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State Museum of Pennsylvania Announces Schedule of Monthly Home School Programs


Harrisburg, PA - The State Museum of Pennsylvania will present a series of programs geared for homeschoolers beginning next month.


Museum curators and educators from the commonwealth’s official museum will lead six Pennsylvania-focused programs, with a different program scheduled each month.


Families will experience a guided gallery tour and a discussion about the day’s topic, then participate in a hands-on family activity. These programs will give homeschooled students and their families an opportunity to engage with museum staff, ask questions, and work together. After the program, families may continue exploring more about the topic with a museum scavenger hunt and a Q and A with staff.


Scheduled programs include:


October 12, 2022, Groovin’ with Stone Axes

For thousands of years, Indigenous people in Pennsylvania built homes, made canoes, and cleared forests with stone tools. These tools are often found buried in our landscape. As artifacts they provide archaeologists with an opportunity to study the activities of people who lived long ago.


Join curators Janet Johnson, Melanie Mayhew and Liz Wagner from the Section of Archaeology to complete STEAM activities and use archaeological methods to examine stone-axe artifacts.


November 9, 2022, Woven Arts: Domesticity and Creativity

Throughout history, many Pennsylvanians have woven coverlets, clothing, and other textiles for everyday use. Many present-day weavers use historic techniques to produce ”fiber art,” a term applied to fiber-based creations appreciated for their beauty as well as their skillful production. Historic and present-day weavers use mathematics, patterns, and color theory to create designs.


With Curator of Fine Arts Amy Hammond, homeschoolers will bridge centuries of weaving by comparing historic coverlets with the techniques and designs of four Pennsylvania artists featured in the Art of the State 2022 exhibition. Participants will use their own skills to weave a wall hanging of their own design.


December 14, 2022, Wetlands of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has more than 400,000 acres of wetlands. Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release rain, snow melt and flood waters. Many animals and plants depend on wetlands for survival. More than one-third of the threatened and endangered species in North America live only in wetlands, and nearly one-half of them inhabit wetlands at some time in their lives.


Senior Curator of Zoology and Botany Dr. Walter Meshaka Jr. will discuss the importance of wetlands in Pennsylvania by viewing an urban wetland represented in Ecology Hall and the wetland habitat of the beaver pond on exhibit in Mammal Hall. Participants will see a demonstration of how water runoff carries pollutants through a watershed, experiment with how wetlands filter pollutants, and create a diorama of a wetland area in Pennsylvania.


January 11, 2023, Horsepower to Gas Power

Transportation in the United States today is slowly transitioning from gasoline-fueled to electric-powered vehicles. More than a century ago, the country was undergoing a different revolution in transportation energy from horsepower to gasoline power.


History curators Dr. Curt Miner and Bob Hill will discuss this transition as it occurred in Pennsylvania through a new transportation display, Horsepower to Gas Power. Participants will experiment with alternative transportation power sources by creating a wind-powered car.


February 8, 2023, Pennsylvania’s Land and People

Pennsylvania is not one place—it’s many places. From 1870 to 1920 T.M. Fowler created panoramic views of cities and towns, including many in Pennsylvania.


Using these hand-drawn images, Senior Curator of History Dr. Curt Miner will discuss how regionally specific natural resources transformed Pennsylvania communities during the industrial era. Using the museum’s Giant Map of Pennsylvania, participants will learn about the various regions within the commonwealth that together define the place we call Pennsylvania and create a custom passport to “travel the state.”


March 15, 2023, William Penn’s Holy Experiment

William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” established the foundations of Pennsylvania. The commonwealth was created when England’s King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn in 1681. The Pennsylvania State Archives preserves the original Charter in a high-security vault, shielding it from strong light and environmental fluctuations. A copy of this document is on display in Memorial Hall at the State Museum throughout the year.


Archivist Brett Reigh will discuss the history of the original 1681 Penn Charter and the research resources available at the Pennsylvania State Archives. Participants will be introduced to the materials and process used to create the document, including iron gall ink, quill pens, parchment paper and block printing, and will use them to make their own documents.


Programs begin at 10 AM and last approximately 1 1/2 hours. Participation is limited. Advance registration and prepayment is required.


Cost: $3 per person for State Museum members, $10 per person for nonmembers. At least one adult is required to register with each family. 


Register and prepay for all six programs by October 1 and get one program free for each registrant.


Deadline for registration is the day prior to each program. Call 717-772-6997 or email to register.



The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 24 historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History. The State Museum offers expansive collections interpreting Pennsylvania’s fascinating heritage. With exhibits examining the dawn of geologic time, the Native American experience, the colonial and revolutionary eras, a pivotal Civil War battleground, and the commonwealth's vast industrial age, The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania's story is America’s story.


For more information about the museum, visit The State Museum online or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


MEDIA CONTACT: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639


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