As a resident of southern Pennsylvania, it isn’t hard to forget how rich our local history really is. Whether you’re interested in Native American history or the Civil War era, we have a little bit of everything. So here’s a guide to some of the best local hot spots for any history buff:
Indian Steps Museum: Airville, PA
Located along the Susquehanna River in southern York County, the land surrounding Indian Steps Museum contains several nature trails, a picnic pavilion, and the oldest known American Holly Tree.
Inside, there are three stories to explore with room after room of intriguing exhibits. Not only does the museum boast a great deal of local history, it contains artifacts from tribes all across the United States. From baskets to arrowheads to moccasins, Indian Steps really has it all!
Originally built as a summer cabin, the museum has always been intended to preserve the memories and traditions of Native Americans. Completed in 1912, the building itself is composed entirely of chestnut and river rock, not to mention over one thousand artifacts which date back prior to 1,000 BC. The one setback to the structure is the fact that it is nearly impossible to heat; thus, it is only able to stay open from April through October.
Additionally, Indian Steps Museum is a non-profit organization which functions in cooperation with the Conservation Society of York County, and there is no set rate of admission. The museum is maintained entirely on the donations and generosity of the public.
For more information, check out http://www.indiansteps.org/index.html.
The American Civil War Museum: Gettysburg, PA
Located on Steinwehr Avenue in historic Gettysburg, the American Civil War Museum outlines the entire era of the civil war, including the Battle of Gettysburg. Known locally as simply “the wax museum,” it not only concentrates on the impacts of the war, but also the individual economical, social, and political causes-which any true historian can appreciate!
At the American Civil War Museum, visitors are can explore several halls of life-sized dioramas which aid in the overall recreation of the Civil War experience. For the finale, visitors are not only able to enter a special digitally enhanced auditorium which provides a replicated illustration of the actual Battle of Gettysburg, but it is followed up with an animation of Abraham Lincoln’s deliverance of the Gettysburg Address.
For any tourists and locals alike, the American Civil War Museum never disappoints! Whether attending one of the special events or just checking it out for fun, this is a truly interactive experience which is great for children, but also for adults!
Need more information? Go to http://www.gettysburgmuseum.com/index.asp.
Landis Valley Museum: Lancaster, PA
Located in the beautiful countryside of Lancaster County, the Landis Valley museum is the recreation of an actual historical village. The museum works to preserve the local German heritage by allowing visitors to experience a day in the life of a rural settler. With over 100 acres of land, a real farm, a multitude of historic buildings to explore, and tons of artifacts to examine, visitors will definitely not be at a loss for things to see and do at Landis Valley.
I highly recommend the museum and with admission rates ranging from $8.00 for youth aged 3-11 to $12.00 for adults, a day at Landis Valley is definitely money well spent. The museum is open year-round and welcomes groups and field trips and even hosts parties and weddings. They also offer lots of interesting classes and workshops!
For more information, check out http://www.landisvalleymuseum.org/index.php.