Connect with others and learn about our Commonwealth by joining The State Museum of Pennsylvania for our 2021 virtual Learn at Lunchtime programs every Friday at 12:15 pm. Virtual Learn at Lunchtime features a variety of captivating presentations and live conversations with educators, curators, colleagues, and friends about various Pennsylvania topics.
Sessions will be presented over Zoom and are free, but registration is required. Follow the link in the program title to sign up. Once registration is complete, attendees will receive an attendance link and password.
Want to watch past programs? Visit PHMC’s YouTube channel to watch all of recorded sessions.
October 29 Treasures from the Vault: The Leroy Hopkins’ Ike Jacket
Leroy Hopkins, Sr. was a lifelong resident of Lancaster and an African American who served with the U.S. Army’s 1333rd Engineer General Service Regiment in both the European and Pacific theaters of World War II – at a time when the U.S. Army still segregated its soldiers by race. Years later, his son, Leroy, Jr., donated his father’s “Ike jacket” and decorations to the State Museum of Pennsylvania. Join State Museum Curator Robert Hill and special guest, Leroy Hopkins, Jr., for a discussion about the jacket, decorations and military service of Leroy Hopkins, Sr.
November 5 Artists Conversations: Overcoming Physical Challenges While Creating: Featuring Passle Helminski, Heidi Hooper and Francine Renée Schneider from Art of the State
All artists have a distinct way of expressing ideas and inspirations. When life presents challenges, artists rethink their processes and continue creating. Please join Passle Helminski, Heidi Hooper and Francine Renée Schneider as we chat about each artist’s journey in overcoming physical challenges so they can continue to create art. Each artist uses different media and has found new and inventive ways to express themselves.
November 19 Adventures in Nature Lab: PA Wild Dogs – wolves, coyote, and fox
Whether they howl, bark or yip, wolves, coyotes and foxes have a varied history in Pennsylvania. Some of these wild dogs have always lived here, some lived here in the past and some are relatively new residents! Join Thomas Keller Furbearer Specialist from the Pennsylvania Game Commission as we talk about these predatory canines and their current population status in Pennsylvania.
State Museum Fine Art Curator Amy Hammond talks with artists from Art of the State 2021.
What hunts at night, sleeps in a tree and is covered with feathers? An owl! Join Chris Kemmerer from the Bureau of State Parks as we talk about the owls that live in and migrate through Pennsylvania, the unique adaptations and characteristics that make these nocturnal predators efficient hunters and the research being conducted on owls.
Past Event Recordings – Click the link in the title.
Join fine arts curator Amy Hammond and photographer Ron Tarver for a discussion of Vented Stream, a cityscape showing Callowhill Street in Philadelphia on a cold winter’s night. While Tarver dedicated decades to capturing Philadelphia’s people, he created Vented Steam during a time when his work focused on isolation and urban remoteness.
February 12 Adventures in Nature Lab: How Do Reptiles and Amphibians Survive During Winter in Pennsylvania?
When it gets cold outside, animals have to adapt to survive. Join The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Senior Curator of Zoology and Botany, Dr. Walter Meshaka and Nature Educator Beth Erikson for a talk about how Pennsylvania frogs and snakes survive during the winter season.
February 19 Curator’s Choice: A Spirited Republic: Whiskey Distilling in Pennsylvania
In the 18th and early 19th century, many Central-Pennsylvania farmers distilled whiskey. Join The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Program Director, Bradley Smith, for a discussion about the prevalence of small farm distilleries and their importance to our region’s economy.
February 26 State Museum Perspectives: Exploring Virtual Group Programs
Join Museum Director Beth Hager and our museum educators to find out more about our plans for virtual group programs coming up this spring.
March 5 Artists Conversations: Violet Oakley’s William Penn Murals at the PA Capitol
In honor of Charter Day, Historian Jason Wilson of the Capitol Preservation Committee and Fine Arts Curator Amy Hammond will discuss Violet Oakley’s tribute to William Penn in The Founding of the State of Liberty Spiritual, a mural in the Governor’s Reception Room at the Pennsylvania State Capitol. Herself a pacifist, Oakley was drawn to Penn’s approach to religious freedom and tolerance. Oakley carefully chose her theme to ensure that Penn’s principles of tolerance and justice would influence future Pennsylvanians.
March 12 Adventures in Nature Lab: Songbirds of Pennsylvania
What’s the sound? From warblers to chickadees, songbirds are often heard before they are seen. Join retired PA Game Commission Conservation Officer Scott Bills, as we talk about native songbirds of Pennsylvania and how you can create a safe and inviting habitat for them in your backyard.
March 19 Curator’s Choice: Deadly Contact: Europeans, Native Americans, and Pandemics
Across the North American continent, we know that millions of Native Americans died as a result of diseases introduced by the invading Europeans. Join The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Senior Archaeology Curator, Dr. Kurt Carr, for a presentation about the pandemics which affected Native American populations in Pennsylvania and the surrounding regions.
March 26 State Museum Perspectives: Archaeology at Fort Hunter
State Museum Archaeologists chat with State Museum Director Beth Hager about their long-time project discovering the 18th century at Fort Hunter.
Artist and educator Tina Williams Brewer will discuss Yo Bloodline with Fine Arts Curator Amy Hammond. Brewer uses vision, design and textiles to represent African American history and culture in this story quilt.
April 9 Adventures in Nature Lab: Vernal Ponds and the animals and plants that need them
April showers don’t just bring rain, they also produce vernal ponds! Join The State Museum’s Nature Educator Beth Erikson and Ryan Reed from the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry for a talk about these seasonal ponds in Pennsylvania and the plants and animals that need them to survive.
April 16 Curator’s Choice: Flyover Pennsylvania: T.M. Fowler’s Bird’s-Eye Views of Pennsylvania Cities and Towns, 1885-1905
Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler – who signed as “T.M. Fowler” — was part of a small group of itinerant artists who made their living by sketching and publishing panoramic views of American cities and towns in the decades after the Civil War. Over 170 of these views are preserved in the permanent collections of the State Museum and the Pennsylvania State Archives. Join The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Senior History Curator, Dr. Curt Miner, for a discussion about Fowler’s work and legacy.
Learn how you can get a behind-the-scenes look at The State Museum’s and PHMC’s treasures from your own computer. State Museum director Beth Hager will talk with museum collections managers Mary Jane Miller and Lauren Stark and archivist Aaron McWilliams from the State Archives about exploring thousands of historic objects and documents online.
April 30 Treasures from the Vault: Pennsylvania’s Last Mountain Lion
The State Museum’s vast zoological collection contains a mountain lion alleged to be the last documented specimen collected in Pennsylvania. Join the State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Senior Curator of Zoology and Botany, Dr. Walter Meshaka, and Program Director Bradley Smith for a talk about this curious specimen.
May 7 Artists Conversations: Conservation of Violet Oakley’s Drawing
In the spring of 2019, a collection of Violet Oakley’s drawings was conserved at the Conservation Center for Art and Historical Artifacts in Philadelphia. This monumental undertaking was the first time in over a century that the drawings were examined and preserved. Join Heather Hendry, Senior Paper Conservator, and Fine Arts Curator Amy Hammond to hear about this important project.
May 14 Adventures in Nature Lab: Native PA Flowers for Your Garden
Are you planning to plant a flower garden this spring? Join Botanist, Andrew Rohrbaugh from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry for a talk about the value of planting native Pennsylvania plants and flowers to beautify and improve your landscaping.
May 21 Curator’s Choice: Highlights from Game Changers: PA Women who Made History
In March 2020, the State Museum of Pennsylvania premiered a new exhibit featuring portraits of women from across the state, representing fields including education, science, business, human rights advocacy and the arts. Join Dr. Cynthia Little, the exhibit curator, for a discussion highlighting selected game changers.
June 4 Artists Conversations: Marta Sanchez
Join Fine Arts Curator Amy Hammond and artist Marta Sanchez to learn about the evolution of Marta’s work over her 40-year career. Amy and Marta will highlight “Retablo para Ruhamah”, a work that was accessioned to the fine art collection in 1996. Painted in the Mexican tradition of an ex-voto, this portrait celebrates friendship and gathering.
June 11 Adventures in Nature Lab Butterflies and Moths of Pennsylvania
Whether large and small, brightly colored and camouflaged, butterflies and moths are not only beautiful, but are also ecologically important. Join Betsy Leppo, an Invertebrate Zoologist at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and PA Natural Heritage Program to talk about native Pennsylvania butterflies and moths and the impact that human development has had on the Lepidoptera population.
June 18 Curator’s Choice: Pennsylvania’s Grand Review
In May 1865, Washington D.C. hosted a Grand Review for Union armies. However, African American regiments were not invited to participate in this celebration. In response, residents of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania organized an alternative Grand Review for these veterans on November 14, 1865. Join Dr. Frank Smith, Director of the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, DC for a discussion about the Pennsylvania Grand Review and its significance.
June 25 State Museum Perspectives: Walks with Walter – Nature Outreach in the Community
State Museum Director Beth Hager will interview Dr. Walter Meshaka as he discusses turtles at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg, PA.
July 2 Artists Conversations: Fashioning a New Nation: Creating Identity through Clothing in Post-Revolutionary Portraits
The American Revolution was a pivotal point in our nation’s history. While the clothing worn in iconic portraits of George Washington and other founding fathers is a standard part of our interpretation of the past, the American Revolution had a lasting effect on the lives, fashions, and material goods of Pennsylvanians. Early American fashions represent a pivotal moment in our history as citizens of the new nation moved away from the colonial past to create a new identity. Curators Amy Hammond and Katie McGowan will explore the dress of Post-Revolution Pennsylvania through portraits and historic clothing from The State Museum of PA’s collections.
July 9 Adventures in Nature Lab: Fishes of Susquehanna River
The Susquehanna River is the sixteenth largest river in the United States flowing from New York state, through Pennsylvania and into the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Whether you are a fisherman or just enjoy the view, join Susquehanna River Biologist Geoffrey Smith from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission as we talk about the river and the fish that call it home.
July 16 Curator’s Choice: Artifact Legends from the State Museum
The State Museum collection includes an incredible array of artifacts with fantastic legends attached to them. Join The State Museum’s program director, Bradley Smith, as he discusses research findings which are shedding new light on the veracity of several prominent artifact legends from our collection.
July 23 State Museum Perspectives: Volunteers
Join State Museum Director Beth Hager to find out more about volunteering at the State Museum.
July 30 Treasures from the Vault: The Phenomenon of the Parachute Wedding Dress in World War II
Marie Walborn wore a traditionally styled dress for her wedding ceremony in 1946, but her dress fabric was anything but traditional. It was made entirely from military-grade parachute silk. Join State Museum curator, Katie McGowan, as she discusses how wartime rationing and military surplus inspired this unusual fashion trend during World War II. *This program will be held both virtually and in person in the Museum. If attending in person the program is included with general admission.
August 6 Artists Conversations: Lauren Litwa
Amy Hammond and artist Lauren Litwa will discuss Pennsylvania landscapes, plein air painting and the creation of Tekla’s Ladder.
August 13 Adventures in Nature Lab: PA Turtles
Some are aquatic, some are terrestrial, and some live both in water and on land. Regardless of where they live, turtles have a home wherever they travel in their unique protective shell. Join Josh Brown, Conservation Biologist from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission as we talk about these Pennsylvania reptiles and where they are found throughout our state.
August 20 Curator’s Choice Witness to History: Col. Paul Evanko’s 9/11 Field Notes
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Colonel Paul Evanko, head of the Pennsylvania State Police, raced to an emergency command center as soon as he heard that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center in Manhattan. What he did not know is how he and his colleagues would be drawn into the attacks when the hijacked United Flight 93 crashed into a rural field in western Pennsylvania. Years later, Colonel Evanko donated his original, handwritten field notes from that morning to the Pennsylvania State Archives. Please join archivist Rich Saylor as he discusses these unique documents with State Museum Program Director, Bradley Smith. Learn also about the forthcoming exhibit of the same title, opening on September 9, 2021, being jointly presented by the Pennsylvania State Archives and the State Museum of Pennsylvania.
Looking ahead to the new exhibit on 9/11, State Museum Director Beth Hager will talk with Tim Lambert, Multimedia News Director for WITF and Morning Edition host who has a personal association with the hijacked Flight 93 crash at Shanksville, PA. His family owned a portion of the Somerset County property where the hijacked jetliner crashed, and the land is now part of Flight 93 National Memorial.
For this year’s 20th anniversary observance, Mr. Lambert collaborated with National Public Radio’s (NPR) Scott Detrow to produce a podcast on the legacy of Flight 93 and how family members of the 40 passengers and crew have coped with their grief, learned to live with it and continue to honor and remember their loved ones.
Ms. Hager will talk with Mr. Lambert about this new podcast with NPR and also about working with State Museum and State Archives staff members to provide a key video interview for the new exhibit “Witness to History: Col. Paul Evanko’s 9/11 Field Notes” opening September 9.
Images in this programs courtesy of Pennsylvania State Archives, PHMC and Tim Lambert.
September 3 Artists Conversations: Reflecting on COVID: Featuring Artists from Art of the State 2020
2020 saw unprecedented change in the human experience and many artists addressed these shifts in their work. The pandemic presented challenges to the artist community, as it did for the rest of the population, but some also found a fervent period of creation. This year’s Art of the State exhibition, open from September 26, 2021 until January 2, 2022, features numerous artists who referenced various aspects of Covid-19. Join fine arts curator Amy Hammond as she chats with artists Mary Culbertson Stark, Sandy Kessler Kaminski and Becky McDonah about how they represented the pandemic in their art.
Yogi Bear was a cartoon bear who used his great sense of smell to find picnic baskets full of food. While black bears don’t really look for picnic baskets, they do have a great sense of smell and as omnivores that will eat anything from berries and acorns to bird seed and garbage. Join Emily Carrollo, Black Bear Program Specialist from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, as we talk about these large Pennsylvania mammals and how to keep them from becoming regular visitors in your yard. This program will be presented live and live via Zoom. If you plan to attend in person, this program is included with general admission.
September 17 Curator’s Choice: Extinct Birds of PA
The State Museum’s vast zoological collection includes specimens of two bird species – the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet — which have now been extinct for more than a century. Join the State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Senior Curator of Zoology and Botany, Dr. Walter Meshaka, and Program Director Bradley Smith for a discussion about these species, the events that led to their decline and the significance of their disappearance. This program will be presented live and live via Zoom. If you plan to attend in person, this program is included with general admission.
Curators Amy Hammond and Carol Buck will join State Museum Director Beth Hager to talk about the new Art of the State exhibit.
October 1 Artists Conversations Representing Asian American Identities: Featuring Hee Sook Kim and Sanh Tran from Art of the State
Each year, the Pennsylvanians featured in Art of the State share their experiences through their art. One theme that resonates every year is identity. Please join Hee Sook Kim and Sanh Tran as we learn how they represent their Asian American identities in their work.
October 8 Adventures in Nature Lab: PA Deer Family
As a member of the Cervidae or deer family, white-tailed deer, along with elk, live in the state throughout the year, adapting to the changing seasonal conditions throughout the year. Join Emily H. Domoto, Certified Wildlife Biologist from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as we talk about these large herbivores, their habitat and the Deer Management Assistance Program.
October 15 Curator’s Choice: Peopling the Americas
For many decades, the accepted belief was that Paleoindians – the first people to enter the Americas – arrived about 12,000 years ago by crossing a land bridge which once connected present-day Russia and Alaska. More recently, new scientific and archaeological evidence suggests that migrations into the western hemisphere occurred closer to 16,000 years ago and were considerably more complex than a single migration from Asia. Join Dr. Kurt Carr, Senior Curator of Archaeology, for a discussion about these new findings and what they tell us about the arrival of Paleoindians in the Americas.
State Museum Director Beth Hager interviews a variety of colleagues and special guests to highlight special exhibits, programs, and initiatives at the museum. This program will pre-recorded and released on social media.