PHMC Highlights

Art of the State 2016 More than 500 guests visited The State Museum of Pennsylvania on June 26 to attend the opening of the 49th annual Art of the State. The juried exhibition, cosponsored by The State Museum and the nonprofit Jump Street, with WITF as a media sponsor, showcases 122 pieces from artists around the state. At the opening, 20 artists received awards in five categories: craft,...
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Coal Patch, Take Two: The Preservation of Eckley Miners’ Village

“A ghost town surrounded by strip mines.” That was how Eckley was described in the 1960s, a far cry from its heyday in the late 1800s when the coal-mining “patch town” had boasted a population of 1,500. At Eckley’s peak, more than 350 men and boys were engaged in mining nearly 144,000 tons of anthracite coal a year from local seams. By the 1960s, however, mining...
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Fayette at the Crossroads

Fayette County has always been at the crossroads, both literally and figuratively, its destiny shaped by its location, the incredible riches of its natural resources and the vi­tality of a people descended from al­most every nation of Europe. It has a son of dual personality, geo­graphically divided between mountains and lowlands, historically divided into two almost equal eras of economic...
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Columbia County is Diversity

From the time of the earliest settlements during the Revolu­tionary War era to the present day, Columbia County has been three sepa­rate neighborhoods-the southern re­gion (Catawissa and Centralia); the northern area (Benton and Millville) and the north bank of the Susquehanna River (Bloomsburg and Berwick). They are distinguishable by varied physical environments, ethnic origins and social...
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A Culture of Sharing: Family and Community in Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Region, 1900-1940

Prior to the establishment of widespread governmental assis­tance programs such as social se­curity and various other forms of social services, the working people of industri­al America devised their own means of survival and support. Drawing on the resources of family members and neigh­bors, ordinary individuals created tight­ly-knit communities in which limited in­comes, food and emotions were...
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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...
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Dauphin County: Chocolates, Coal, and a Capital

Dauphin County celebrates its two hundredth anniver­sary this year. The events and themes that are the history of the county reflect the experience of Pennsylvania and the United States. Dauphin County has never been a homogeneous commu­nity; indeed, it is difficult to consider it as a single commu­nity. From the beginning it has comprised individuals of diverse ethnic, national and religious...
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A Most Deadly Business

During the early morning hours of December 5, 1885, John Lynot labored hundreds of feet underground in the stale air of his “breast,” a black chamber in the coal seam the size of a small room, preparing an explosive charge. An anthracite miner for the Lehigh & Wilkes-Barre Coal Company, Lynot earned eighty-five cents for each two ton mine car he filled. Finding the weakest point...
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Celebrating a Century and a Half: The Geologic Survey

The Pennsylvania Geo­logical Survey, offi­cially known today as the Bureau of Topo­graphic and Geologic Survey, and one of the bureaus of the Department of Environmental Resources, is one of only a very few of the Common­wealth’s executive branch agencies whose history can be traced to the first half of the nineteenth century. Created in 1836, the survey spawned three subsequent geologic...
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Historical Sketch of Greene County

Greene County lies in the southwestern corner of the state. Its many hills, the distinguishing feature of the countryside, grow more pronounced as one travels from the eastern to the western areas. The old Washington Waynes­burg Railroad, traveling through the hills, was famous for its 178 sharp turns, each of which jolted the passengers. There were some who took the trip just for the roller...
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