Clock at Old Economy Village keeps time with history

Clock at Old Economy Village keeps time with history

The main hall of Old Economy Village’s George Rapp House features a tall case clock with quite a history. Its story began in Harmony, Pa., north of Pittsburgh, where the Harmony Society formally organized in 1805. Just arriving in America from Württemberg (now part of Germany), the 800 members of the society pooled their resources …

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Schuylkill County Hercules : Toying with Pennsylvania’s mining history

Schuylkill County Hercules : Toying with Pennsylvania’s mining history

Handcrafted around 1950 by John Mayza of Schuylkill County for his nephew Dan Canavan, this toy dragline excavator is constructed from materials normally found at an anthracite coal colliery. Currently on exhibit at the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, the toy sports the name Hercules painted across the cab section. Interestingly, the name predates the artifact, …

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Dauphin County projectile point collection dates to the Ice Age

Dauphin County projectile point collection dates to the Ice Age

This week’s Pennsylvania Treasure is the fluted projectile point collection from the Shoop archaeological site in Dauphin County. These artifacts, some of the oldest in the collections kept by The State Museum’s Section of Archaeology, hail from a site that made a significant contribution to our understanding of past cultural behavior in the Eastern United …

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A North American giant : Tracking the disappearance of the Eastern Hellbender

A North American giant : Tracking the disappearance of the Eastern Hellbender

Pennsylvania is home to an eastern North American giant and entirely aquatic salamander known as the Eastern Hellbender, otherwise called the Cryptobranchus alleganiensis. This magnificent creature grows to roughly 2 feet in length while remaining nearly flat as a pancake. Why? These cryptic animals rest by day under the flat rocks found within the cold, …

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Expedition North Pole: New Kensington surgeon brings home artistry of Inuit culture

Expedition North Pole: New Kensington surgeon brings home artistry of Inuit culture

More than 100 years ago, the race to claim the North Pole was a significant feat which many had tried, but none had succeeded. The opportunity to join Admiral Robert Peary’s 1908-1909 expedition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a young physician from western Pennsylvania. Doctor John W. Goodsell (1873-1949), a native of New Kensington, Westmoreland …

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World War I medals honor soldier’s sacrifice

World War I medals honor soldier’s sacrifice

Memorial Day, as the day has come to be known, traces its origins to the American Civil War. People observed the day, initially known as Decoration Day, by decorating the graves of Union soldiers who had fallen in battle. The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, selected May 30 as the …

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Bob Hoffman: From World War I veteran to legendary weightlifter

Bob Hoffman: From World War I veteran to legendary weightlifter

For decades, the name Robert C. “Bob” Hoffman has remained synonymous with U.S. Olympic Weightlifting and the founding of the York Barbell Co. Known as the “Father of World Weightlifting,” Hoffman gained national recognition in 1927 when he took home the sport’s heavyweight championship. However, before he became a pioneer in the fields of weightlifting, …

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Pennsylvania fossils: How a church held the secret to a new species of trilobite

Pennsylvania fossils: How a church held the secret to a new species of trilobite

Not all fossils are uncovered by digging in the dirt and breaking open rocks. While all fossils originate in various types of rocks, they can take a varied path before they reach scientists. An important example of this involves specimens housed in the Invertebrate Paleontology collections at The State Museum of Pennsylvania that were once …

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Ephrata Cloister’s Glass Trumpet is likely “one of a kind”

Ephrata Cloister’s Glass Trumpet is likely “one of a kind”

It’s not often that an archaeological find is classified as “one of a kind.” However, a glass trumpet discovered in Pennsylvania merits such a distinction. Archaeological investigations have been conducted at Ephrata Cloister, an unusual German religious commune founded in 1732 in Lancaster County, since 1993. In 1995, this unique artifact was unearthed from a …

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Landis Valley weathervane: At the crossroads of promotion and folk art

Landis Valley weathervane: At the crossroads of promotion and folk art

Henry Landis (1865-1955) of Landis Valley, Lancaster County, believed that weathervanes were significant pieces of folk art that personified Pennsylvania German heritage. He collected, researched and studied these artifacts, many of which were often crafted to resemble various figures such as cows and horses, fish and roosters. Landis took notes on the weathervanes, or wetterhahn …

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