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

In May, visitors witnessed a reenactment of World War II field life in the 1944–1945 European theater of operations as American, Allied, and German soldiers set up a bivouac on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Centre County. Reenactors who portrayed Allied small squad tactical operations against Nazi opposition included Tom Gray, Caitlin Williamson, and Doug Hartman; and Pete Michel; David Ayers as an Army field medic; and Bruce Michel (without hat or helmet). The museum also hosted the 28th Infantry Division memorial service and reunion in May, and received two sixty-six-ton battleship gun barrels for permanent exhibit.


On June 28, Jay Smar and Van Wagner performed folk songs at the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum in McDade Park, Scranton, Lackawanna County. Songs from the musicians’ most recent album, Heritage & Coal Mining Songs of Northeast Pennsylvania, featured Wagner performing “Lattimer Massacre.” The goal of the album is to rekindle interest in anthracite miners’ songs and stories collected and recorded by amateur folklorist George Korson (1899–1967) of Pottsville, Schuylkill County, from the mid-1920s until his death, and to introduce contemporary songwriters of the northeastern Pennsylvania coal region. Smar and Wagner provided historical narrative and origins for the songs.


The Ephrata Cloister Chorus celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on May 31 with an outdoor concert recreating its first performance at the historic site in Ephrata, Lancaster County. In 1959, the chorus, directed by Russell Getz, was formed to recreate the original music of this eighteenth-century religious community. Getz’s work to document this music continues with scholars researching and transcribing Ephrata’s music. The Ephrata Cloister Associates has performed in New York, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Philadelphia, and in four European concert tours, and is preparing for a fifth tour abroad. Directing the chorus is composer, organist, and consultant Dr. Daryl Hollinger, of Lebanon, Lebanon County.


In an effort to bring living history to the public year round, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Bucks County, presented a “colonial spring,” giving the public a look at eighteenth-century domestic arts and farming. Connie Unangst, a frequent demonstrator at the park, tempted appetites with a presentation of colonial spring cooking. The event also featured sheep shearing, spinning and weaving demonstrations, period laundering, children’s games and activities, historic garden interpretation, and tours of the Thompson-Neely House. The dwelling was built in the 1730s, with a second floor added in 1757 by Robert Thompson, a wealthy miller, and his wife Hannah.


Museum volunteer Sue Tafel, portrayed Lady Anne Keith, eighteenth-century mistress of the Keith House and mother-in-law of Dr. Thomas Graeme, after whom PHMC’s Graeme Park in Horsham, Montgomery County, is named. Guided tours of the Keith House were part of the Living History Sunday held at Graeme Park in June. Colonial life, including hearth cooking and period crafts and trades, were also presented during the event.