Friday, January 16, 2015

Archaeology Exhibit at the PA Farm Show

Here we are again, a new year and the grand event of the Pennsylvania Farm Show. The 99th annual PA Farm Show began last Saturday January 10, 2015 and runs through tomorrow Saturday January 17 at 5 p.m. As in past years, The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s exhibit is set up in the Family Living section, located in the main exhibition hall of the Farm Show Agricultural Complex. In cooperation with the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum we have put together quite an exhibit. This year’s exhibit demonstrates how environmental changes have contributed to the social and technological adaptations of humans in Pennsylvania beginning around 19,000 years ago.  The exhibit features artifacts ranging in time from the Paleoindian period to the Late Woodland and includes projectile points, scrapers, knives, bola stones, net sinkers, adzes, axes, grinding stones, pottery, bone fish hooks, pestles and more. Our exhibit also includes informative panels discussing how the environment changed throughout these prehistoric periods and the responses by humans, which we can see through the artifacts and floral and faunal remains.

The State Museum’s Janet Johnson preparing the exhibit cases

The State Museum’s Kurt Carr speaking with visitors looking at an exhibit case

State Museum of Pennsylvania 2015 Farm Show Exhibit

Don’t forget that our 20 foot long replica dugout canoe is also featured in the exhibit. Everyone is welcome to stop by and test it out by climbing in and imagining how it would have been to live hundreds of years ago with this as one of your main modes of transportation. While taking a “ride” in the canoe you can read our poster and look at the photos about how dugout canoes were made and how the State Museum’s archaeologists and volunteers made the exact canoe you are sitting in through traditional methods with traditional stone tools.

Visitors enjoying the dugout canoe at The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s exhibit

Members of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology (SPA), as in years past, will be on hand offering information about the organization and answering questions. If you are interested in joining the SPA; new memberships include the biannual journal Pennsylvania Archaeologist, announcements of the annual SPA meeting, newsletters and as a special Farm Show bonus of three previous issues of the SPA journal will be included. So stop on by and see what SPA is all about!

SPA’s Ken Burkett on hand to answer questions

 In addition to the State Museum’s artifacts and panels, this year the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum has put together a display with additional brochures and booklets about events happening at the museum. There is also information about their Heirloom Seed Project, which preserves Pennsylvania’s past through heirloom vegetables and plants that were significant to Pennsylvania Germans from 1750 to 1940.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum display

Thus far, the 99th annual PA Farm Show has given us the opportunity to reach thousands of individuals with a current count at 32,736 and a projected count of 46,128 visitors total for the week. With a visitor count like this we have been able to disperse thousands of brochures, magazines, posters, tattoos, and free planetarium show tickets. Most of all the PA Farm Show has always given us the opportunity to share our knowledge of Pennsylvania’s past with all those who take a moment to stop by, sit in the canoe and chat with our volunteers and staff. We hope to see those of you who have not already visited tomorrow to let us share a little of Pennsylvania’s history and archaeology with you.


2014    Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology Membership.

For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .

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