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

“The Little Engine That Did” is the theme of this year’s holiday program at the Toy Train Museum of the Train Collectors Association. The display is open through December 31 [1985]. More informa­tion is available by writing: Train Collectors Association, P.O. Box 248, Paradise Lane, Strasburg, PA 17579; or by telephoning (717) 687-8976.


A holiday open house will be held by the Arts and Crafts Guild of the Middletown Area Historical Society on Satur­day, December 7 [1985], at the Old Fort, an eighteenth century log structure. Admission is free. Additional details may be obtained by writing: Middle­town Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 249, Middletown, PA 17057; or by telephoning (717) 944-0232.


The Chadds Ford Histori­cal Society’s two colonial period restorations – the John Chadd House, circa 1725, and the Barns-Brinton House, built 1714 – will host open houses on Sunday, December 8 [1985]. For further information, write: Chadds Ford Historical Society, P.O. Box 27, Chadds Ford, PA 19317; or telephone (215) 388-7376.


“Gen. George Washington” will once again cross the Delaware River at Washington Crossing Historic Park on Christmas Day, between Noon and 2:30 P.M. On February 22, 1986, the historic site will observe Washington’s two hundred and fifty-fourth birth­day with a special party featuring eighteenth century music and dancing. For additional details regarding both events, write: Washing­ton Crossing Foundation, P.O. Box 1976, Washington Cross­ing, PA 18977; or telephone (215) 493-6577.


Candlelight tours will be just one of the special public programs at the Edgar Allan Poe House the week of January 19, 1986, to mark the birthday of the author who attained his greatest success as an editor and critic during the six years he lived in Philadel­phia. The Poe residence is located at Seventh and Spring Garden Streets. Requests for more information may be sent to: Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, Independence National Historical Park, 311-313 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 597-8780.


A “Children’s Victorian Christmas Party” will be hosted by Historic Bethlehem, Inc., at the 1761 Tannery located in the city’s historic eighteenth century industrial area on Saturday, December 8 [1985]. For additional information regarding reservations, write: Historic Bethlehem, Inc., 501 Main St., Bethlehem, PA 18018.


A candlelight holiday program, “Christmas Classics,” will be held at Old Economy Village, Ambridge, on Friday and Saturday, December 13-14 [1985]. Buildings of the nineteenth century village will be festooned with greens and illuminated by candles. For more information, write: Old Economy Village, Fourteenth and Church Sts., Ambridge, PA 15003; or telephone (412) 266-1803.


“The Comet is Coming” is an exciting planetarium show at the Franklin Institute through February 12, 1986. The show explores the nature of comets in general and the past sightings of Halley’s Comet in particular. For more details, write: Franklin Insti­tute, Twentieth and the Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103.


Drawn from local Lehigh Valley collections, examples of eighteenth and nineteenth century fraktur – colorful documents celebrating births and marriages of Pennsyl­vania’s early German inhabit­ants – will remain on exhibit through January 26, 1986, at the Allentown Art Museum. More information regarding visiting hours is available by writing: Allentown Art Museum, Fifth and Court Sts., P.O. Box 117, Allentown, PA 18105; or by telephoning (215) 432-4333. Admission is free.


Through January 6, 1986, an exhibit of photographs commissioned by the Nation­alities Service Center repre­senting Philadelphia’s diverse ethnic communities will be on view at The Free Library of Philadelphia. “Beyond the Golden Door: Today’s Refugees” is located in the gallery of the central library. For more information, write: The Free Library of Philadel­phia, Logan Circle, Nineteenth and Vine Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19103; or telephone (215) 686-5425.


Exhibits of antique minia­tures and boxes are on view at Woodford Mansion in Fairmount Park. The minia­tures include paintings on ivory, bone and paper; the boxes, many of which are English and Continental, are made of wood, silver, tortoise shell, ivory and porcelain. Visiting hours are available by writing: Woodford Mansion, East Fairmount Park, Thirty­Third and Dauphin Sts., Phila­delphia, PA 19107; or by telephoning (215) 525-3532. The displays are permanent installations.


“A Brandywine Christ­mas,” a popular exhibit featur­ing antique dolls and toys, decorated trees and a model railroad filling an entire gallery will be open to the public through January 5, 1986, at the Brandywine River Museum. For visiting hours and directions, write: Brandy­wine River Museum, Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA 19317; or telephone (215) 388-7601.


As part of the annual commemoration of George Washington and the Continental Army’s march into winter encampment at Valley Forge, the Valley Forge National Historical Park will host a re­created military camp, candle­light tours and eighteenth century music and refresh­ments on Thursday, December 19 [1985]. Information may be requested by writing: Valley Forge National Historical Park, P.O. Box 953, Valley Forge, PA 19481-0953; or by telephoning (215) 783-1066.


Films exploring various topics will be shown every weekend during the months of January, February and March, 1986, as part of the winter film festival staged annually by the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. For titles and times, write: Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS, P.O. Box 247, Cresson, PA 16630; or telephone (814) 886-8176. Admission is free.


With its museum lighted entirely by candles, the Harmonist Historic and Memorial Association will present its annual holiday open house on Sunday, December 8 [1985]. Tour guides will be costumed and Christmas trees will be thematically decorated. Admission is free. For more information, write: Harmonist Historic and Memorial Association, Main and Mercer Sts., Harmony, PA 16037; or telephone (412) 452-7341.


“Unknown Territory: Photographs by Ray K. Metzker, 1957-1983,” the first major retrospective to celebrate the work of the innovative Philadelphian, is on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through January 5, 1986. Additional information may be obtained by writing: Philadelphia Museum of Art, P.O. Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646; or by telephoning (215) 787-5431.


Fort Necessity National Battlefield’s Mount Washing­ton Tavern, built about 1827 as a stagecoach stop on the historic National Road, will be decorated and open for holiday tours the weekends of December 7-8 [1985] and December 14-15 [1985]. National Park Service (NPS) staff and volunteers will be costumed in early nineteenth century dress. For more details, write: Mount Washington Tavern, National Park Service, Box 528, R.D. 2, Farmington, PA l5437; or telephone (412) 329-5512.


A walking tour of restored Marietta, Lancaster County, residences decorated and candlelit for the season, will be conducted through the community’s historic district on Sunday, December 1 [1985]. For further information, write: Marietta Restoration Associ­ates, P.O. Box 3, Marietta, PA 17547.


As part of this year’s holiday festivities, candlelight tours will be conducted through the decorated rooms of Wheatland, Pres. James Buchanan’s Lancaster residence, from Wednesday through Sunday, December 4-8 [1985]. For more information, write: Wheatland, 1120 Marietta Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603; or telephone (717) 392-8721.


The fourth annual Christ­mas at Fort Hunter, the gracious nineteenth century mansion north of Harrisburg, will be offered December 1-22 [1985]. The mansion will be decorated appropriately for the holiday season and special events – including a “Victorian Tea” on Sunday, December 8 [1985] – will be conducted. More details are available by writing: Fort Hunter Mansion, 5300 North Front St., Harrisburg, PA 17110; or by telephoning (717) 599-5751.


Each room of the LeMoyne House-Museum – once the residence of Dr. Francis Julius LeMoyne, builder of the nation’s first crematory – will be decorated for Christmas in Victorian era style and will be open for candlelight tours the weekend of December 12-15 [1985]. For more information, write: LeMoyne House-Museum, 49 East Maiden St., Washington, PA 15301; or telephone (412) 225-6740. The house-museum is administered by the Washington County Historical Society.


The Slifer House Museum, Lewisburg, will open its doors for the annual “Victorian Christmas Soiree” on Friday and Saturday, December 6-7 [1985]. The annual open house will be held Sunday, December 8. Additional information is available by writing: Slifer House Museum, Lewisburg United Methodist Homes, Lewisburg, PA 17837; or by telephoning (717) 524-2217.


“Sleigh Bells Ring,” an exhibit of antique sleighs and bells made in York County, opens at the Historical Society of York on Monday, December 9 [1985], and continues through Saturday, January 4, 1986. Borrowed from local collections and seldomly displayed, the objects represent a vital part of the county’s industrial heritage. For more informa­tion, write: Historical Society of York County, 250 East Market St., York, PA 17403; or telephone (717) 848-1587.


“Nineteenth Century Santas and Sleighs” will be on view at the Perelman Antique Toy Museum in Philadelphia during the month of Decem­ber [1985]. The museum’s large collections include thousands of early American toys, mechanical and still banks, dolls, trains, tin and cast iron toys, games and circus figures. To obtain additional informa­tion write: Perelman Antique Toy Museum, 270 South Second St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 922-1070.


Paintings by William Wallace Gilchrist, Jr., (1879-1926), a Philadelphia­-born artist whose impression­istic paintings featured Ameri­can domestic settings and scenes from everyday life, will be on view at the Woodmere Art Museum from November 10 [1985] through January 5, 1985. For additional information , write: Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118; or telephone (215) 247-0476. Admission is free.


The Carnegie-Mellon University Art Gallery, Pitts­burgh, will host a group show of five regional artists entitled “Five Points of View in Pennsylvania” from January 4 through February 2, 1986. For information regarding this and other exhibits, write: Carne­gie-Mellon University Art Gallery, 407 South Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213; or telephone (412) 683-7600.


January 2, 1986, marks the opening of a long-term exhibit of “American Furniture in the Classical Style” at the Hershey Museum of American Life. Pieces to be displayed repre­sent the period from 1790 to 1850 and include elaborately inlaid chests, ornately carved settees and beautifully decorated chairs, all of which reflect the elegance, refine­ment and sophistication of the period. To obtain more details, write: Hershey Museum of American Life, P.O. Box 170, Hershey, PA 17033; or telephone (717) 534-3439.


A slide lecture, “Maintain­ing Ethnic Consciousness: Sociological Factors” will be given by Theodore L. Zawis­towski at the Lackawanna Historical Society, Scranton, on Wednesday, February 19, 1986, at 8 P.M. Additional information may be obtained by writing: Lackawanna Historical Society, 232 Monroe Ave., Scranton, PA 18510; or by telephoning (717) 344-3841.


For this year’s holiday season, the Atwater Kent Museum – The History Museum of Philadelphia is showing, through January 11, 1986, a special showcase exhibit entitled “Winter Fun: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Artifacts of Winter Recreation.” A public lecture, “‘Tis the Season: Christmas in America, 1600-1900,” will be offered Wednesday, December 11, at 7:30 P.M. in the museum’s main gallery. For additional information, write: Atwater Kent Museum – The History Museum of Philadel­phia, 15 South Seventh St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 922-3031.


Featuring fashion designs by famous Philadelphia designers, “Philadelphia Presents: A Look at the Apparel Industry” will be on view at the Goldie Paley Design Center through December 21 [1985]. More informa­tion regarding visiting hours and research facilities is avail­able by writing: Goldie Paley Design Center, Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, 4200 Henry Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144; or by telephoning (215) 951-2859.


Powerful pen and ink drawings by Austrian artist Anton Christian will be exhib­ited at the Philadelphia Art Alliance from January 24 through March 1, 1986. For more information, write: Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 South Eighteenth St., Phila­delphia, PA 19103.