The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission began welcoming visitors to the Trails of History sites and museums with reduced hours of operation and limited capacity on Friday, April 30. PHMC’s Trails of History facilities are unique and protocols may vary from site to site.
Click here to review the guidelines that apply at all properties.
In Pennsylvania, all roads lead to history.
To help find your path, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) has blazed several special-interest trails leading to some of Pennsylvania’s most historic sites. We invite you to explore one site at a time, travel an entire trail, or create your own road trip to Pennsylvania’s past.
No matter whether you choose one of our classic trails, a trail based on PHMC’s annual themes, or if you blaze your own, we’re sure it will lead you to experience and embrace the people, places, and events that make Pennsylvania so special.
History is just ahead! With over 300 years of American history at your fingertips, which trail will YOU take? Follow Pennsylvania Trails of History through our nation’s farming, industrial, military and community roots. Jump in the car, fill the tank and spend a day traveling back through the centuries. Plan your journey today!
For more information about the Pennsylvania Trails of History and it's journey through our nation's farming, industrial, military and community roots CLICK HERE!
Brandywine Battlefield Park (Brandywine, PA)
Experience the largest land battle of the American Revolution.
The Battle of Brandywine was the largest single day engagement of the American Revolution where nearly 30,000 soldiers (not including civilians, teamsters, servants, and other members of the army) squared off on a ten square mile area of roughly 35,000 acres. Today’s battlefield landscape encompasses nearly fifteen different municipalities with the main gateway of interpretation being our park. Brandywine Battlefield Park is simply a 52-acre park that was the epicenter of George Washington’s continental encampment but is often mistaken as being the entire battlefield itself.
Bushy Run Battlefield (Jeannette, PA)
Bushy Run Battlefield preserves and interprets for citizens and visitors the site of this pivotal battle fought between British and Native Americans during the conflict known as Pontiac’s War (1763-64) and the role of this British victory in maintaining control of North America.
Colonel Henry Bouquet and a force of approximately 400 British soldiers left Carlisle in July to relieve the besieged Fort Pitt and end a series of unchecked attacks against frontier outposts. The opening of western Pennsylvania to settlement was the result of a decisive victory over the Native Americans at the Battle of Bushy Run, August 5th and 6th, 1763. Highlights of the site include the interpretive exhibit, “The March to Bushy Run” at the site’s visitor center, as well as guided and self-guided tours, special events, and educational programs.
Conrad Weiser Homestead (Womelsdorf, PA)
Conrad Weiser’s historical contributions to Pennsylvania simply cannot be overlooked. Weiser was predominantly responsible for negotiating every major treaty between the colonial settlers in Pennsylvania and the Iroquois Nations from 1731 until 1758.
The story of Conrad Weiser and the historic site is told through an exhibit located in three different buildings. The Visitor Center with two galleries dedicated to Conrad Weiders’ career and accomplishments; The Weiser House with an exhibit gallery and a furnished period room; and The Education Center houses an exhibit gallery that explains what happened to the site after his death. Visitors are also encouraged to discover the Spring House, the Gravesite and the landscaped park grounds.
The tour of the Weiser Homestead is self-guided; however, volunteers are happy to answer any questions and provide additional information upon request.
Cornwall Iron Furnace (Cornwall, PA)
Cornwall Furnace is indeed a unique survivor of the early American iron industry. Originally built by Peter Grubb in 1742, the furnace underwent extensive renovations in 1856-57 under its subsequent owners, the Coleman family, and closed in 1883. It is this mid-19th century ironmaking complex which survives today. At Cornwall, furnace, blast equipment, and related buildings still stand as they did over a century ago. Here visitors can explore the rambling Gothic Revival buildings where cannons, stoves, and pig iron were cast, and where men labored day and night to satisfy the furnace’s appetite for charcoal, limestone, and iron ore.
Daniel Boone Homestead (Birdsboro, PA)
The Daniel Boone Homestead (DBH) is a historical site in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania that tells the story of Daniel Boone’s youth in Pennsylvania’s Oley Valley and illuminates the daily lives of the region’s 18th-century settlers through the eyes of the Boone, Maugridge and DeTurk families who occupied the site.
Discover this diverse region that impacted Daniel Boone’s life and PA’s history. Join us for hands-on activities, living-history demonstrations, historic tours and more. Don't forget to pack your sneakers to carry you along our hiking trails and a lunch to enjoy in one of our picnic areas!
Drake Well Museum (Titusville, PA)
Visit Drake Well Museum and Park where in 1859 the Drake Well struck oil, launching an industry that has forever shaped our modern world.
Using orientation films, exhibits, operating oil field machinery, historic buildings and more, Drake Well Museum and Park tells the story of the petroleum industry’s birth in Pennsylvania and its growth into the global enterprise it is today.
Visitors to the museum’s 240-acre site enjoy a variety of special events, educational programs, membership, volunteer, shopping and recreational experiences.
Eckley Miners’ Village (Weatherly, PA)
Nestled among the coal fields of Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania, Eckley is an example of a planned 19th-century industrial coal mining town showing visitors what life was like during the time when “coal was king.”
Today, Eckley is a museum representing the lives of the immigrant anthracite coal miners and their families. Come for a visit and experience life in northeastern Pennsylvania coal patch towns during the time when coal was an essential industrial fuel. Visit the Visitors’ Center exhibitions, take a guided tour, plan a trip around a living history event, and learn more about housing and daily lives within the village.
Ephrata Cloister (Ephrata, PA)
Welcome to Historic Ephrata Cloister, Preserving a Legacy of William Penn’s Holy Experiment.
Since its start in 1732, the Historic Ephrata Cloister has attracted visitors fascinated by the community’s unique lifestyle that allowed the creation of incredible architecture, original music, significant publications, and remarkable art. Originally, Ephrata was a retreat from worldly distractions where devoted members followed a disciplined life designed to prepare them for a heavenly existence. Today, you can explore the surviving historic site and discover the history and culture of an intriguing story in the nation’s past.
Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara (Erie, PA)
The Erie Maritime Museum opened in May 1998. As homeport of the U.S. Brig Niagara, it presents the story of the Niagara as the reconstructed flagship of Pennsylvania and the warship that won the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Offering a wide range of multi-media and interactive exhibits and coupled with lively interpretative programs, Erie Maritime Museum vividly illustrates Niagara’s history and the region’s rich maritime history.
Fort Pitt Museum (Pittsburgh, PA)
The Fort Pitt Museum, located in historic Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh, is a two-floor, 12,000-square foot museum that tells the story of Western Pennsylvania’s pivotal role during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and as the birthplace of Pittsburgh.
Graeme Park (Horsham, PA)
Graeme Park is a 42-acre historic park, featuring the Keith House, the only surviving residence of a Colonial Pennsylvania Governor. The mansion has remained virtually intact since the late 18th century. It was home to Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson, who famously hosted her literary “Attic Evenings.” A visit to Graeme Park is nature trails, a picnic lunch, and a visit with the politicians, physicians, patriots, loyalists, poets, and writers who frequented the Keith House. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GraemeParkHorsham
Hope Lodge (Fort Washington, PA)
Hope Lodge was built between 1743-47 by Samuel Morris, a prosperous Quaker entrepreneur. Morris acted as a farmer, shipowner, miller, ironmaster, shop owner, and owner of the mill now known as Mather Mill. Hope Lodge is an excellent example of early Georgian architecture, and it is possible that Edmund Wollery, architect of Independence Hall, offered advice in building.
Joseph Priestley House (Northumberland, PA)
The Joseph Priestley House is an historic site that preserves and interprets the contributions and significance to American history of Joseph Priestley, noted English theologian, educator, natural philosopher, and political theorist. As a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Chemical Landmark, the site features Priestley’s manor house with its laboratory wing situated along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River at Northumberland, PA – the place Priestley called home from 1794-1804. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph-Priestley-House-Museum-183615968366918
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (Lancaster, PA)
Landis Valley Museum, a living history village and farm, collects, preserves, and interprets the history and material culture of the Pennsylvania German rural community from 1740 to 1940 and enhances understanding of their successful practices, interactions with others, and the impact on the state and nations for citizens of and visitors to the Commonwealth.
Old Economy Village (Ambridge, PA)
The Harmonists, a Christian communal society, founded the Old Economy Village in 1824. The Harmonists were known for their piety, as well as for the economic successes in textile manufacturing, including silk production, and later in the oil and railroad industries. The village features gardens and 17 buildings furnished with original artifacts. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oldeconomyvillage
Pennsbury Manor (Morrisville, PA)
The recreated country home of William Penn in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, provides a peaceful contrast to the hurry of modern American life. The construction of the original manor was an expression of Penn’s belief that life in the country was more wholesome than in the worldly atmosphere of crowded cities. Exhibits, programs, and tours of the site explore William Penn’s “Holy Experiment,” his family, and other people who lived, worked, and visited at Pennsbury, including stewards, servants, Native Americans, and enslaved people.
Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum (Scranton, PA)
The Anthracite Heritage Museum tells the story of the people who came from Europe to work in the anthracite mining and textile industries. Visitors will experience the lives of proud people who endured harsh working conditions, yet carved out communities filled with tradition. The diverse collection highlights life in the mines, mills, and factories. Visitors are welcomed into the family’s homes and neighborhoods with a moment of reflection in the kitchen, a visit to the pub, or a seat in a local church. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anthraciteheritagemuseum
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum (Galeton, PA)
The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum preserves and interprets the colorful heritage of the Commonwealth’s prosperous lumber era when white pine and hemlock were the wealth of the nation. Exhibits also explore the birth of professional forestry and modern forest management practices. Take a tour of the grounds where a 1912 Shay-geared logging locomotive, Barnhart Log Loader, Brookville Locomotive, and restored CCC Cabin are on display.
Pennsylvania Military Museum (Boalsburg, PA)
The Pennsylvania Military Museum recounts the story of Commonwealth citizens who served our county in defense of the nation. Their service is highlighted through exhibits and artifacts that are documented by the museum’s excellent collection of vehicles, uniforms and other personal effects, and small arms.
Pennsylvania State Archives (Harrisburg, PA)
Established in 1903, the State Archives is the official repository for permanently valuable government records dating back to the founding of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1681.
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Strasburg, PA)
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania houses one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world. Devoted to preserving and interpreting the broad impact of railroad development on society, the Museum displays over 100 locomotives and cars from the mid-19th and 20th centuries, including the priceless Pennsylvania Railroad Historical Collection, and houses extensive exhibits of railroad artifacts, plus priceless art work, books, photographs, and corporate railroad material.
Scranton Iron Furnace (Scranton, PA)
Located near the Steamtown National Historic Site, the Scranton Iron Furnaces represent the early iron industry in the United States. The four massive stone blast furnaces are the remnants of a once extensive plant operated by the Lackawanna Iron & Steel Company. Started in 1840 as Scranton, Grant & Company, the firm had the largest iron production capacity in the United States by 1865. By 1880, it poured 125,000 tons of pig iron, which was converted in its rolling mill and foundry into T-rails and other end products.
Somerset Historical Center (Somerset, PA)
The Somerset Historical Center is a 150-acre rural history museum located 4 miles north of the town of Somerset, Pennsylvania. The Somerset Historical Center preserves the history of life in rural southwestern Pennsylvania from the times of the region’s first farmers to the present day through exhibits, workshops, and educational programs.
The State Museum of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, PA)
The State Museum of Pennsylvania is located adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA and is the official museum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania's story is America's story.
Washington Crossing Historic Park (Washington Crossing, PA)
Washington Crossing Historic Park is where Washington's army crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Night, 1776. The Lower Park includes the Visitor's Center and the Village of Taylorsville. The Upper Park includes the Thompson-Neely House and Farmstead, the Soldiers' Graves, and Bowman's Hill Tower. Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve is located on the north side of Bowman's Hill but is managed by a separate non-profit organization.