PHMC Highlights presents stories and information about PHMC programs, events, exhibits and activities.

Marking its fortieth anniversary this summer, “Art of the State : Pennsylvania 2007,” cosponsored by The State Museum of Pennsylvania and the Greater Harrisburg Arts Council was on view from June 9 through September 9 at The State Museum. Of 1,728 paintings, works on paper, sculptures, crafts, and photographs submitted by 646 Pennsylvania artists, independent judges selected 150 works by 140 artists representing thirty-three counties. The staff of The State Museum’s exhibition management, curatorial, and operations departments, including John C. Leighow, newly named museum director, and N. Lee Stevens, senior curator of art collections, coordinated the show. Kristin Scofield, administrative assistant for exhibition management, and Carl Sander Socolow, recipient of the first prize for photography, attended the opening night artists’ awards ceremony.


Graeme Park in Horsham, Montgomery County, welcomed students entering fourth through sixth grades to its annual fun-filled Colonial Living Camp, planned by Carol and John Brunner of The Friends of Graeme Park. In late June, children enjoyed basket weaving lessons, milked a cow, witnessed a militia encampment, experienced colonial era schooling, learned to play the tin whistle and, in the tradition of Elizabeth Graeme Ferguson’s literary and musical “salons,” read their poetry and journal entries aloud. Joan D. Hauger, Graeme Park administrator, taught a new generation about redware pottery.


PHMC summer intern Kathleen Quinlan, a senior majoring in history and political science at the State University of New York at Geneseo, through a Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals grant to the Pennsylvania Heritage Society, developed three exhibits for The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Ecology Hall. Opening in early 2008, the displays will feature twentieth-century Pennsylvania conservationists Rachel Carson (1907–1964), biologist, writer, and ecologist who sparked the environmental movement with her controversial 1962 book Silent Spring; popular wildlife artist E. Stanley “Ned” Smith (1919–1985); and M. Graham Netting (1904–1996), author, zoologist, and director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Quinlan researched and drafted exhibit scripts, selected archival images and artifacts, conducted interviews, including one with Jane N. Huff, Netting’s daughter, and assisted in the design of the displays.


The old adage “as easy as falling off of a log” is not welcome at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum. That’s because birling — the skill of standing upright against an opponent on a rapidly rolling log in water — is just one of the action-packed activities at the annual Bark Peelers’ Convention. Held the weekend of July 7-8, the thirty-third annual event brought thousands of visitors to rural Potter County from all over the country, reports Dolores M. Buchsen, museum administrator. Visitors enjoyed regional food and entertainment and observed bark peeling, blacksmithing, shingle making, and time-honored skills that helped make logging an important industry in nineteenth-century Pennsylvania. Buchsen and staff members Michael Berberich, Patricia Berberich, David Crowell, Brenda McKinney, and Lester Jordan Sr., as well as loyal volunteers, helped make the event one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Keystone State’s northern tier.


The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, Lancaster County, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 18 to unveil its new entrance, lobby, and museum shop. The dramatic improvements to the thirty-two-year-old building were funded by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, administered by the Federal Highway Administration through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Taking part in the ribbon-cutting were state Representative Bryan Cutler, Lancaster County; PHMC Executive Director Barbara Franco; Ronald Bailey, president, Railroad Museum Advisory Council; Donna L. Williams, director of the PHMC’s Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums; David W. Dunn, director of the Railroad Museum, and Barry A. Loveland, chief of the PHMC’s Division of Architecture and Preservation.