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Museums Posts Events June 23, 2017

The National Watch and Clock Museum, 514 Poplar St., Columbia, has posted its schedule of programs.

The museum is offering Make and Take Clock Workshops from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays through Aug. 28. Participants will create their own clock to take home. There is a cost to attend. Registration is required for large groups. To register, readers may call 717-684-8261, ext. 234.

A special exhibit, "Art of Time," showcases artists from around the world. The exhibit will run through January 2018.

"Watch Portraits" is a collection of unique horological work by photographer Atom Moore. The exhibit will run through December.

"James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution" is an ongoing expanded exhibit of watches worn by James Bond.

Exhibits are included with museum admission. For more information, readers may call 717-684-8261 or visit


Art in Balance: Motorcycles and Fine Art" June 22, 2017

Art and motorcycles will collide in style at Susquehanna Art Museum, 1401 N. Third St., Harrisburg, with the summer exhibition "Art in Balance: Motorcycles and Fine Art." "Art in Balance" will feature eight motorcycles and 20 works of fine art, presented in pairings for the consideration of the viewer. The exhibition will be on view through Sunday, Sept. 17.

Members of the Susquehanna Art Museum and The State Museum of Pennsylvania will receive free reciprocal general admission to the two museums through Sunday, Sept. 10. Free parking is available for visitors directly behind the museum at the intersection of Calder and James streets. Regular hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays to Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more details, readers may visit


Museum Plans Reading Railroad Days June 22, 2017

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, 300 Gap Road, Strasburg, will highlight the history of the Reading Railroad during Reading Railroad Days, which will take place from Sunday, July 2, through Sunday, July 9.

The centerpiece of the weeklong event will be an enormous, detailed HO-scale model train layout of the Reading Railroad, which will be operated by members of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society in the museum's climate-controlled Rolling Stock Hall. In its heyday, the Reading Company was a multifaceted industrial giant. Originally established as the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad in 1833 to transport anthracite coal, the pioneering 94-mile line evolved into a mighty corporation that served eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Operations included coal mining, iron making, canal and sea-going transportation, and shipbuilding. With its great complex of shops for locomotive and car building and repair, as well as constant advances in railroad technology, the company held a position of leadership in the railroad industry for more than a century.

During Reading Railroad Days, visitors may view Reading Company equipment in the museum's collection of more than 100 historic locomotives and railroad cars. These include the multiple-unit car No. 800, switching engine No. 1251, Crusader observation car No. 1, and the 1928 turntable. Visitors may also watch restoration activities taking place in the museum's workshop live via closed-circuit TV. The Stewart Junction railway education center will offer fun and challenging hands-on activities for the young and young at heart. The "Safety First: The Evolution of Railroading Safety Practices" exhibit in the second-floor gallery will also be open during Reading Railroad Days.

The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the week. Separate admission fees have been set for youths ages 3 to 11, for individuals ages 12 to 64, and for seniors age 65 and older. Children age 2 and under will be admitted free of charge. The museum offers free on-site parking and Wi-Fi.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is a Smithsonian Affiliate and one of 24 historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History, with the active support of the nonprofit Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. For more information, readers may visit or call 717-687-8628.


The History In A Name June 21, 2017

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum curator Bruce Bomberger had two goals in mind when he assembled the pieces that would become the "Signed, Stamped, and Engraved" exhibit. "I wanted to get out some of our very best Pennsylvania German pieces, and I wanted to show some of the great diversity in this collection," said Bomberger, who noted that the museum's archives include 150,000 objects.

Bomberger credited Landis Valley's recently retired site administrator, Jim Lewars, with the idea for the exhibit, which delves into the many reasons names are placed on objects. "Signed, Stamped, and Engraved" will be on display at the museum, 2451 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster, through at least Sunday, Dec. 31.

The various displays that make up the exhibit are labeled a bit differently than in the past. Because each area represents a different reason that a name would appear on an object, Bomberger had the information printed in a larger font and placed it front and center for the observer.

The exhibit carries a variety of objects, including a pumper apparatus from the Rothsville Fire Company - which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year - along with a hotel ledger from Manheim, baseball cards, textiles, hope chests, and a family Bible, among others.

According to Bomberger, the exhibit points out the differences in demographics of the people whose names are represented on the items as it tells their stories. One stark contrast is found in a case that holds both a hope chest, probably made by a father for his daughter who, at about age 16, would begin filling it with items for her own household, and a contract for a 10-year-old girl who was an indentured servant in a Manheim Township household. The contract, dated 1808, stipulates that the girl would be indentured until age 18. In return for doing domestic work in the household, while learning to cook, sew, spin, and clean, the girl would receive shelter, clothing, and a certain amount of education. "(The man with whom she made the contract) would have been responsible for her spiritual and moral upbringing," said Bomberger. When she left his employ, she would have the bare minimum she needed to set up house, including furniture, a spinning wheel, and a cow.

Some of the items in the collection tell a larger story. A Bible, one of the few borrowed items on exhibit, has family names, including the name of the great-grandfather of George D. and Henry K. Landis, who founded the museum. Bomberger noted that the Bible was already quite old when it arrived with the first large wave of Mennonites to come to America 300 years ago in 1717. The display label explains that family members' names were not recorded in the Bible when the Mennonites lived in Europe because they lived under the threat of persecution. In America, the freedom to record those names was accorded to the family.

Not all stories are complete, and the exhibit contains a few items that have mysteries attached to them. One such item is a quilt with a number of names written or stamped on the pieces. While the quilt was known to be a gift for a woman named Caroline, the other names on the quilt represent several ethnicities, Christian denominations, and three Pennsylvania counties, and the commonality that linked the women's names is unknown.

The exhibit also contains a 1769 tombstone of a young man named Frederich Weber, who lived to be 9 years and 2 days old. "The stone was donated in 1970, but no one asked the donor where he got it," explained Bomberger. "There may be nothing else that expresses (the boy's) existence."

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum encompasses 100 acres in Manheim Township. The goal of the nonprofit organization is to collect, preserve, and interpret Pennsylvania German community history from 1740 to 1940. More information about the museum may be found by visiting or by calling 569-0401.


AACA Museum Opens Exhibit June 21, 2017

The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum, 161 Museum Drive, Hershey, has unveiled the newest education experience for visitors and groups - "The Assembly Line Experience." It is a permanent exhibit, and visitors will learn how automobile production evolved from one-at-a-time custom builds to mass production via the assembly line process.

The fun display will challenge individuals to build on their own, then as a team within a certain amount of time. Through this interaction, patrons will come to understand why the assembly process for automobiles needed to evolve.

The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is an admission fee. For further information, readers may call 566-7100 or visit


AACA Museum Plans Tours June 15, 2017

The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) will host trips to England and Italy, and the public is invited to reserve spots on either trip. The AACA Museum tours will include a mixture of private automotive collections, museums, and local attractions, along with food and fellowship.

The tour of England will be held from Friday, Sept. 1, to Sunday, Sept. 10. The Italy tour will be offered from Friday, Nov. 3, to Sunday, Nov. 12.

There is a cost per participant. To book a tour or obtain details, readers may contact Toni Rothman at or 610-361-7882 or 610-246-3525. For more information, readers may visit


North Museum Plans STEAM Carnivále June 15, 2017

"The idea behind the (STEAM Carnivále) is a celebration of interesting people, interesting ideas, and fun," said Amber Liptack, marketing and development director of the North Museum of Nature and Science, 400 College Ave., Lancaster. The event will be held at the museum on Saturday, June 24, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Activities relating to those areas will be offered at the carnivále by a number of local businesses and organizations.

"We are trying to be a convener for experts in the community," Liptack remarked.

These experts include a video production company that will share camera technology, a group that promotes nature journaling, and the Hands-on House, which will feature child-friendly engineering activities. Several mobile classrooms will be parked on-site and will host STEM-themed outdoor activities, weather permitting.

Liptack noted that while a focus has historically been placed on STEM, adding art to the mix broadens the appeal. Each of the exhibitors will include some aspect of art in their offerings.

"We see a lot of value in the art component," she said. "When looking at STEAM holistically, you can't pull out one aspect. They're all related."

The STEAM Carnivále will be held during operating hours, which are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will be included in the regular cost of admission. North Museum members may visit free of charge with their membership IDs.

Liptack noted that the museum is planning to accommodate more than 400 people that day. Approximately 30,000 people visit each year.

"There's something for everyone at the North Museum," she remarked.

The museum was renovated in 2015 and includes the Explore Nature gallery and the dinosaur gallery. An exhibit focusing on nanotechnology is the museum's first in both Spanish and English.

The lower level includes cabinets that hold collections highlighting ornithology, minerology, and anthropology.

"It's a big mix between what museums used to be and what they are now," Liptack said. "Our first floor is more hands-on."

One of the most recent additions to the museum is a group of degus, which are rodents from Chile. They are related to chinchillas and guinea pigs, but unlike those relatives, degus are awake during the day.

"They're very sociable," Liptack said. "We're very excited about them. They are the first mammals to join our reptiles and amphibians."

The three degus were raised by a veterinary school and were adopted by the North Museum, thanks to funds provided by a donor through an auction. The degus' names, which will be announced, were selected by the donor as part of the auction package. The new residents are currently quarantined at the museum, and they were slated to be moved into their permanent quarters at the entrance of the live animal room on June 16.

For more information about the North Museum and the STEAM Carnivále, readers may visit or call 717-358-3941.


Science Factory Offers Free Admission June 14, 2017

The Lancaster Science Factory, 454 New Holland Ave., Lancaster, will offer free admission for fathers on Father's Day, Sunday, June 18, from noon to 5 p.m. Visitors will be able to view the Science Factory's more than 60 exhibits focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

For more information, readers may visit


First National Bank Museum Marks 50 Years June 14, 2017

Nora Motter Stark describes her parents, Lloyd and Jean Motter, as ordinary, hardworking people - and perhaps just a bit "ahead of their time," she says, when it comes to the vision they had in purchasing one of Columbia's oldest historic sites. In 1958, Lloyd and Jean purchased the old First National Bank building at 170 Locust St., Columbia, and set out to turn it into a family-owned museum.

"(My dad) just thought it was beautiful and should be preserved," Stark recalled. "This wasn't considered a desirable neighborhood at that time, so I'm sure my mom thought (my dad) was a little crazy for buying it."

The Federal-style townhouse was built in 1814 as a home for the wealthy merchant James Wright Jr., the grandson of Columbia's founding father, John Wright Sr. In 1852, the property was purchased by Gerhardt Brandt to use as a hotel, and he rented the corner of the property to Solomon and Daniel Detweiler. The Detweilers opened Detweiler Brothers Bank, and in 1860, Solomon purchased the entire property and moved into the residence attached to the bank. In accordance with National Bank Law, the brothers chartered their bank with $100,000 capital in 1864, and the First National Bank of Columbia became the 371st bank chartered in the country.

The bank remained open at that location until 1917, when it merged with Columbia National Bank and became First-Columbia National Bank at 229 Locust St. The original location became the site of the Columbia Free Public Library until the Motters purchased the property in 1958. Lloyd and Jean restored the bank and reopened its doors as the First National Bank Museum in 1967.

The building is the only known bank preserved in its original setting in the United States. "Everything is original, and it's been maintained as a bank," Stark said. "And it was one of the first museums in Columbia."

The Motter family lived in the attached residence. Stark, the youngest of three children, said that while she did not think twice about the uniqueness of her home at that time, her friends were always enthralled. "We would have dances in the hallway and slumber parties in the bank, and everyone who came over just thought it was so neat," said Stark with a smile.

Over the years, Lloyd and Jean chipped away at the restoration process and collected the original banking books and other items original to the bank to display in the museum. When her parents died in 1997, Stark and her husband, Michael, purchased the property and became the co-owners, managers, and tour guides for the museum.

"We're like my parents," Stark commented. "Just regular people working full-time and trying to maintain the history of this property for others to enjoy."

The interior details range from walnut paying and receiving teller cages to a massive walk-in vault and a board of directors' room, which is now available to rent for small parties and events. Tours are available by appointment only, and there is a suggested donation for adults, seniors, and students. Admission is free for children age 8 and under.

In April, the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce (SVCC) recognized the First National Bank Museum's 50-year anniversary. "I'm just happy to carry on the legacy of my parents," Stark said. "We encourage people to come whether they're a neighbor or wherever they may be from."

To learn more, readers may visit To schedule a tour, interested individuals may call 717-684-8864.


Nominations For Awards Sought June 14, 2017

The York County History Center is calling for nominations for its 2017 awards, presented each fall to individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary efforts toward the preservation, interpretation, or promotion of the history of York County. This year marks the seventh year of the awards, which are presented at the History Center annual meeting.

Nominees are sought for a total of five awards, including the Heritage Profile Award (presented to an individual), the Community Awards (presented to one business, one local history organization, and one government entity), and the Outstanding Volunteer Award.

The Heritage Profile Award is given to recognize an individual who has made a lasting or significant contribution toward preserving, interpreting, promoting, or researching the history of York County. The selection committee seeks an individual, living or deceased, who has demonstrated long-term dedication and personal commitment to this type of effort.

The Community Award - Business is given to a business that works to preserve history through a company history, building preservation effort, philanthropic project, or other endeavor that embraces the cause of preserving York County history. The Community Award - Local History Organization goes to an association or organization that has contributed to preserving, interpreting, promoting, or researching the history of their county or region within York County.

The Community Award - Government Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the understanding of local history by municipalities without historical organizations. These activities may include community celebrations, commemorative publications, audiovisual materials, archival work, or community service.

The Outstanding Volunteer Award is given to volunteers who set a high standard of volunteerism with their loyalty and dedication, providing inspiration for others to follow.

Nomination forms and guidelines are available at The deadline for entries is Friday, June 30. For further information, readers may call Joan Mummert at 848-1587, ext. 217.

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