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Ingenuity and Tradition: Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands
Today, body ink, piercings, and unusual hairstyles are common fashion choices.  Through the 18th century, however, ritual tattooing, the decoration of ears and noses, and hair ornamentation were visual representations of some of the values and traditions of indigenous Iroquois and Algonquian peoples. By exploring these practices, as well as the development and utilization of handmade tools and weapons, hunting and farming practices, food preparation and preservation, and clothing production, we can better understand the effective use of resources, cultural expectations, and belief systems of the proud people who once controlled Pennsylvania and whose traditions continue into the present day.

Why Are They Wearing That? Life in Colonial and Early America
When we put on our favorite t-shirts, they reflect far more than where we shop, our favorite sports teams, preferred musical groups, or political viewpoints. Material culture, such as clothing, is a window into time and place. Inanimate objects are more than interesting they are innately able to relay information about technology, economics, resources, transportation, and, of course, culture.  Using textiles as a primary resource, layer by fascinating layer, we will literally step into the world of the 18th century. As participants dress in period correct attire, they will be learning not only how to interpret the past but also how current material culture reflects contemporary values and resources.

“Rioters at Heart”: Scots-Irish and the French and Indian War
Over 250 years ago, traditional and guerilla warfare waged throughout Pennsylvania. Due to its strategic geographic composition and the nature of its population, the central region was vital during this critical standoff over territory and commerce. While France and England warred over empire, harrowing and dynamic stories were being forged, native populations were transformed, and the seeds of a new nation were sown. This program is a great opportunity to teach about the significance of local history in the midst of global conflict.

 The Amazing Dr. Rush: Medicine in Colonial and Early America
 More than one of the most accomplished physicians and medical teachers of his generation, Dr. Benjamin Rush was also a staunch patriot, advocate for the poor, avid abolitionist, progressive for prison reform, and the father of American psychiatry. His philosophies on medicine would guide the profession through to the Civil War. We will delve into the incredible life of this riveting figure, a man who was hailed for routinely poisoning, bleeding, purging, burning and blistering patients.  Learn about the cultural and technological limits of the 18th and early 19th centuries and why extreme therapies were the trademarks of the time.  You may be surprised by ways in which modern treatments are based upon our nation’s early history.

Real American Heroes: Central Pennsylvania in the American Revolution
“No taxation without representation,” is a familiar cry of the American Revolution. Years before the Declaration of Independence, the men and women of Central Pennsylvania, keenly aware of their lack of representation in government, had actively mobilized against the tyranny of British rule. Expert Scots-Irish and German riflemen, led by fiercely patriotic individuals hardened by the French and Indian War, became instrumental to the outcome. We will not only explore the stories of amazing men who shouldered economic and physical hardship, but also the role local women who endured and likewise embodied the spirit of the fight.

“Dr. Vampire”: Benjamin Rush and the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
Showered with honors and gifts by European nobility but derided as “Dr. Vampire” by angry Philadelphians, no one observed the epicenter of the plague as thoroughly as Dr. Benjamin Rush.  In 1793, experience, vision, and foresight prompted Dr. Rush to attempt radical ideas to reduce the spread and impact of the disease. Politicians, merchants, and citizens refused to implement his theories. Aided by gunpowder, vinegar, mercury, chocolate, tapioca, cold baths, and cutting instruments, Rush took heroic and controversial measures to treat his patients. We will immerse ourselves in the tragic events of 1793 and conclude with the groundbreaking research of Walter Reed in the early 1900s.