An Epic in the Making

“It’s exciting. It’s moving. It’s surprising. It’s suspenseful It’s filled with men who became heroes, and women who became legends. It’s an epic 300 years in the making. It’s Pennsylvania history. Experience it. It’s too good to miss.”   Motivation is tough to describe, even tougher to define. It’s the stuff acting is made...
read more

Aeronauts to Aviators: Pennsylvanians and Flight, 1784-1950

Millions of us have used the airplane to earn a living, to travel from place to place or simply to amuse ourselves. Among twentieth-century innovations, the airplane has most dramatically changed the way we think about time and distance; people now consider transcontinental or transoceanic journeys in terms of hours rather than days or weeks. The airplane is a familiar technology. Yet historians...
read more

The Last Frontier: Venango County Indians, Oil, Ghost Towns

Venango County. Its name is derivation of a the Seneca Indian word earliest for explorers “French and Creek.” Its earliest explorers and settlers were the French, shortly followed by the English. At one time, the territory was claimed simultaneously by France, and the colonies of Virginia and Pennsyl­vania. But Venango County’s rich history bespeaks vigorous pioneering a spirit...
read more

Preserving Pieces of Pennsylvania’s Past: An Inside Look at the Building of the Commonwealth’s Collections

Associations between butterflies and buttons, Conestoga wagons and cannon, sculpture and arrowheads, or fossils and founder William Penn’s original Charter may seem tenuous, even obscure and, perhaps, nonsensical. But a relationship does exist: they are among the one and a half million objects and thirty thousand cubic feet of manuscripts, records, maps and photographs in the custody and...
read more

Montgomery County: Cultural Microcosm of the Commonwealth

The third most populous county in Pennsylvania, with ap­proximately 480 square miles of rolling hills criss-crossed by rivers, streams and superhighways, Montgom­ery County is a microcosm of the Com­monwealth, a reflection of its cultural development. Pan of Philadelphia County until 1784, Montgomery Coun­ty served as a sanctuary for numerous ethnic and religious groups seeking the freedom...
read more

Bradford County: Sanctuary in the Meadows

It seemed as implausible as it was urgent: that French aristo­crats, the select inner circle closest to King Louis XVI, and perhaps even Marie Antionette herself, would flee the conti­nent and take refuge in the immense and isolated wilderness of what is now Bradford County. Implausible or not, a band of brave French exiles – the crown’s endangered courtiers and office­holders,...
read more

Bedford County: From Indian Trails to Tourist Resorts

In the summer of 1728, thirteen brave pioneers made their way north through the wilderness from Virginia. The trail brought these Virginians into the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, where they set­tled, only returning to Virginia to bring their families north. The area was rich with game and several trapped along the streams. One built a gristmill and another a trading post. These members...
read more

A Colonial Christmas

The December holidays are ideal focuses for special exhibitions and activities at museums, historic sites, villages and history-oriented visitors attrac­tions throughout Pennsyl­vania. Eighteenth century Christmas observances are popularly re-created and inter­preted because many settle­ments on the East Coast were established prior to 1800. By interpreting this seasonal living history program,...
read more

Courting the Constitution

If the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were to awaken this sum­mer in Independence Hall from two centuries of sleep, they would undoubtedly enjoy an exciting session. George Washington as president of the convention, after persuading Ben Franklin to stop tinkering with his electric table light, would call the Convention to order. Upon learning that the government devised by them had...
read more

Cameron County: Where Legends are Legion

Tucked high away in Pennsylvania’s once foreboding northern tier, the little county called Cameron was a segment of the vast wilderness known for many years as the Com­monwealth’s last frontier. In fact, the county was not for­mally established until 1860, the sixty-sixth of the sixty­-seven counties apportioned and organized by the state legislature. Actual settlement of Ca­meron...
read more