ger­man Pietist mystic, was the site of one of the earliest commu­nal societies established by such groups in America. Simple, large log and stone buildings were constructed and the com­munity grew to three orders: a brotherhood, a sisterhood and a married order of householders. By 1800, however, the celibate orders had virtually disappeared, and in 1814 the remain­ing householders incorporated the Seventh Day German Bap­tist Church, which continued as a congregation.

The lives of Beissel and his followers were dedicated to serv­ing God under rigorous self-discipline, denial and pious sim­plicity. Toward that end, members of the community were ac­tive in writing hymns, and choirs were formed to sing them. Those who were artistically inclined but could not sing copied the many magnificent hand-illuminated songbooks.

Today, the rich heritage of the community is being pre­served at the Cloister, a property administered by the PHMC. The site is open year-round to the public, but a special pro­gram, which includes some of the earliest music composed in America, is available to visitors July through Labor Day. The Ephrata Cloister Associates, the auxiliary group on the site, commissioned a musical drama to be written depicting the way of life practiced in the eighteenth-century communal soci­ety. Vorspiel, Der Neuen Weft (Prelude to the New World) unfolds as Captain Hale, wounded at the Battle of Brandy­wine, is nursed back to health by Sister Anna. It is inevitable that they are attracted to each other, and Sister Anna must make the choice to leave the order or to remain in the safety of the convent. Although the community is past its peak in 1777, during which time the drama is set, the original musical chorales are heard in flashbacks to earlier, historically accur­ate events.

Vorspiel performances are held every Saturday evening at 9:00 P.M., beginning on July 9 [1983] and running through Labor Day weekend [1983]. Ticket prices are set at $4.50 for adults (twelve years and above) and $2.00 for children (six to twelve years). Special rates have been established for groups over ten, and all tickets include pre-performance tours of the Cloister from 6:30 to 8:00 P.M.

To order tickets, schedule group tours or obtain further in­formation, write Ephrata Cloister Associates, Inc., Box 155, Ephrata 17522, or call (717) 733-4811.


“The Art of Enterprise: A Pennsylvania Tradition”

In August, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Common­wealth’s acquisition of the Pennsylvania Farm Museum at Landis Valley. The occasion will be observed at the William Penn Memorial Museum in Harrisburg through a special tem­porary exhibition comprising some eighty inn and tavern signs of tradesmen and craftsmen, cigar store figures and the shin­gles of professionals – doctors, dentists, veterinarians, apothecaries and taxidermists. Collectively, these assembled objects represent “The Ari of Enterprise: A Pennsylvania Tradition,” which is the title of the show. Although the ma­jority of the pieces in the exhibit were collected by the Landis brothers, there will be objects from other sources, such as the William Penn Museum collections, historical societies in the region, and private collections. All of the objects in the exhi­bition, however, were either made or used in Pennsylvania.

The exhibition is important not only because much of what will be exhibited has not been widely seen before, but also be­cause the collection documents, in material form, what travel­ers, writers, poets and others frequently described as Ameri­can and Pennsylvanian dedication to business and the rewards of the market place. Finally, these specimens highlight the art and design value inherent in the profusion of architecturally contrived signs, painted motifs and carved figures which help bridge the gap between the folk and popular an of the period. The scope of the exhibition, in time, is essentially the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Geographically, all of the Commonwealth is represented, with special emphasis on the southeastern counties.

“The Art of Enterprise” is a cooperative effort which in­volves a pooling of curatorial and design talent from both the State Museum and the Farm Museum in order to build and in­stall a major exhibit. An interpretive and descriptive catalog, made possible through the generosity of the Landis Valley As­sociates and the Commission’s newly established incentive grants program, will accompany the exhibit. When the show closes at the William Penn, in December 1983, it will be avail­able to other museums in the Commonwealth.