Shorts

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

The 32nd annual reenact­ment of George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware will be held Christmas Day [1984], begin­ning at noon, at the Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County. The ceremony celebrates the crossing of the Delaware by the American forces which led to the vic­tory at the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1777. The American victory turned the tide of the war in favor of the colonies. Admission is free. For further information, write: Washington Crossing Historic Park, P.O. Box 1976, Wash­ington Crossing, PA 18977; or telephone (215) 493-6577.

 

“The German-American Experience: Families Remem­ber” is on exhibit until January 7, 1985, at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Phila­delphia. Histories and shared memories of German-American families are delineated with hundreds of photographs, documents, artifacts and objects which illustrate how they adapted to Life in America while retaining their precious ethnic heritage. One family 1s traced from Pomerania to a farm in Wisconsin where members remained for six generations, preserving their memories, their records and the material evidence of their evolving lifestyle. The history of Philadelphia’s German-American community is recounted with photo­graphs and objects of local families that were gathered with the assistance of the Pennsylvania German Society. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. There is no admission charge. To obtain additional information, write: The Balch institute for Ethnic Studies, 18 South Seventh St., Philadel­phia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 925-8090.

 

The Harmonie Associates will offer “An Old Fashioned Christmas” at Old Economy Village, Ambridge, beginning Friday, December 14 [1984], and continuing through December 30 [1984]. The annual candlelight tour will be given Friday and Saturday, December 14-15 [1984]. The theme of this year’s tour is “A Festival of Songs,” and natural decorations and greens will decorate the village’s historic structures. Refresh­ments and baked goods will be available. The village is located eighteen miles west of Pittsburgh on state route 65. Additional information regard­ing holiday activities, as well as regular tours and visiting hours, may be obtained by writing: Harmonie Associ­ates, Old Economy Village, Fourteenth and Church Sts., Ambridge, PA 15003; or by telephoning (412) 266-1803.

 

The first floor rooms of the Packwood House Museum in Lewisburg will be transformed into vignettes of Christmas mornings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in an unusual exhibit entitled “Antique Toys for Girls and Boys: Private Collections of Children’s Christmas Past.” Each of the museum’s eight rooms will focus on a type of toy commonly found beneath a tree from a long ago Christ­mas Day. Trains, drums, tops, sleds and ice-skates, toy soldiers, dolls and doll furni­ture, play kitchens and tea party toys will be arranged in settings reminiscent of by-gone holidays. “Antique Toys for Girls and Boys” will be on view from December 1 [1984] through January 13, 1985; admission is charged. The museum shop will feature reproduc­tions of favorite antique toys throughout the holiday sea­son. Additional information is available by writing: Pack­wood House Museum, 15 North Water St., Lewisburg, PA 17837; or by telephoning (717) 524-0323.

 

Architectural stained glass is the topic of the annual associates symposium to be held by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia on Saturday, December 1 [1984]. Keynote speaker for the symposium, which begins at 9 A.M., is Dr. Paul F. Norton, University of Massachusetts professor, who will speak on the stained glass of Boston’s Trinity Church. Other topics include Ameri­can medieval designs in stained glass, Louis Comfort Tiffany and his competitors, the Phila­delphia stained glass com­munity, and the preservation and restoration of leaded glass windows. Admission will be by advance registration only. Additional agenda infor­mation is available by writing: The Athenaeum, 219 South Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or by telephoning (215) 925-2688.

 

A “living history” encamp­ment by continental soldiers at Valley Forge National Historical Park will officially commemorate the 207th anniversary of the arrival of Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army at the site on December 19, 1777. The event will be held from 6 to 9 P.M. in the park’s visitor center. There will be no admission fee. For further infor­mation, write: Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge, PA 19141; or tele­phone (215) 783-7700. The park is located at the junction of state routes 23 and 363.

 

During the month of December [1984], a special exhibit en­titled “Women in the Bible” will be on view at the La Salle University Art Museum, 20th and Olney Avenue, Phila­delphia. Of special interest is a selection of twenty works – including pastels, water­colors and charcoal sketches­ – by Pennsylvania artist Violet Oakley, noted for her murals in the State Capitol. On exhibit are sketches by Oakley for murals executed for the First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, Great Women of the Bible. This work, com­pleted between 1945 and 1949, represents one of the artist’s last major commissions. The university’s art museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 A.M. to 4 P.M.; Sunday, 2 to 4 P.M. Admission is free. Telephone (215) 951-1221 for additional infor­mation and holiday hours.

 

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation of Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, is currently show­ing a selection of floral watercolors by artist Lotte Gunthart. Best known for her watercolors of roses, Gunthart has lent the Hunt Institute forty recent paintings of flowers. She is a resident of Regens­berg near Zurich, Switzerland. The show, which runs through February 28, 1985, is accom­panied by a catalog containing color illustrations, repro­ductions of artworks and a biography of the artist. The Institute is located in the penthouse of the Hunt Library on the university campus in Pittsburgh’s Oakland section. Visiting hours are Monday through Friday, 9 A.M. to noon, and from 1 to 5 P.M. Tele­phone (412) 578-2434 for more information.

 

More than thirty-five vintage teddy bears comprise The State Museum of Pennsyl­vania’s holiday exhibit, “All About Bears,” on view through January 13, 1985. The display leads visitors to discover the origin and evolution of the stuffed toy since its creation eighty years ago. Sunday, December 16, has been set aside for “Teddy’s Holiday Tea,” an afternoon party during which visitors and their teddy bears compete for prizes, share tea and bear-shaped cookies, and meet famous guest bears. The tea will be hosted from noon to 4 P.M. The State Museum of Pennsylvania is located at Third and North Streets, Harrisburg, just north of the State Capitol. Admission to the museum is free. Telephone (717) 787-4978 for additional information.

 

The Library Company of Philadelphia is currently show­ing a selection of sixty rare books and prints to honor Edwin Wolf II, the institution’s librarian who is retiring this year. The exhibit showcases items from the Library Com­pany’s extensive holdings that were discovered, enhanced or particularly admired by Wolf. He has been credited with strengthening the many collections during his thirty years association with the Library Company, especially in the areas of Afro-Americana, women’s history, the history of science and Pennsylvania history. The exhibition will remain on view through January 15, 1985. Admission is free. The Library Company­ – located in center-city, four blocks south of City Hall – is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 A.M. to 4:45 P.M. For more information, write: Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107; or telephone (215) 546-3181.

 

The historic Thomas L. Kane Chapel, Kane, McKean County, is open daily, fol­lowing extensive restoration sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Born in Philadelphia in 1822, Kane is best re­membered as the foresighted developer who encouraged the oil, coal and lumber indus­tries in northwestern Pennsyl­vania. Until his death in 1883, he remained a tireless defender of the Mormons and a true friend to founder Brigham Young. A film por­traying Kane’s association with the Mormons, as well as Kane family memorabilia, are part of the tour. More infor­mation and traveling directions are available by writing: Thomas L. Kane Memorial Chapel, 30 Chestnut St., Kane, PA 16735; or by telephoning (814) 837-9729.

 

“What’s Cooking? Science in the Kitchen” will be offered by Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute Science Museum from February 16 through March 10, 1985. The unusual presen­tation explores the physics of household appliances, the chemistry of cooking and several rather extraordinary kitchen utensils. Field trips to local commercial food dis­tributors and appearances by local chefs will also be featured. There is an admission fee. For further information, includ­ing times and dates, write: Franklin Institute Science Museum, 20th and the Park­way, Philadelphia, PA 19103; or telephone (215) 448-1152.

 

Tickets are now available for the annual celebration of George Washington’s birth­day at Washington Crossing Historic Park on February 22, 1985. The birthday party celebrating Washington’s 253rd birthday features eigh­teenth century foods, drinks, dances, music and a huge birth­day cake capped by 253 candles. The birthday party will be held from 5 to 8 P.M. in the visitors center. For additional information, write: Washington Crossing Foun­dation, P.O. Box 1976, Washing­ton Crossing, PA 18977; or telephone (215) 493-6577.

 

Lewisburg’s Slifer House Museum, a magnificent twenty room mansion designed by noted American architect Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia, will open its doors to visitors for special Christmas festivities the weekend of December 7-9 [1984]. On Friday and Saturday, beginning at 8 P.M., a Victorian Christmas Soiree, featuring authentic period decorations and refreshments, will be hosted in the structure’s main rooms. The annual holiday house tour will be conducted on Sunday, from 1 to 4 P.M. For additional information, write: Slifer House Museum, Lewisburg United Methodist Home, Lewisburg, PA 17837; or telephone (717) 524-2241. The house is open during weekends between May and September.

 

The 239th birthday of patriot Thaddeus Kosciuszko will be celebrated with a special ceremony on Monday, February 4 [1985], at the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Third and Pine Streets, Phila­delphia. Sponsored by the National Park Service, adminis­trator of the memorial, the program commemorates the contributions the Polish military engineer made to the American side during the Revolutionary War. Kosciuszko saved Philadelphia from enemy forces, built West Point and was largely responsible for the United States’ victory at the Battle of Saratoga. The memorial museum features a restored room used by Kosciuszko and an audio-visual program portraying his heroic feats. The memorial was dedicated to his honor nine years ago. To obtain more information concerning tours and visiting hours, write: Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, National Park Service, 301 Pine St., Phila­delphia, PA 19103; or telephone (215) 597-8189.

 

The Harmonist Historic and Memorial Association will host the annual Christmas Open House at the Harmony Museum in Harmony, Butler County, on Sunday, Decem­ber 9 [1984]. Open house hours at the museum, located at Main and Mercer Streets, are 2 to 8 P.M. In addition to museum visitation, tours of the Ziegler Log House will also be offered. There is no admission charge. For more information and traveling directions, telephone (412) 452-7341. Harmony is located about twenty-eight miles north of Pittsburgh.

 

Seven historic houses in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park will be decorated with greenery reminiscent of the eighteenth century Christmas for the annual holiday tours the weekend of December 1-2 [1984]. Area garden clubs create decorations using natural mate­rials to reflect the history and period of each mansion. Lemons, for example, play an important role in the decora­tion of Lemon Hill which was built in 1770. Seashells are used in the decorations at Mt. Pleasant, once the home of a sea captain. Guided tours will be given each day from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Tickets may be purchased at any of the featured man­sions, the city’s Visitors Center at Sixteenth Street and Kennedy Boulevard, or at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For more information, telephone (215) 787-5449.

 

Using the furniture and French porcelain of the Simon Cameron family, the Histori­cal Society of Dauphin County will create a mid-nineteenth century Christmas celebration at the Harrisburg mansion overlooking the Susquehanna River. “Yuletide With the Camerons” opens December 7 [1984]. The exhibition highlights the wedding of the Camerons’ daughter, Virginia, which took place in the mansion on December 27, 1866. The wedding will be depicted by Virginia Cameron’s invita­tions, a display of nineteenth century gowns and refresh­ments described by local news­papers that reported the event. The exhibit will also explore etiquette and man­ners of the era. Christmas trees decorated with Cameron-day ornaments will create the holiday atmosphere. Also on display will be a wide variety of Cameron family memora­bilia, including parasols, hats, fans, dolls, embroidery work, Civil War uniforms and swords, and photographs. The Cameron Mansion – also known as the John Harris Mansion – is located at 219 South Front St., Harrisburg. Telephone (717) 233-3462 for information concerning special programs to be held in con­junction with the exhibition. “Yuletide With the Camerons” continues through January 11, 1985.

 

Christmas at the Eisenhower Farm is the theme of the annual display at the Eisen­hower National Historic Site at Gettysburg. The com­fortable farmhouse of the thirty­-fourth United States president will be decorated as the Eisenhower family did during the holiday season. The decorated farmhouse will be open for special tours from December 15 [1984] through Decem­ber 30 [1984]. Tour hours are Wednes­day through Sunday, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Tickets may be obtained at the Eisenhower Information Center, located in the lower level of the Gettys­burg National Military Park Visitor Center, Taneytown Rd., Gettysburg.