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Hands-On House Clubhouse Goes Full STEAM Ahead April 12, 2017

According to Julia Connolly, executive director of Hands-on House, turning STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs into STEAM programs by adding an "A" for art is not new. "A lot of schools are incorporating art into their STEM program to make STEAM," said Connolly. "We wanted to add an element to Hands-on House that brought to life STEAM in a way that was age-appropriate for younger children."

The new STEAM program has come alive through the Clubhouse, an initiative that is the brainchild of Hands-on House education director Sue Miller and exhibit designer Seth Cluley. The Clubhouse opened in February and now features topics of learning that change regularly. The program opened with Block Builders in February and explored the concept of artificial intelligence with Robot Factory in March. Kid City Cafe, which opened in March, ran until early April. Other topics include Rainbow Magic and Color Lab.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the Clubhouse opens with a Story Stretcher at 11:30 a.m. for 2- to 6-year-olds who sign up ahead of time. The stories, which are connected to the topic, introduce the day's activities. For instance, during the Robot Factory program, Miller read a book called "Clink" about a misfit robot. On Thursdays and Fridays, the program opens with a STEAM activity for 3- to 5-year-olds, and Weekend Wow offers enriching STEAM experiences for children ages 5 to 10.

During the programs designed for children ages 2 to 6, Connolly noted that the Clubhouse has a family-friendly atmosphere. "It's OK to have an infant along (during these events)," said Connolly, who added that families are encouraged to sign up ahead of time because space in the Clubhouse is limited.

Connolly said that in creating the Clubhouse topics and activities, Hands-on House staff hoped to appeal to older children. "Typically children top out here at the age of 7 or 8," Connolly noted. "We wanted to bring in some new and innovative programs to take our (target audience) age up to age 10." The new curriculum is also designed to encourage imagination and creativity. "It's truly open-ended (so that) children can create and design and paint and use their hands," Connolly added.

"There will always be a texture table," said Connolly, who noted that the table has held both water and nuts and bolts with an emphasis on fine motor coordination.

Because the Clubhouse is flexible, activities will change in accordance with the topic. In May, the focus will turn to the circus, with topics including Clowning Around, Balancing Act, and Hocus Focus. "We are planning on changing this monthly," said Connolly. "We are very excited about that."

Hands-on House is located at 721 Landis Valley Road, Lancaster. The nonprofit entity's regular hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Readers who would like to learn more about Hands-on House may visit To preregister for a Clubhouse activity, readers should call 569-5437. There is an admission fee to visit Hands-on House, but Clubhouse activities are included in admission.


Civil War Round Table Will Meet April 10, 2017

The York Civil War Round Table will meet on Wednesday, April 19, at the Historical Society Museum, Library and Archives, 250 E. Market St., York. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

A program on "Imprisonment, Trial, and Execution of the Lincoln Conspirators" will be presented by Mark Grimm. Grimm will discuss the trial and execution in July 1865 of the Lincoln conspirators from the perspective of Union Col. John F. Hartranft of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

For more information, readers may visit


Museum To Open New Exhibit April 5, 2017

The National Watch and Clock Museum, 514 Poplar St., Columbia, will open a new exhibit, Watch Portraits, on Sunday, April 30. The exhibit will be a collection of the horological work of renowned photographer Atom Moore.

Moore explores the aspects of vintage and modern timepieces. Combining his profession as a photographer and his enthusiasm for wristwatches, Moore has gained recognition as an artist and created a critically acclaimed body of work.

Aside from his work as house photographer and art director for an online boutique, Moore has compiled a series of artistic interpretations of wristwatch portraits that explore various visual aspects of watches.

A graduate of the photography program at Fitchburg State University, Moore specializes in watch and macro photography and often contributes to watch industry publications.

The exhibit will continue through December and is included with museum admission. To view all of Moore's creations, readers may visit

For more program information, directions, or general museum information, readers may call 684-8261 or visit


Relics" April 5, 2017

The Susquehanna Art Museum (SAM), 1401 N. Third St., Harrisburg, will present an exhibition of large-scale black and white photographs by Stephen Althouse (b. 1948, Bucks County). "Relics" portrays humanity through the tools and artifacts left behind. The collection of photographs will be on view in the museum's lobby gallery through Sunday, May 7.

SAM is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more details, readers may visit or contact Lauren Nye at


Friends Plan Three Rambles April 4, 2017

Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will offer three Rambles to locations of railroading, historical, scenic, cultural, and general travel interest. There is a cost per person for each trip, and registration for Rambles will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Readers may call after the respective deadlines to determine if any spaces remain available.

The Iron Ore Special will take place on Thursday, May 18, and will feature a rare mileage roundtrip excursion between Sunbury and Shamokin. Travelers will ride the rails of the Shamokin Valley Branch that the ore trains traveled in the 1940s and 1950s. Travelers may select roundtrip motor coach transportation from Lancaster, Camp Hill, or Wyomissing or may choose to drive on their own to Sunbury to board the Iron Ore Special train. The deadline for registration is Monday, April 10.

A Pacific Northwest Ramble will be held from Monday, Sept. 11, through Monday, Sept. 18. Museum travelers will ride historic trains and view amazing scenery on this customized trip to the breathtaking Pacific Northwest. The ramble includes roundtrip airfare from the designated airports, admission to all attractions and tickets for train rides as outlined in the itinerary, seven nights' hotel accommodations, seven breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners and a travel escort. The deadline for registration is Monday, May 15.

A Canadian Rockies Ramble will take place from Tuesday, Oct. 3, through Thursday, Oct. 12. Travelers will experience GoldLeaf service on board the Rocky Mountaineer luxury train and the unparalleled vistas of the Canadian Rockies. The deadline for registration is May 15.

Ramble brochures and registration forms and Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania membership applications may be found at To learn more, readers may contact Deborah Reddig at 717-687-8628, ext. 3007, or


Historical Site Opens For Tours March 28, 2017

Rock Ford Plantation, 881 Rockford Road, Lancaster, opened for its 2017 tour season on April 1. The mansion is open for guided tours on the hour on Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The last tour of each day begins at 3 p.m. Rock Ford is closed for tours on Mondays. There is an admission fee, but children under age 5 are admitted free of charge.

All proceeds from guided tours benefit the ongoing preservation and operation of Rock Ford Plantation. Built in 1794, Rock Ford was the home of Edward Hand and his family. Hand served as adjutant general to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Rock Ford Plantation is operated by the Rock Ford Foundation. For more information, visit or call 392-7223.


Science, Engineering Fair Winners Named March 24, 2017

The winners have been announced for the 2017 North Museum Science and Engineering Fair, held March 22 at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim. More than 375 students in grades seven through 12 from more than 30 schools across the county competed with their peers by exhibiting their yearlong science and engineering endeavors. More than 135 local STEM professionals volunteered their time to evaluate each project and determine the winners.

Gaurav Mittal, a freshman at Manheim Township High School, was named grand champion of the 2017 fair for his project, which invented a device that tests whether foods are genetically modified.

Four other projects also took home top prizes. Aparna Paul, a senior at Elizabethtown Area High School, was named senior champion for her project on ways to detect E. coli bacteria. Edwin Crockett, a junior at Ephrata Area High School, utilized a universal language using mathematical patterns for his project, which garnered him the title of senior reserve champion.

Lilly Heilshorn, an eighth-grader at Centerville Middle School, was named junior champion, and her project tested various types of foundations and soils to help reduce the impact from earthquakes. Arielle Breuninger, an eighth-grader at Lancaster Country Day School, was named junior reserve champion for her project with homemade shade balls.

The annual fair remains only one of two fairs in the state of Pennsylvania aligned with the International Science and Engineering Fair that does not charge a registration fee for participating students or schools. The only other free fair is completely underwritten by Drexel University, while the North Museum's fair is funded by a compilation of local support.

The complete list of winners can be found at


Historic House Posts Tours March 24, 2017

The Amos Herr House will open its doors for the 2017 season on Saturday, April 1. Tours of the Herr House will be given every Saturday and Sunday from April 1 through Oct. 29 from 1 to 3:15 p.m. The house will be closed for tours on Easter Sunday, April 16. Tours will last approximately 30 minutes. There is no charge for admission; however, donations will be appreciated.

The house is located at 1756 Nissley Road in Landisville. For additional information, call the house at 898-8822 or visit and


State Museum Posts Calendar March 23, 2017

The State Museum of Pennsylvania, 300 North St., Harrisburg, will offer a variety of programs and activities to the public. For more information, readers may visit There is an admission fee. The museum will be closed for upgrades to its electrical system on Sunday, April 23.

Story Time will feature "Tools" by Taro Miura on Friday, April 7, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Village Square exhibit. Children will explore the Chair Shop and Tin Shop in Village Square in search of tools that were used in the past. Story Time is a reading series for children ages 3 to 5.

Learn at Lunchtime will present "Earth, Moon, and Sun" in the Planetarium on April 7 from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. Visitors will not be admitted once the show has started. The presentation is included with general admission to the museum. This humorous production tackles many of the most baffling concepts associated with the Earth-Moon-Sun system, including eclipses, lunar phases, the seasonal changing of constellations, and the physical nature of the Sun and the Moon.

The planetarium will offer two shows from Saturday, April 1, through Sunday, June 4, for individuals in grade six and older. "Solar Superstorms" will be held on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and on Sundays at 1 p.m. "Compass, Calendar, and Clock" will be offered at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. There is a fee per person per show in addition to general admission except for members of the State Museum Affiliate and the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation.


New Exhibit To Focus On World War I March 16, 2017

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I, the Historical Society of Dauphin County has mounted a new exhibit of original posters, original uniforms, Red Cross artifacts, and historic newspaper articles and photographs related to Dauphin County residents. "Uncle Sam Calls: Dauphin County in World War I" will open on Sunday, April 9, at 1 p.m. in the National Historic Landmark John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion, 219 S. Front St., Harrisburg.

Posters were a major tool for broad dissemination of information during the war. Countries on both sides of the conflict distributed posters widely to garner support, urge action, and boost morale. Many well-known artists and illustrators contributed their work to the war effort. James Montgomery Flagg designed what has become probably the best-known war recruiting poster: "I Want You for U.S. Army." An original of this poster hangs prominently in the main hallway of the house.

At 2:30 p.m., Col. Douglas V. Mastriano, military historian and faculty instructor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, will speak on Sgt. Alvin C. York, one of America's most famous and celebrated soldiers. Mastriano is author of the newly published "Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne." Copies of the book will be available for signing by the author. There will be a set fee for admission to the exhibit and program.

Admission to the exhibit is included with regular tour tickets to the Harris-Cameron Mansion. Tours are available Tuesdays through Fridays and the second and fourth Sundays of each month at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Admission is free to members of the Historical Society of Dauphin County. Free parking is available in lots behind the mansion.

Readers may call 233-3462 or visit for information and updates.

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