State Museum of PA offers family-friendly events in August

July 30, 2019

The State Museum of Pennsylvania is located in downtown Harrisburg on Third Street, right beside the Capitol Complex. Inside the State Museum is a treasure trove of artifacts related to the history of notable Pennsylvanians, the history of the state and events. Below are some of the fantastic events happening at the museum this month.

StoryTime: Mix it Up! Friday, August 2, 10:30 AM
The children’s book Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet will be read in celebration of Art of the State. Young visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy the story and then explore “mixing it up” with finger paints to try and recreate the story images. StoryTime is the museum’s popular reading series for children aged 3 to 5 and is included with general admission. Space is limited. Sign-up at the Ground Floor Information Desk upon arrival.

Artist Conversations, Sunday, August 4, 2:00 PM
PHMC Executive Director Andrea Lowery and artist Amy LeFever will lead a casual tour of Art of the State, sharing insights on the exhibit. LeFever’s ceramic piece is part of this year’s show and won first prize in the craft category.

Art of the State is recognized as the official statewide juried competition for Pennsylvania artists. Jurors selected artwork from five categories: craft, painting, photography, sculpture and work on paper. The exhibit runs through September 8 and includes 110 works of art by 103 artists from 35 counties. Finalists were selected from 2,170 entries.

Art of the State is presented by The State Museum of Pennsylvania in association with the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation. The media sponsor is WITF Public Media. This program is included with general admission.

Pay As You Wish Summer Fridays
The State Museum is inviting visitors to pay what they wish for general admission on Fridays through August 23. Fees for the Planetarium and other special programs will still apply. Curiosity Connection will distribute free, limited, timed tickets for entry throughout the day.

Learn at Lunchtime

Learn at Lunchtime is a program featuring a variety of captivating lectures and presentations. This summer Learn at Lunchtime will be presented every Friday through August 23, at 12:15 PM. Learn at Lunchtime is included with Pay As You Wish admission.  

  • Friday, August 2 “Discovering the Past at Fort Hunter” Janet Johnson, curator of archaeology, The State Museum of Pennsylvania
  • Friday, August 9 “The Return of the Peregrine Falcon” Bert Myers, environmental education specialist program supervisor, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Friday, August 16 “The Secret World of the Allegheny Woodrats” Aura Stauffer, wildlife biologist, Pennsylvania Department of Conversation & Natural Resources
  • Friday, August 23 Art of the State A tour of the 2019 Art of the State exhibit with museum art docents

Nature Lab Meet the Experts
The State Museum of Pennsylvania will offer visitors the opportunity to engage with museum curators and representatives of various Pennsylvania state agencies through its Summer 2019 Meet the Experts in Nature Lab series. This program will be presented every Wednesday and Thursday through August 15, at 11:30 AM, and is included with general admission.

  • Thursday, August 1 “Measuring and Mapping in Archaeology” with The State Museum’s Archaeology Section
  • Wednesday, August 7 “Pennsylvania Wildlife” with Dr. Walter Meshaka, senior curator, Zoology and Botany, The State Museum
  • Thursday, August 8 “Chipped Stone and the Prehistoric Tool Box” with The State Museum’s Archaeology Section
  • Wednesday, August 14 “Evolution of Prehistoric Life Through Hands-On Objects” with The State Museum’s Education Department
  • Thursday, August 15 “Pots of Clay and What They Say” with The State Museum’s Archaeology Section
  • Wednesday, August 21 “Wildcats of PA: Cougar and Bobcat” with The State Museum’s Education Department

3rd in the Burg: 3rd Annual Great Summer Switch Friday, August 16, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
At the third annual Great Summer Switch, Tina Sell, director of education at the Susquehanna Art Museum, will conduct a tour at 6:00 PM of Art of the State at The State Museum. Afterward, visitors can walk up the street to the Susquehanna Art Museum for a guided tour of Picasso: A Life in Print by PHMC commissioner and artist Ophelia Chambliss. The State Museum building will open at 5:30 PM and close at 7:30 PM. This event is free as part of the 3rd in the Burg.

Curiosity Kids: Color! Thursday, August 22, 11:30 AM
Young visitors will learn about color starting in the gallery with a special children’s tour of Art of the State with Fine Arts Curator Amy Hammond. They will then explore primary and secondary colors by using finger paints and other experiments. Curiosity Kids is a program that bridges the fun of Curiosity Connection with the wonders of The State Museum of Pennsylvania. Museum educators guide parents and children aged 3 to 6 on fascinating trips through history. Hands-on experiments in science and art will offer enlightening views of the world. Curiosity Kids is funded in part by a grant from the Joseph T. and Helen M. Simpson Foundation.

Stroller Tour of Art of the State – Friday, August 23, 10:30 AM
The State Museum of Pennsylvania announces its first Stroller Tour. Parents and caregivers and their children up to roughly 18 months can enjoy a special stroller tour of the Art of the State exhibition by Fine Arts Curator Amy Hammond, who will lead an adult conversation about art.

Strollers and front carriers are permitted and so are crying babies. Fun art activities will be provided for older siblings in Village Square, adjacent to Art of the State, with supervision from museum educators and volunteers. The tour is approximately 30 minutes long and is included with general admission to the museum.

Archaeology at Kipona, Saturday, August 31 – Monday, September 2, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Archaeology staff of The State Museum will be on hand at the Kipona celebration on Harrisburg’s City Island, where they will feature the popular dugout canoe and discuss the archaeology of the island. The event is free to the public.

The Planetarium at The State Museum of Pennsylvania: The planetarium is offering two shows from June 1 through September 1.

Who Am I? (Pre-K to Grade 2) Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11:00 AM; Saturday, 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM; Sunday, 1:00 PM
It has many names, can be mysterious, and always looks right at us but doesn’t always show its face. It’s the moon, and life would be very different without it. This show, designed for young children by the Planetarium at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, is all about the moon.

Apollo 11: Man’s First Step Onto The Moon (Grade 4 and up) Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 1:00 PM; Saturday, 12:00 Noon and 2:00 PM; Sunday, 2:00 PM
The Apollo 11 moon landing was one of the most momentous times in history. This show, produced by Jenks Planetarium, follows the small steps and giant leaps made by the astronauts as they land on the moon’s surface for the first time.

Planetarium shows are $3 per person in addition to general admission. Members of the State Museum Affiliate and the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation are admitted free. Planetarium shows are subject to change without prior notification. Please check the event calendar at for the latest show dates and times.

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