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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Head to Womelsdorf for a day of Pennsylvania history

The Conrad Weiser Homestead in Womelsdorf,  Pa  hosts an 18th Century Interpretive Sunday, Aug. 5 from  noon to 4 p.m.
Historic Guided tours start hourly from  noon to 3 p.m.
Visitors will have the opportunity to dialogue with re-enactors about historical context, clothing and equipment of mid 18th century in Berks County. Also local Native American Darius Puff will be in Native dress, display trade goods and be available to discuss the French & Indian War period from the Native American historical perspective.
This program is available anytime from 12 noon to 4 PM. The public is invited take advantage of this special program and the beautiful Olmsted-designed Park.
The Interpretive Sunday programs are free and open to the public and are made possible by the Friends of Conrad Weiser Homestead.
Conrad Weiser Homestead
28 Weiser Lane
Call (610) 589-2934

Monday, June 25, 2012

Artifacts trace the American presidency and elections from past to present

Philadelphia, – From George Washington’s diary to Bill Clinton’s saxophone, new artifacts at the National Constitution Center provide a unique glimpse into the lives of the nation’s presidents.  Visitors   will experience firsthand the evolution of the voting process through a display of historic voting machines, including a wooden ballot box from the 1800s and a Palm Beach County voting booth from the controversial 2000 election.  The assortment of 30 artifacts from collections around the country will be on display in the Center’s main exhibition, The Story of We the People, beginning June 29.  The artifacts will remain on display until the end of the year. 
Highlights of the presidential artifact collection include:
George Washington’s Personal Pocket Diary, 1796
George Washington kept this pocket diary during the final year of his presidency.  In it, he recorded temperature, wind direction, and general observations on the weather, revealing his continued interests as a farmer even while serving in public office. Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society.
Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address, 1801
In this printed copy of his speech, the new president calls for peace between the political parties after a bitter campaign.  Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration marked the first change of power from one party to another.  Courtesy of a Private Lender.
William Henry Harrison Campaign Flag, ca. 1840
This flag shows William Henry Harrison standing confidently in front of a log cabin.  As the first presidential candidate to actively campaign for office, Harrison used log cabins and hard cider to promote himself as a common man.  Courtesy of the Chester County Historical Society.
Franklin Roosevelt’s Fedora, ca. 1937
Jaunty fedoras became one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s trademarks as president.  President Roosevelt purchased this fedora while in office.  National Constitution Center Collection.
“I Like Ike” Stockings, ca. 1952
One of the catchiest campaign slogans of all-time, “I Like Ike” captured the positive feelings toward Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower.  The phrase appeared everywhere during the 1952 presidential campaign – even on women’s stockings.  Courtesy of the Chester County Historical Society.
Ronald Reagan’s Jellybean Jar, 1980s
Ronald Reagan began eating jellybeans in the 1960s to help quit smoking.  During his presidency, a crystal jar of Jelly Belly jellybeans was kept in the Oval Office and passed around during Cabinet meetings. Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
Bill Clinton’s Tenor Saxophone, 1994
The saxophone is a lasting part of President Bill Clinton’s public image.  This instrument was played by Clinton in the Oval Office during his first term.  Courtesy of the National Music Museum.
Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” Speech, 2008
Then-Senator Barack Obama’s speech on race at the National Constitution Center was considered a pivotal moment of the 2008 campaign.  This signed original copy was used by Obama  when he delivered the speech from the Center’s F.M. Kirby Auditorium on March 18, 2008.  National Constitution Center Collection.
Also on display are several impeachment items, including:
Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial Ticket, 1868
This ticket admitted spectators into the Senate gallery for America’s first presidential impeachment trial.  President Andrew Johnson was acquitted by a single vote on May 26, 1868.  Courtesy of North Carolina History Museum.
Gerald Ford’s Pardon of Richard Nixon, 1974
This ceremonial copy of impeached president Richard Nixon’s pardon was one of many signed by Gerald Ford in 1974.  In the months following the pardon, President Ford gave these copies as souvenirs to visiting dignitaries and heads of state. 
On loan from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
In addition, visitors can explore firsthand how ballots and voting systems have changed over the years as a response to political, social, and technological change.  Voting artifacts include:
Circular Wooden Ballot Box, early 1800s
This wooden ballot box was designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas Ustick Walter.  Beads or pebbles called “tallies” were dropped into numbered holes, each assigned to a different candidate.  The drawers were opened to count the results.  Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society.
Metal Voting Box, early 1900s
This simple, metal ballot box was used in Northampton Township, Pennsylvania.  Voters placed paper ballots in an open slot, which was padlocked until they were ready to be tallied.  Courtesy of the Mercer Museum.
Gear-and-Lever Demo Voting Machine, early to mid-1900s 
Models like this help voters become familiar with new technology before entering the voting booth.  This model is for a gear-and-lever voting machine.  First introduced in 1892, it became the most widely used type of voting machine throughout most of the 1900s.  Courtesy of the Mercer Museum.
Punch Card Voting Machine, 2000
This voting machine was used in Palm Beach County, Florida during the controversial 2000 presidential election.  The punch card system with its confusing “butterfly ballots” led to a dispute over Florida’s decisive electoral votes.  National Constitution Center Collection.
The National Constitution Center is at 525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia
  For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit

Information submitted by The National Constitution Center 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Three Pennsylvania State Parks to Host ‘Get Outdoors Day’ Events

Harrisburg – Three state parks across Pennsylvania have been selected to host a series of special events on Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, in a nationwide Get Outdoors Day celebration, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan said today.
“This fourth annual Get Outdoors Day celebration gives our Bureau of State Parks a chance to showcase what is offered across the state,” Allan said. “Pennsylvanians are urged to enjoy our 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forestland.”
Governor Tom Corbett again gave the effort strong momentum when he joined other governors, a consortium of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations, and the recreation industry in proclaiming June as Great Outdoors Month. 
“These upcoming special days are geared to first-time visitors to our parks,” Allan said. “DCNR encourages everyone to visit their area state parks and state forestlands and see what they have been missing.”
Daylong, special Get Outdoors activities are planned at the following state parks:
  • Saturday, June 9: Parker Dam, Clearfield County, and Moraine, Butler County;
  • Sunday, June 10: Kings Gap Environmental Education and Training Center, Cumberland County.
All three state parks are reinforcing the work of the American Recreation Coalition, an extensive network of outdoors-oriented, governmental agencies, conservation groups, and related businesses, committed to bucking a very disturbing trend – and one that was highlighted by Corbett in his proclamation:
“Great Outdoors Month is a significant opportunity to help reconnect our children to nature and reverse the troubling nationwide trends of children spending half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago,” Corbett’s proclamation said. “Outdoor recreation is vital to the economy of the Commonwealth, and the health and well-being of its residents.”
Kayaking, birds-of-prey exhibits, hiking and biking, and special tips for first-time campers are a few of the “Get Outdoors Day” activities planned at the three state parks. In addition to these three parks, many others across the state will be offering recreation programs this weekend.
For event details, or to find nearby park programs, visit (Select Get Outdoors PA); or

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jim Thorpe rolls out the red carpet with holiday spirit

Step back in time during Jim Thorpe’s Olde Time Christmas Festival Dec. 2-4, 10-11 and 17-18, where the town rolls out the red carpet for visitors with an extra dose of holiday spirit.
The celebration kicks off on Friday evening, Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m. with the Olde Time Christmas Parade, featuring a live Nativity, choir, Dickens’ characters, a horse drawn carriage, the Jim Thorpe Marching Band, singing and dancing youth groups, not to mention the Jolly Old Elf himself.
The parade starts at the Immaculate Conception Church, 180 West Broadway and travels down Broadway to the Josiah White Park at the train station. A tree lighting ceremony will follow the parade at 6 p.m. in the park.
Throughout the Olde Time Christmas festival, goers will enjoy train rides with Santa, strolling carolers, the town decked out in Victorian holiday style, train displays, a mug walk, holiday plays and shows, concerts at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, and shopping Jim Thorpe’s unique shops for that perfect gift.
For more information, visit

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Einstein’s Brain Goes on Display at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum

46 Microscope Slides Become Part of Permanent Collections

The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia is known
throughout for its unique collections of medical history; from antiquated medical tools and wax instructional models, to human specimens preserved in fluids.
The museum introduced today (Nov. 17) its newest item from America’s medical past; 46 microscope slides, each containing slices from the brain of Albert Einstein, PhD.
The slides were prepared in 1955 in the pathology lab of Dr. William Ehrich, Chief of Pathology at the Philadelphia General Hospital and the Graduate School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Five sets of slides were prepared in the lab, one set was given to Dr. Ehrich by Thomas Harvey, MD, the physician who performed the post-mortem exam on Einstein at Princeton Hospital.
After Dr. Ehrich died in 1967, his widow gave them to Allen Steinberg, MD. Dr. Steinberg gave them to Lucy Rorke-Adams, MD, Senior Neuropathologist, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Clinical Professor of Pathology, Neurology and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, and a longtime Fellow of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
“I think the time has come to turn them over to the College and the Mütter Museum as they are a part of medical history,” said Dr. Rorke-Adams, who is also a trustee of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. “The slides were prepared by a very skilled technician named Mrs. Marthe Keller. Each slide has tissue embedded in celloidin and cut at 50 micra. They are stained with Nissl and Weigert stains. No one makes preparations like this anymore.”
“We were very excited to learn of this new donation,” said Robert Hicks, PhD, Director of the Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. “We have not been able to find a display of Einstein’s Brain anywhere else.”
Museum staff have been scrambling to get things in place for the new exhibition, learning of the donation on Nov. 2 . “It’s rare that we learn about such a donation and then have to display it so quickly,” said Anna Dhody, Curator of the Mütter. “Usually we have months or even years to design and build an exhibition, but this came up so suddenly. The worst thing we could do is tell the world, ‘Yes, we have Einstein’s Brain, but you have to wait a few months until we can display it.’ We couldn’t do that, especially since people have asked us for years if we already had it.”
George M. Wohlreich, MD, Director and CEO of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia pointed out that, “This underscores that the Mütter is a vital scientific resource valued by professionals as a repository for our medical and scientific heritage. Dr. Rorke-Adams chose us because of the Museum’s standing in
the scientific and medical heritage community. These slides can still hold secrets that future research and technologies can reveal. There are several ongoing research projects that utilize our collections. These research initiatives send a message that the past can inform the future.”

Einstein’s Brain is a permanent exhibition of the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of
Philadelphia and may be viewed as part of regular admission.
The Mütter Museum is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, and $10 for children, seniors, military and students with valid ID. It is located at 19 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia.
For more information, visit

Features of the Mutter's collection:
• Soap Lady
• Dr. Joseph Hyrtl’s human skull collection
• Plaster cast and conjoined liver of “Siamese twins” Chang & Eng
• Specimen from John Wilkes Booth’s vertebra
• Jaw tumor of President Grover Cleveland
• Rotating exhibits of photographic art and illustrations
• Tallest skeleton on display in North America

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's last minute, but it's worth a look

Lehigh Gap Nature Center holds its Migration  Fest beginning today, Friday, Sept. 16.

For event information, click here:
For general information, click here:

For travel advisory and directions, click here:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This cool, and free, museum gets special addition

Hey, Day Trippers. Check this one out.
The Air Mobility Command Museum welcomes Air Force 2 ...
According to NewsWorks at "After 39 years of ferrying Vice Presidents, and sometimes even Presidents and First Ladies, the VC-9 jet, often referred to as Air Force Two, will take up permanent residence at the Air Mobility Command Museum outside Dover Air Force Base."

The Douglas VC-9 Nightingale, tail number 73-1682 was part of the presidential fleet since 1975.

For details, visitor information and more check:

From the museum's website: Admission is free.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.