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

Washington Crossing Historic Park has an unusual and highly entertaining way of casting the individual to portray General George Washington at the Bucks County historic site. In September, contestants competed in the 2009 George Washington contest during auditions in which they answered questions about the American Revolutionary War. The winner earned the privilege of playing Washington at the annual rehearsal and Christmas Day Delaware River crossings, as well as at events on Washington’s birthday weekend, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July. This year’s winner is John Godzieba, of Langhorne, Bucks County, photographed with the outgoing Washington reenactor, Ronald P. Rinaldi, of Branchburg, New Jersey.


PHMC staff and volunteers who work hard to preserve and interpret Graeme Park in Horsham, Montgomery County, also recognize the indisputable importance of family pets. An imaginative event held this past September, the third annual Graeme Park Dog Show, attracted more than 400 people with their furry companions, including an adorable Yorkshire Terrier. Crowd favorites at the event included shopping at canine product vendors and visiting rescued dogs in need of new homes. Dogs participated in Frisbee competitions and also competed for prizes for best costume, best trick, and biggest paws. An award was even presented to a dog for being the best at doing absolutely nothing!


PHMC’s Somerset Historical Center, Somerset County, celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Mountain Craft Days, a popular folk festival, in September. The event features crafts demonstrators, artisans, musicians, and entertainers who interpret the rich frontier heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania. Volunteer Elizabeth Hobbes of Jeannette, Westmoreland County, took time out from assisting in the interpretation of the center’s 1770s farmstead to feed her daughter Eirene.


The Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Centre County, an important resource for Pennsylvania’s military history, honors past and present soldiers, as well as hosts activities for the entire family. The sluggish economy did not deter record crowds from attending the annual People’s Choice Festival on the museum grounds in July. The festival’s nonprofit organizer rents property from the museum and receives volunteer assistance from veterans groups, the public, and the Friends of the Pennsylvania Military Museum. The museum building, with its colorful display of military service and campaign award ribbons painted on the façade, beckons festival visitors to visit the museum.


Erntefest, or “harvest festival,” was an important seasonal event for the Harmonists, the original inhabitants of Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Beaver County. The historic site staged a reenactment of Erntefest in late September with skilled craftspeople and their apprentices. Inside the historic granary, Michael Falcone of Leesdale, Allegheny County, portrayed a young Harmonist broom maker. Visitors were invited to help make brooms which they could then purchase. The granary originally stored large amounts of grain for both economic and religious reasons.