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

Opening Sunday, August 26, at Lan­caster’s Demuth Foundation is “Ben Solowey: The Modern Impulse, 1925- 1935,” which explores the Bucks County painter’s impact on the modern art movement (see “Ben Solowey: The Thing Speaks for Itself’ by Peter Frengel and David Leopold, Summer 1990). Internationally known artist Charles Demuth (1883-1935) was inspired by his mother’s courtyard garden while he lived at his family home. The exhibition continues through Sunday, October 8 [2000]. For more information, write: Demuth Foundation, 114 East King St., Lancaster, PA 17602; telephone (717) 299-9940; or visit the Demuth Foundation website. Free.


From Friday through Sunday, August 4-6, the Erie County Historical Society and Museums will sponsor its filth annual Civil War encampment at the Battles Museum of Rural Life in Girard. Administered by the society, the Battles Museum features two furnished nineteenth-century houses, a church, and a bank building on more than one hundred acres (see
The Battles Bank: When Honesty was Collateral and Chickens Paid the Inter­est” by Sabina Shields Freeman, Winter 1989). One hundred reenactors participate in the encampment, providing opportunities for visitors to see, firsthand, military life, period attire, demonstrations of domestic work and medical practices, religious services of the day, and entertainment. For more details, write: Erie County Historical Society and Museums, 417 State St., Erie, PA 16501; telephone (814) 454-1813 or 774-3733. Admission.


Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, in Elverson, interprets the history of an early self-contained ironmaking plantation. In operation from 1771 to 1883, Hopewell Furnace is probably the best-preserved iron furnace community in the country. On Sunday, August 6 [2000], Establishment Day will celebrate the designation, in 1938, of the village as a historic site with demonstrations of traditional and household crafts, period entertainment, and guided tours. To obtain more information, write: Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, 2 Mark Bird Ln., Elver­son, PA 19520; telephone (610) 582-8773; or visit the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site website. Admission.


“At Home: The Art of Daily Life on DeLancey Place,” on view at the Rosen­bach Museum and Library, offers an unusual glimpse of the personal objects of two very private individuals, A.S. W. Rosenbach (1876-1952) and his brother Philip Rosenbach (1863-1953). Partners in a thriving business in rare books, manuscripts, art, and antiques, with shops in Philadelphia and New York, the brothers lived at Delancey Place. While a great deal is known about their business and renowned collections, little is known about the objects the Rosenbachs collected and used at home. The exhibit, which continues through Sunday, August 6 [2000], features objects the brothers used for dining, grooming, recreation, religious practices, personal adornment, and community activities. For more information, write: Rosenbach Museum and Library, 2010 DeLancey Pl., Philadelphia, PA 19103; telephone (215) 732-1600; or visit the Rosenbach Museum and Library website. Admission.


Temple University’s Professor of African American History and Literature Nilgun Anadolu Oku will present a talk entitled “Stories from the Underground Railroad” at Gettysburg National Military Park on Saturday, September 16 [2000]. From the story of Henry “Box” Brown, who shipped himself to freedom hidden in a wooden crate, to messages encoded in music for safe fugitive passage, the sagas of escaping slaves are as impressive as they are often creative. This presentation will include graphics, music, and lyrics to reveal the untold stories of the real heroes and heroines who performed the most dramatic acts of escape on their way to freedom. Additional information may be obtained by writing: Gettysburg National Military Park, 97 Taneytown Rd., Gettysburg, PA 17325; telephone (717) 334-1124; or visit the Gettysburg National Military Park website. Free.


The Lancaster County Historical Society’s popular exhibit, “Two Centuries of Caring: The Lancaster County Almshouse and Hospital, 1800-2000,” has been extended through Friday, October 20 [2000]. The exhibit celebrates two hundred years of continuous care for the county’s most disadvantaged citizens – its poor, its aged, its physically impaired, and its mentally ill – beginning with the founding of the institution known as the Poor and House of Employment in 1800. At its peak, the property consisted of two hundred and twenty-five acres, with its own roads, barns, sheds, an icehouse, quarry, distillery, and orchard. The Lancaster County Almshouse played an important role in the county’s political, commercial, and social life for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. “Two Centuries of Caring” provides an in-depth look at the medical treatment of paupers, the daily life and work of patients, and the treatment of African Americans and children. For more information, write: Lancaster County Historical Society, 230 North President Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603-3125; telephone (717) 392-4633; or visit the Lancaster County Historical Society website. Admission.


“Floating to Prosperity: Flatboats and the American Dream,” an exhibition examining the hazards faced by the first Americans as they moved westward, is on view through December 31 [2000] at the National Canal Museum in Easton. In addition to travel by horse and wagon train, the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were equally important to westward expansion. The use of these river systems predates the wagon train, serving as a mode of transportation between 1774 and 1860, when the western frontier was still an untouched wilderness. The exhibit allows visitors to explore the relationship between Pittsburgh’s development and transportation technology. Additional information is available by writing: National Canal Museum, 30 Centre Sq., Easton, PA 18042-7743; telephone (610) 559-6613; or visit the National Canal Museum website. Admission.


In conjunction with its exhibition entitled “Realignment and Revolution: The First Generation of the Republican Party,” on view through November 30 [2000], the Library Company of Philadelphia will sponsor a scholarly symposium exploring an important dimension of the character and consequence of the Grand Old Party (GOP). Speakers will present a wide and varied look at the party’s formation, growth, and meaning during the Civil War era. Participants will have an opportunity to tour the exhibit, which chronicles the tumultuous beginnings of the GOP, from the ideas and issues that led to its creation in 1854 to its maturity in 1876. For information about the exhibition or symposium, write: Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107-5698; telephone (215) 546-3181; or visit the Library Com­pany of Philadelphia website. The exhibition is open free to the public; advance registration is required for the symposium.


This year marks the millennium anniversary of the landing of Leif Erick­son and his band of Vikings in North America, and to observe the occasion, the American Swedish Historical Museum will stage a Viking encampment on Saturday, September 18 [2000]. Reenactors will demonstrate shipbuilding, cooking, and making jewelry and crafts. The museum is located in FDR Park in South Philadelphia. For more details, write: American Swedish Museum, 1900 Pattison Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19145-5901; telephone (215) 389-1776. Admission.


The Sweetwater Center for the Arts and the Sewickley Valley Historical Society have collaborated to present a landmark exhibition highlighting pieces by artists working in the region from the early nineteenth century to the present. “A Brush with History: Artists of the Sewickley Valley,” which opens the center’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebration, will be on view from Saturday, August 19, through Thursday, August 31 [2000]. To obtain more information, write: Sweet­water Center for the Arts, 200 Broad St., Sewickley, PA 15143; telephone (412) 741-4405 or 741-5315. Free.