Category: Educational

  • 5/1/22 to 12/23/22

    The Gilded Age at Fort Hunter Fashion Exhibit

    10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Fort Hunter Mansion

    All that glitters is not gold, or is it?  Extending from the 1870’s to 1900, between the Civil War and the turn of the Twentieth Century, the American Gilded Age was a time of rapid economic and industrial growth in the United States and a time of serious poverty and social problems as well. Glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath.

    The current, popular HBO series “The Gilded Age” focuses on the intrigue and drama of the upper-class families of New York City, showing fabulous women’s attire of the time.  Helen and John Reily lived at Fort Hunter Mansion during this time period, from their marriage in 1886 until their deaths in the 1927 and 1932.  Eleven dresses worn by Helen Reily during this time period will be on display for this exhibit.

    An added feature of interest – a prominent figure in the HBO show is Ward McAllister, played by Nathan Lane. Ward was a real-life person who was the arbiter of good taste in New York society, advisor to Lady Astor.  In real life, Ward McAllister was a great, great nephew of Fort Hunter’s builder, Archibald McAllister.  Fort Hunter’s claim to fame!


    Exhibit mannequins are often featureless and without hair. Fort Hunter is fortunate to have real, human hair wigs depicting the latest fashions in hairstyles of the late 1800’s high society on the mannequin heads.

    Thanks to Ashley Leitzel-Reichenbach, the Fort Hunter exhibit has professional wigs that truly reflect the hairstyles of the time and bring the exhibit to life.  Ashley just finished the season as Head Hair Design for the TV show “Bull” and also currently works on the  “The Gilded Age”.  Fort Hunter is honored to have such television royalty contributing to the exhibit.  Many thanks to Ashley for giving her time and tremendous talent to bring the Fort Hunter mannequins to life, the hair really does make the exhibit.


    May – December              
    Tuesday- Sunday – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
    Sunday – 12:00 – 4:30 pm
    Museum admission charged or free to Friends of Fort Hunter members
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  • 6/1/22 to 10/15/22

    Soft Plastic Collection Challenge

    4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    East Pavilion

    Can we save 500 pounds of soft plastic?

    The Friends of Fort Hunter are participating in a recycling effort that will provide a bench for Fort Hunter Park and also rid the world of 500 pounds of unwanted soft plastic.

    Under the leadership of Friends of Fort Hunter Board President, Rich Leitzel, Fort Hunter is partnering with the Trex Community Challenge to gather 500 pounds of plastics by the end of October to be eligible for a free bench made of the recycled plastic.

    Can the Fort Hunter community meet the challenge?  Start saving your plastics and drop them off at any time in the recycling boxes near each of the pavilions in the park or if you have a large collection, stop by the East Pavilion (barn side) on the dates below from 4 – 6 p.m. to meet Rich and drop off your collected plastics.

    July 6 – 4 – 6 p.m.
    Aug 10 – 4 – 6 p.m.
    Sept 7 – 4 – 6 p.m.

    Not all plastics make a bench; save these kinds of plastics:

    plastic bags
    pallet wrap/stretch film
    water bottle case wrap
    dry cleaning bags
    newspaper bags
    Ziploc and other resealable bags
    packing materials/bubblewrap
    cereal box liners

    Visit for additional information on plastic recycling and a complete list of all recyclable plastic films.

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  • 10/12/22

    Virtual Illustrated Lecture: Mira Lloyd Dock and Harrisburg's City Beautiful Movement

    7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

    In 1900, Harrisburg was considered by many to be the ugliest and dirtiest city in Pennsylvania.  Only two streets were paved, there was no water filtration, and people dumped their garbage on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Children played in the streets and alleys because Harrisburg had no public playgrounds.   Mira Lloyd Dock and her friends in the Civic Club wanted to change this.

    Virtually, join the Friends of Fort Hunter and Dr. Susan Rimby as she shares how Dock became a public icon for city beautification and improvement and convinced other influential men and women to join her in what would become a national movement.

    Now retired, Dr. Rimby was a history and social studies educator at Shippensburg University and Founding Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education at Lock Haven University.

    This illustrated talk is free but participants must register to receive the link by email, to view the lecture. An email will be sent to you, in the week prior to the lecture date, with a link and sign in instructions to view Dr. Rimby’s live talk.

    Click here to register.

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  • 10/29/22

    "Hit the Road Educational Tour" Haunting Halloween Adventure

    7:30 AM - 8:30 PM
    Centennial Barn
    Join the Friends of Fort Hunter for a trip to Philadelphia for three haunting visitations – the Eastern State Penitentiary; the home of Edgar Allan Poe and Continental Tavern. During the trip Dr. Donald Koones will provide an energetic historical review of both historical sites.

    The first stop will feature the Eastern State Penitentiary which was operational from 1829 through 1971 where famous inmates Al Capone and bank robber, Willie Sutton were imprisoned.

    The second stop was once the home of the master of suspense and horror, Edgar Allan Poe. This home witnessed his most prolific writing period producing “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Murder in the Rue Morgue”, and “The Gold Bug.” Special attention will be given to the basement which resembles a scene described in “The Black Cat”.

    The final dinner stop will be in the historic and haunted Continental Tavern , dating from 1864. This tavern concealed a stop on the “Underground Railroad”, witnessed two (2) murders, and possessed 10,000 whiskey bottles from the Prohibition Era. Finally, the tavern is haunted and visitors discuss their paranormal experiences.

    Bring a bag lunch, snacks and beverages (no cans, beverages must have lids)to eat on the bus between the Penitentiary and Poe House sites.

    Park in the Centennial Barn parking lot.  Please secure your vehicle and do not leave valuables visible in your car.

    Participants that are not members of the Friends of Fort Hunter will automatically receive an “Individual” level membership ($25 value) in the Friends of Fort Hunter with the trip ticket.
    Cost:$150 non-members; $130 members   Click here for tickets
    Trip itinerary:
    • Bus departs Fort Hunter Centennial Barn parking lot at 7:45 a.m. (please arrive for check-in by 7:30 a.m.)and returns by approximately 8:30p.m. (Please secure your vehicle)
    • Guided audio tour of Eastern State Penitentiary
    • Bring your own bag lunch
    • Escorted tour at Edgar Allan Poe Historic Site
    • All-Inclusive Buffet at Continental Tavern

    Tickets include:

    • Transportation by Cross Country Coach
    • Admission to Eastern State Penitentiary, Edgar Allan Poe Historic Site, narration by Dr. Donald Koones and all-inclusive buffet at Continental Tavern
    • Not included – Gratuity for the bus driver
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  • 11/2/22

    Homeschoolers’ Days November 2 or 3

    10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

    Dive into early Native American life! Students in grades 2-6 and their parents are invited to Native American workshop to do hands on activities, furnish a wigwam and more and also tour the Fort Hunter Mansion. The visit, including time for a bag lunch, runs just under 4 hours. Call 599-5751 to register.

    Students will explore how Indians once lived in the Fort Hunter/Harrisburg area. They will learn how Indians obtained food, shelter, clothing and equipment. Activities include exploring a wigwam, hands on activities and games. Children will learn about the kinds of food, materials and water once used by Native Americans who farmed and hunted here in the 1300s and 1400s.

    In historic Fort Hunter Mansion,  students will experience life in the 1800s. Children will compare the owners’ life to Native Americans – how they obtained food, shelter, clothing and equipment in the Victorian era. On guided tours students will see original artifacts and furnishings—from a music box and cradle to an ice saw and toaster. The tour ends with a visit to the Museum Shop.

    Wednesday, November 2 or Thursday, November 3

    $5 students, $3 adults

    Click here to register.

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  • 11/26/22

    Hit the Road Education Tours: du Pont Legacy Christmas

    8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
    Centennial Barn

    Kickoff the holiday season with the Friends of Fort Hunter on a trip to Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library and Longwood Gardens to share in the joy of Christmas with the du Ponts. 

    A visit to Henry Francis du Pont’s Winterthur sets off this festive holiday trip with a Yuletide Tour and a visit to the special exhibit – “Jacqueline Kennedy and H. F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House”. Continue the festivities with a visit to the legendary Longwood Gardens with breathtaking floral displays and light shows of a Longwood Christmas.

    Details will be finalized in August, itinerary cost and departure and return time TBA.  Check back soon and watch for announcements on Dauphin County’s social media publications for details.

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