Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
About the Honorees
Recipient of the PNC Bank Volunteer of the Year Award
Roy Ziegler has been a member of the New Hope Historical Society for more than 20 years and has served in almost every role, from docent to president. He is the author of two books: New Hope, Pennsylvania: River Town Passages and The Parrys of Philadelphia and New Hope. His latest project is the production of a video documentary commemorating the 200th anniversary in 2014 of the bridge between New Hope and Lambertville. Ziegler wrote the New Hope walking tour and is chair of the annual New Hope History Day. The New Hope Historical Society is located at the Parry Mansion, the home of the “Father of New Hope” Benjamin Parry, built in 1784. The society runs many programs including a speaker series, a college scholarship, and mansion and garden tours. For more information, visit http://newhopehs.org/.
American Helicopter Museum and Education Center
Recipient of The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation Award for Excellence in a Community Partnership Project
Built in 1996, the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester is the only museum dedicated to helicopters in the United States. The mission of the museum is to teach the history of innovation and design that went into building helicopters to get people excited about science and technology. The Philadelphia area is rich in helicopter history, serving as home to numerous pioneers and manufacturers. The museum has 35 full-size helicopters in its collection including designs by helicopter pioneers Arthur Young, Frank Piasecki and Igor Sikorsky, as well as an archival collection of more than 18,000 items. The museum is being honored for its University Public History Program in which students from West Chester University worked with volunteers to write an audio script for each exhibit. The museum also offers a Women in Aerospace and Technology Program, where college girls (mentored by women in science and technology fields) teach young girls in grades K-12. The program is intended to get girls excited about science. For more information, visit www.americanhelicopter.museum.
Recipient of The Eli Kirk Price Award for Excellence in a Community Partnership Project
In 2007, Keith Lockhart started Delawarecountyhistory.com to digitize parts of his personal history collection and share them with the public. The site is for both dedicated and casual historians. It contains information such as 18th-century tax records, 19th-century marriage records, postcards, maps, and much more. The site is being honored for its partnership with the Delaware County Historic and Preservation Network (DCHPN), which was created as a result of a Public History Feasibility Study and Implementation Plan that included more than 80 Delaware County historical organizations. DCHPN fosters better communication and cooperation between historic societies all over the county. Through the creation of the network and the Delaware County PA History Facebook page, members are able to work together to promote history more efficiently than before. There is also a new program updating the Historical Site Survey originally done as a work program in 1936. For more information, visit http://delawarecountyhistory.com/index.html and www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-County-Historic-and-Preservation-Network/222244581120563.
Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion
Recipient of The Beneficial Insurance Services Award for Excellence in Education and Public Programming
The Philadelphia mansion was built by middle-class cloth merchant Ebenezer Maxwell in 1859, the same year he married his second cousin Anna Smith. The couple and their six children lived in the mansion until 1862 when Ebenezer sold it to William and Rosalie Hunter. The Hunters lived there with their five children when William died in 1867 and Rosalie married Howard Stevenson. The Stevensons had a daughter Augusta Rosalie “Gussie” who lived in the house until her death in 1956. The house is decorated in two different time periods; upstairs to the 1880s following the centennial celebration in Philadelphia and downstairs to the 1860s during the Civil War and Industrial Revolution. There are two gardens divided in similar segments in front and behind the house fashioned after the designs of Andrew Jackson Downing (1850-60) and Frank Scott (1870-80), respectively. The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is being honored for its Upstairs/Downstairs Interpretation, which focuses on the lives of women of all socioeconomic backgrounds during the Victorian era. Other programs at the mansion include Victorian craft workshops, lectures, and a Victorian theatre program. The website also features a new blog with the diary of Germantown resident Charles Weygandt, which gives insight into Philadelphia life in the 19th century. For more information, visit http://ebenezermaxwellmansion.org/.
Recipient of The Drexel University Award for Excellence in Education and Public Programming
Grumblethorpe was built in 1744 in Germantown by wealthy wine merchant John Wister as a summer home for him and his family. Four generations of Wisters lived there, including his grandson Charles, who was an accomplished astronomer, chemist, and botanist. Charles named the house Grumblethorpe after reading the 19th-century novel Thinks I to Myself. The house contains antiques from the Wister family’s 260-year history and a working garden, whose produce is sold at the farm stand every Saturday during the summer. Grumblethorpe is being honored for its year-round Youth Volunteer Program for kids in 6th grade through high school who learn how to give tours, take care of the two-acre garden, run the farm stand, and many other life skills. The program was started in 2005 when the education director noticed that the teenagers who dropped off their younger siblings for summer camp hung around with nothing to do. The program has expanded to around 20 volunteers and has become a source of pride throughout the Germantown community. Through its other education programs, Grumblethorpe serves more than 1,500 kids annually. For more information, visit www.philalandmarks.org/grum.aspx.
Newtown Square Historical Society
Recipient of The Award for Excellence in Education and Public Programming
Founded in 1984, the Newtown Square Historical Society educates the community about its rich heritage and preserves local historic sites. One of these sites is the Paper Mill House, a 19th-century house that served as a general store and as a home for mill workers and their families. The Newtown Square Historical Society is being honored for its Paper Mill House School Tour, in which homeschoolers of all ages interpret history and act as tour guides for local fourth grade classes. The homeschoolers dress in costumes, dance, and act to portray life in the 19th century. The tour has four different sections. The first includes touring the ruins of an old paper mill outside the house, seeing the old kitchen and learning a traditional dance. The second portion is a tour of the general store, as well as skits by the homeschoolers that illustrate life of the workers in the mill house. The third features a Q&A, a map demonstration, and interaction with old tools. The fourth section is an activity room where students can choose different activities such as using a two-man saw, making butter, doing laundry by hand, and period dress up. The Newtown Square Historical Society also runs other historic houses and programs year-round. For more information, visit www.historicnewtownsquare.org.
Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust
Recipient of The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts Award for Excellence in Stewardship and Collections Care
The Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust was founded in 1992 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, management, and development of historic properties in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. The organization is being honored for its long and short-term leasing program, which finds new and innovative uses for historic buildings in the park by leasing them to commercial and nonprofit organizations. There are currently 13 long-term and 10 short-term leases. These include Fox Chase Farm, which is leased to the Philadelphia School District and continues to be a working and educational farm. The Trust also leases Ridgeland Mansion to the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia for free services to cancer patients and their families, which attract more than 10,000 people annually. Other popular properties are the Centennial Café at Ohio House from the Centennial celebration in Philadelphia and the Trolley Car Café, a restored bath house from the 1920s. The Trust also runs outreach and education programs and has instructed more than 100 interns in hands-on conservation and preservation. In addition, it partners with local schools such as Temple University, Philadelphia University, and the University of Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://fairmountparktrust.org/index.php.
Perkasie Historical Society
Recipient of The Nathan and Karen Raab Award for Excellence in Stewardship and Collections Care
Perkasie Historical Society, founded in 1954, purchased the former Lehigh Valley Trolley Transit Station in 1990 for a dollar given to Private First Class Henry Hager by the Community Service Group. This group gave a dollar monthly to Perkasie-area men serving in World War II. The Transit Station was built in 1912 and was part of the Liberty Bell Line, which connected Philadelphia and Allentown and carried both people and freight. Until 2012, the building had been mostly used for storage until a local Eagle Scout approached the society about restoring it. The society is being honored for the restoration of its museum and reorganization and preservation of its collection, which started in May 2012 and included a number of community partnerships. Volunteers and contractors donated both time and supplies. The historical society in partnership with community organizations hosts many programs through their museum. World War I and World War II archives were displayed during Perkasie Springfest in May 2013. Additionally, the society workedwith the fire company to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1988 Perkasie Fire. The society is home to more than 500 collections, including newspapers, photographs, cigar factory archives, and local artwork. For more information, visit www.perkasiehistory.org.
Upper Darby Historical Society
Recipient of The Howard and Maxine Lewis Director’s Award
Upper Darby Historical Society was founded in 1984. The Township purchased Collen Brook Farm in 1989 and it was opened to the public in 1998. The property was originally bought by Welsh Quaker immigrant Ralph Lewis in 1692. The house and barn were built circa 1710 by Lewis’s son Abraham. In 1829, Dr. George Smith moved into the house with his wife, Mary, a descendent of Ralph Lewis. Dr. George Smith was a Pennsylvania state senator who served on the Senate Education Committee and organized the existing private schools into the Upper Darby School District, serving as president of the School Board for 25 years. The Historical Society is being honored for its Collen Brook Farm School Tours, in which volunteer guides give tours every spring to 1,000 third grade students. They learn about life in the 19th-century as they rotate among five stations touring the house, churning butter, experiencing a one-room school, playing early games, and using tools in the carriage house. They are amazed to learn their dense neighborhoods were once farms. For more information, visit http://udhistory.org/
Amtrak: Arrive magazine
Recipient of The CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia Award for Leadership by a For-Profit Organization for Effective Heritage Tourism and Marketing
Arrive is Amtrak’s Acela train’s onboard magazine for Northeast “Power Corridor” business and leisure travelers. It provides millions of passengers with vital information and welcome entertainment to help make most of visits to the major destination cities of the Northeastern United States. The goal of Arrive, which is published bimonthly, is to provide a unique and intelligent view of America’s most compelling urban centers of commerce, government, and the arts, as well as serve as a guide to current events, exhibitions, and attractions in the region. In 2012, Arrive won the industry’s “Best Overall Editorial” award for its special Education Issue, featuring President Bill Clinton on the cover and citing his work with the Clinton Global Initiative. Arrive is the perfect travel partner—a knowledgeable guide and an entertaining companion. For more information, visit www.arrivemagazine.com.