Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I hear those sleighbells ringing!

During the recent snow, volunteer Greg Ludwig hitched his team of horses to a beautiful sleigh and gave rides to staff and visitors on site. It doesn't get any better! Thanks Greg, we can't wait for the next snow to arrive!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bonfire Night at Landis Valley

It's a tradition that no one seems to know how long has been going on. The museum's annual Bonfire Night will take place this coming Friday evening with the "doors" opening at 6pm. While there is no admission, we ask visitors to bring canned goods to donate.

Many of the buildings will be open within the village. There will be lots of cooking going on in the Tavern. Not sure where the Tavern is located? Just follow all the good smells. The bonfire will begin at around 6:45. The Lititz Moravian Trombone Choir will proceed up to the steps of the hotel while playing holiday music along the way. Following a welcome, all are invited to sing around the fire! At 8pm the doors of the Yellow Barn will open and everyone is invited to come in and warm up with hot mulled cider and cookies. Oh and don't forget the horse drawn rides beside the hotel. They are free but donations are always welcome.

This is a special night at the museum. There are families and friends that attend every year - regardless of the weather! We hope that you can join us this year.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Here are a few random pictures from the 50th annual Harvest Days from October.

Volunteer Bruce Hoover talks about the Pennsylvania Long Rifle.

Volunteer Larry Hess talks about stills.

LVM staff member Tom Martin pulls a beautifully baked apple pie out of the wood-fired brick oven.

Making a rope is a very popular activity at Harvest Days

Even our American Lineback cow Sarah needs a snack, which she gets here from a few new friends!

Volunteer Rick Brouse assists in making home-made apple butter.

Volunteer Mike Elmer, along with resident Belgian horses, Ben and Sue, demonstates plowing.

50 year veteran volunteer master cabinetmaker Clair Garman talks to the next generation of LVM volunteers!

Turkey Hill, a generous corporate sponsor of Harvest Days, delights visitors with free samples.

Folks waiting to buy their admission tickets.

Picking out just the right pumpkin from the Harvest Days "Pumpkin Patch" is a family tradition for many folks. But some people do get a bit carried away now and then!

Not to mention getting started at a very young age!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Recently a new interactive tour debuted during our Homeschool Day special event. The tour is called, "Where's Wasser", and is the brain-child of LVA staff member, Cindy Reedy.

This interactive tour is designed for the younger crowd who visits the museum and encourages them to not only get more involved during a museum visit but also to look for clues in spots that might not normally be visited.

By the way, "Wasser" is the German and Pennsylvania German word for water. My brother George and I had several dogs who went by this name. I'll have to ask George where the word as a dog's name comes from...
In any case, using a brochure with clues, questions are answered at various stations. Upon successful completion, the reward is an "I found Wasser" sticker.

I think Wasser would be proud to be a part of our museum program today!

Special thanks to former LVA employee, Nancy Landis for the wonderful rendering of Wasser!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Education is fun at LVM!

As the seasons change so do the activities in the Education Department at Landis Valley Museum. During the summer our focus is on summer camps. At Landis Valley we offer camps including the Summer Sampler and Historic Trades. At Summer Sampler the younger campers enjoyed a week of theme based activities. This year our themes were the “American Girl Doll” and “Apprenticeships.”

The American Girl Doll camp enjoyed activities from the Felicity, Samantha and Kit time periods. These activities included a Victorian Tea Party with parlor games, a price comparison lesson in the Country Store and creating a purse from a burlap sack.

The Apprenticeship camp enjoyed working with David Lunin , a furniture maker. They built their own stool and painted it with milk paint.

The older campers in Historic Trades Camp worked with master cabinet maker, Claire Garman. They built a large bench and learned how to decorate it with a Pennsylvania German technique known as wood graining. The campers were also able to enjoy a clay tablet and bead project with Mike Keller, our potter. The week was only complete after Tom Martin instructed the campers on baking in the wood-fired brick oven behind the Tavern. They tried recipes from the Landis Valley Cookbook which Tom helped to write. We were also able to eat delicious hand made pizzas made in the brick oven for lunch (What a treat!).

This summer was the first time the Education Department offered summertime Hands on History Days. Families and other summer camps from the area took part in both fun filled days. Participants were treated to a lesson in the 1890s school house, processing wool, playing colonial games, learning about artifacts and making an “old fashioned” craft. Many participants also enjoyed a picnic lunch in our picnic grove and a wagon ride.

Due to their success, we will continue to offer the Hands on History Days next summer. Keep watching our web-site for updates on our fall, winter and spring activities in the Education Department and thank you for your continued support.

A quick group shot before putting their homemade pizzas into the wood-fired brick oven!

Participants with instructor Dave Lunin giving their projects the "stress" test!

If you have any questions about any of the programs offered by the Educational Department at Landis Valley Museum, please feel free to give Sheri Brown a call at 717-569-0401, ext. 228.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


There was a very recent discovery in the Landis Valley archives.

What was found was a "commutation" receipt for Henry Harrison Landis (the father of the Landis brothers).

As Henry H. was drafted for service in the Civil War on July 18, 1863 (the Battle of Gettysburg was July 1-3, 1863), he paid a commutation fee of $300 to receive discharge from further liability under the draft instituted in March of the same year. The receipt is dated August 20, 1863.

$300 in 1863 is approximately $5300 in 2009 dollars!

Although Henry obviously did not serve in the military, this still makes an interesting tie-in to our Civil War day event here at Landis Valley.

Here are a few photos from Civil War Day.

Union encampment right outside of the Jacob Landis farmhouse.

Visitors getting an explanation of Civil War military tactics.

A firing demonstration.

Our very own Mike Elmer in uniform atop of our very own horse, Lizzie. Mike is a volunteer with our Farm Program and can often be seen driving or riding our horses.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Work has begun recently on the Landis Valley House Hotel.

The Landis Valley House Hotel was built in 1856 by Jacob Landis Jr. It is an original structure standing on its original site, which is at the crossroads which met in what was once the village of Landis Valley. When a post office became part of the hotel around 1860 it put Landis Valley "on the map"!
There was a restaurant, a bar and several rooms for over-night guests. In the mid 1950s it was known for its turtle soup and 3" thick ham sandwiches.

There was also a stage coach stop at the Hotel in the late 1800s and Henry Harrison Landis often mentions going to the hotel to look for someone, to conduct business, or (in his earlier years) to get a drink. He also talks about buying a beer at the hotel for his day laborers.

Today, as there is a modern kitchen there, the Hotel is used as a rental facility for special tour luncheons or other special events such as the Victorian Valentine Dinner, a very popular event!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Landis Valley Museum is pleased to welcome Veronica Santiago Padilla to our interpretive staff.

The expression, "it is a small world" certainly applies here. While looking for educational opportunities abroad she just happened upon LVM's website and the "rest is history"! She will be with us for six weeks as a volunteer!

Veronica is from Oaxaca, Mexico and is a student at the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico, where she is majoring in International Relations.
Veronica has jumped right in to the program here and has already translated our site brochure into Spanish. As she is also fluent in French, she updated our French version as well.

You might find her interpreting in the Brothers' House or the Country Store. We are grateful for her upbeat personality, her desire to learn, and her openness and flexibility.
Last night, July 16, Veronica appeared on the local cable news program. You can view this on you tube here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


As you might know, my brother George and I collected many, many items. Although we never counted them, some people estimate that when we handed over our collections to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1953, there were upwards of 100,000 individual items!

The curatorial staff at Landis Valley today is responsible for this collection. They also try to find articles of significance that should be a part of the museum collection.

An "accession" process helps us to decide what are the best pieces to add to the collection.

Recently we managed to get a one-pint milk bottle from the Landis Valley Dairy!

This dairy was run out of what is currently called the Isaac Landis farm complex. It was run by H.H. Landis in the 1930s. He was a distant relative of ours.

Here is a photograph of one of H.H. Landis' Landis Valley Dairy trucks taken in Landis Valley.

And here is the recently acquired, one-pint bottle from the Landis Valley Dairy!

And here is a detail of the inscription on the bottle.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Staying home this summer?

Give the kids (or grandkids) the opportunity to get some fresh air, explore, run around in the grass and visit the animals! With a Family Membership to Landis Valley Museum - you can come and visit as much as you like. It's like spending a day in the country, only you don't have to drive as far!

This is old fashioned entertainment at a very affordable price. Pack a picnic lunch & blanket and come show the kids how much fun a lazy summer day can be!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Recently a film crew from Blue Ridge Channel 11 came to film an episode of "Inside Access" which is hosted by Ryan Bomgardner and his sidekick Jeffrey, pictured above.

According to the Blue Ridge Channel 11 website, "the show goes behind the scenes of attractions of Lancaster County (with some hilarious results) as well as educating audiences on issues such as health, recycling, and history."

You can learn more about Ryan and his friends here.

The episode about Landis Valley Museum is scheduled to air numerous times during the month of May, so be sure to check the Blue Ridge link above for scheduling information if you are a Blue Ridge cable customer.

We hope that Ryan and Jeffrey enjoyed their visit!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Come to the Herb & Garden Faire!

Our Herb & Garden Faire will take place on Friday & Saturday, May 8th & 9th! Hours are 9am-5pm, admission is $8, children five and under free! This is a great event for gardeners, also a nice way to spend the day. Shop or plants, seeds, art for the garden and more!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Those of us in "the Valley" this past Sunday experienced some interesting weather late in the afternoon.

A severe storm passed through the area and a tornado actually touched down west of Ephrata (a town about 10 miles away) and other areas in the county.
As you can see in the picture above, the sky turned green. While taking the picture the temperature dropped drastically and the winds must have increased five-fold.

Fortunately all we got was a torrential down pour for about ten minutes. A lot of areas saw some large hail stones.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring is almost here at Landis Valley!

Slowly, the grounds are starting to green with tiny little clusters of flowers popping up here and there. In the hoophouse of the Heirloom Seed Project, volunteers have been busy over the past few months planting seeds and now are enjoying fragrant basil and other plants that will be sold at our Herb and Garden Faire on May 8th & 9th.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Most cultures revolve around foods. Growing foods. Preparing foods. And of course, eating foods (that's the best part, isn't it?). The Pennsylvania Germans are no exception.

Landis Valley Museum, through the Landis Valley Associates (the volunteer group that supports the museum), is very pleased to announce the recent arrival of the 2nd edition of the very popular Landis Valley Cookbook.

The book is not only a collection of recipes personally tested by Tom Martin, our foodways expert, but also a wealth of information about Pennsylvania German culture and customs.

There are over 200 recipes in the book, with at least 15 new recipes not found in the first edition.

This book is illustrated with many enticing pictures by LVM staff member, Craig A. Benner, which only add to the appeal of the recipes.

For more information or to order a copy, please call the Weathervane Museum Store at 717-569-9312 or email them at weathervane@dejazzd.com.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Charter Day

William Penn received the charter for the colony of Pennsylvania from King Charles II on March 4, 1681.

To honor this great occasion today, the second Sunday in March is recognized as "Charter Day" in Pennsylvania.

Charter Day is a free admission day to all Commonwealth owned historic sites.

Landis Valley Museum saw a visitation of over 2,000 people on Charter Day.