Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Potter County, PA

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Our Trip to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum…and Why We’ll Go Back

By Jennifer Spears

Our day trip this week was to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Potter County, PA. The museum sets on 160 acres in the mountainous northern tier of Pennsylvania.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.    ~~~ Benjamin Franklin
 

From the moment we got there, we knew that we were going to have a great time. 

The staff was very pleasant and helpful, first pointing out that we could save money by becoming members (allowing us to go back for free for an entire year!) and then telling our kids that they could make as much noise as they wanted in the engine house.

As parents, we always appreciate when museum staff are welcoming to our children. 

Our day started with a short orientation video about the history of the logging industry in PA. It was interesting and kept our kids attention.

We then toured the exhibits in the visitor center. 

…got to get hands on…

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…learned a lot…

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…and got to give our opinion about how to help the forests of the future.

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After a picnic lunch…

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Did I mention all of the shaded picnic tables on the grounds? We had no trouble finding a nice place to eat our lunch before we began our tour of the outside exhibits. 

The engine house was where we spent most of our time. It houses the Shay locomotive, which has been part of the museum since 1972. Visitors are able to climb aboard and really experience the train. 

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There is a train whistle and a bell to play with…fun for kids and adults!

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Attached to the engine house is the loader shed, featuring a steam-powered log loader. 

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As we followed our map, we saw log cars, a stable, a filer’s shack, a blacksmith shop, a laundry shed, a circular sawmill, a boiler room…

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…a log-holding pond…

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…a shingle mill and saw carriage house, a birch still (it smelled so good!)…

…a Civilian Conservation Corps cabin…

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…and the Brookville Locomotive, a 15-ton switch engine featured in its own shed.

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We ended our day by hiking the Sustainable Forestry Trail…

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… and then playing in the play area.

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The only part of the museum that was closed during our visit was the bunkhouse, mess hall, and kitchen exhibit. We’re looking forward to seeing that when it reopens.

As a family who loves learning, we’re always giddy about interactive museums, and the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum quickly became one of our new favorites. 

We’ll be heading back at least one more time this fall, and who knows how many times next year!

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