State Museum Offering Monthly Home School Programs

Homeschooled children will have the rare opportunity to participate in a series of six educational programs through the State Museum of Pennsylvania.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE | On Sept. 19, 2022, The State Museum of Pennsylvania announced a new series of Pennsylvania-focused programs for homeschoolers. Beginning in October, State Museum curators and educators will introduce a new monthly program for the next six months. Home school students and their families can participate in guided tours, discussions with museum staff, and hands-on family activities. 

Here is the upcoming program schedule:

Oct. 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.

Nov. 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.

Dec. 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.

Jan. 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.

Feb. 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.”

Mar. 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 processes 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 run from 10 – 11:30 am. There is a $3 fee for State Museum members and a $10 fee for nonmembers. Participation is limited and at least one adult must register with each family. The deadline to register is the day before each event. Those who register for all six events by Oct. 1, 2022, will receive one free program. Call 717-772-6997 or email to register.

More information is available on the State Museum of Pennsylvania websiteFacebook, and Twitter.