Renovation: This season our crew under chief Ron Bungay completed the Children's Area and with the help of twenty ALDHA members on Columbus Day started work on the second and third floors, which will be the new main Museum entrance. Ron also disassembled the Devils Racecourse shelter in preparation for its use as an exhibit. The crew led by Jack Adams plans to finish the entrance ramp to the second floor by Spring.
We will celebrate our progress by dedicating the Children's Area in June during our Hall of Fame weekend. We hope this Children's Festival will be the biggest event at the Museum since the Grand Opening.
The ground floor work is funded in part by an $18,000 grant from the Cumberland County Visitors Bureau, a generous supporter of the Museum from our inception. Part of the work involved installing heating and air conditioning units. The new climate control will make visiting the Museum more comfortable and help to preserve our exhibits. We also installed the first of the Children's exhibits, which were designed by Gwen Loose and Graphik Masters.
Collection: Our collection continues to grow with a wide variety of unusual items. Among the additions to the collection this year were many artifacts of Nimblewill Nomad, a prolific and charismatic hiker. A colorful cast iron plaque from the Delaware Water Gap is now on display in our sign exhibit area, courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Dave Sherman traced the plaque's fascinating history with a wide ranging research effort. The plaque ties together many of the strands of the A.T.'s early history.
David Field donated some bunk poles from the historic Poplar Ridge Shelter in Maine. He had helped to install the poles in 1961 and to remove them 54 years later.
Other items donated included a large geologic map from the International Appalachian Trail, many trail registers, surveys from early thru-hikers by Susan Gail Arey and additional books from Roger Williamson and Linda Patton (for the children's library). To house this growing collection, we expanded our storage space in Carlisle.
Memberships: Membership Secretary Robert "Red Wolf" Croyle has grown the membership to 488 individual members, sent out more than 129,000 emails to our list of 4,100 contacts and increased visits to the Museum's thread on Whiteblaze.net to more than 116,700. He did membership and sales tables at Trail Days, the Biennial, and the Gathering.
Building Fund Campaign: The campaign, which runs from 2013 to 2016, has now raised $165,000, exceeding the goal of $150,000. The campaign will be commemorated with a plaque listing donors' names to be dedicated in June 2017. The fund will help pay for the renovation of the Museum's Old Mill home. The opportunity to be listed on the plaque ends Dec. 31, 2016.
Museum Store: Museum Manager Joe Harold expanded offerings and brought in an improved credit card system. The offerings include new books; note cards with pictures of Museum exhibits; and a Captain Stupid t-shirt designed by Margy Schmidt. The Captain is the lead character in "Thru: An Appalachian Trail Love Story" by pioneer Thru-Hiker Richard Judy. The Museum also continues to distribute "A Grip on the Mane of Life," an Authorized Biography of Earl V. Shaffer by David Donaldson and Maurice J. Forrester. Both books are available for the holidays at the Museum's website, atmuseum.org, at a 10 percent discount.
Earl Shaffer Foundation: The Museum continued its long standing partnership with the Earl Shaffer Foundation by agreeing to provide storage and fulfillment for the Foundation's books and other products.
Website: The Museum's website was redesigned by webmaster Alan "Gonzo" Strackeljahn, Board Member Jim Foster and Joe Harold. Along with a fresh look, the website now includes a Museum store.
Landscaping: Georgia Freet manages our outdoor plantings of native wild flowers and grasses. Georgia also oversaw the planting this fall of a serviceberry tree near the Museum in honor of one of our most dedicated volunteers, Katy Sexton, who passed away last year.
Eagle Scout Project: A local Boy Scout, Ali, completed his Eagle project -- rebuilding our fire ring and building two picnic tables and a wood storage bin.
Publicity: Joe Harold was featured in a new documentary, "Trail Magic," about Grandma Gatewood. The Museum is participating in a community reading project by Longwood Gardens. They are featuring the book, "Grandma Gatewood's Walk," by Ben Montgomery. Libraries throughout eastern and central Pennsylvania, including the Cumberland County Libraries, are participating.
The Museum will also appear in a segment of "Mystery at the Museum," on the Travel Channel. It's currently scheduled for 9 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2016. The segment was filmed at the Museum in May.
Programs: The Museum continues to have a full program of speakers all summer on Sunday afternoons. The programs cover a wide variety of subjects related to the A.T., local history and the outdoors. Ideas for speakers and programs are welcome.
Trail Events: The Museum was represented at many A.T. related events during the course of the year. For the 17th year, the Museum had an informational table at Trail Days in Damascus, Va., and Red Wolf displayed the Museum’s A. T. Traveling Exhibit. As usual the Museum sponsored programs at the ATC Biennial meeting in July and the ALDHA Gathering in October. Joe Harold took the Museum's traveling exhibit to Monson, Maine. for the "Trails End Festival" in September, and did a program at the "Northern Ruck" in January and the first "Flip Flop Kick Off Festival" in Harpers Ferry in May.
Strategic Plan: The Museum board began work in October on a new Strategic Plan. The current plan dates to 2006, long before we found a home in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Linda Witmer, longtime head of the Cumberland County Historical Society, helped initiate the effort, which is scheduled for completion in the spring.
March 26 - May 1, Weekends only 12 pm to 4 pm.
May 7 - July 17, Every day 9 am to 4 pm.
July 18 - Aug 21, Every day 12 pm to 4 pm.
Aug 24 - Oct 30, Wed - Sun, 12 pm to 4 pm. (open Labor day and Columbus day)
Hall of Fame Banquet Friday June 3 at Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, Pa., and Children's Festival, June 4th at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
Volunteers: The A.T. Museum is always looking for new volunteers to work at the Museum, especially in our most important job, the Docent/Greeter. If you like to have pleasant and enjoyable conversations with visitors, both hiker and casual, and want to share your love of the Appalachian Trail, please contact Joe Harold.
Members & Friends: The Museum continues to need more members and more financial supporters.
Please help by following the "Support" link at the top of the page.
Thank you for your help