LancasterHistory has begun its new season of free Regional History Colloquium lectures, which will be held virtually, via Zoom, instead of in person this year.
Topics range from the challenges of segregated post-Civil War travel for African Americans to the letters of local World War II hero Maj. Dick Winter and the last days of the Conestoga people.
The history organization is also offering some special themed tours at James Buchanan’s Wheatland starting next month.
LancasterHistory, 230 N. President Ave., is closed to the public this month, and will reopen Wednesday, Feb. 2, according to the lancasterhistory.org website.
The colloquium lectures include:
— “Traveling Black: Race and Resistance,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, by author, historian and University of Pennsylvania professor Mia Bay. She’ll talk about the segregation and restrictions on travel for African Americans after their emancipation from enslavement, and what it was like to live with them.
— “Hang Tough: The WWII Letters & Artifacts of Major Dick Winters,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, by historians and authors of the book of the same name, Erik Dorr and Jared Frederick. They will talk about the letters, diary entries, photos and personal artifacts of Winters, a Lancaster County native made famous by the World War II miniseries “Band of Brothers.”
— “Civil War and Civil Rights in Philadelphia,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, by Villanova University history professor Judith Giesberg. She’ll explore the Philadelphia civil rights community and the work of numerous African-American women in schools and churches during and after the Civil War. She’ll also discuss Lancaster’s charitable societies and the involvement in the Civil War effort by such women as Rosina Hubley and Lydia Hamilton Smith.
— “Ghost River: From Colonial Past to Native Present,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, by graphic novel author and National Endowment for the Humanities program officer Will Fenton. Fenton will talk about creating his educational graphic novel that reimagines the final days of the Conestoga people — before their murder in a Lancaster jail by the Paxton Boys. He’ll discuss new evidence and archival material that helped him highlight Indigenous victims, survivors and kin.
In addition to the regular tours of Wheatland, the mansion of former President James Buchanan, LancasterHistory is putting together some themed tours that begin next month.
— A President’s Day tour, “Buchanan’s Presidency: The Challenges of 1857,” will be offered on Monday, Feb. 21. The tour explores the challenges faced by Buchanan during his first 10 months as president, and will cover such topics as Buchanan’s role in the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott Decision, why he sent the Army to the Utah Territory and how he handled the petition for Kansas statehood.
— “James Buchanan Henry: Private Secretary” is a tour that will be offered Saturday, March 5. The tour centers on the life of James Buchanan “Buck” Henry, nephew and private secretary to James Buchanan, who was also a successful attorney and artist.
— “First to Rise & Last to Retire: The Domestic Workers at Wheatland” is set for Saturday, April 2. The tour will explore the lives and stories of the domestic workers — their daily jobs on the Wheatland property and the social divisions between the workers and Buchanan’s family.
— “Harriet Lane: America’s Fair First Lady of the Land” will be offered Saturday, May 7. The tour explores the life of Buchanan’s niece, who functioned as the first lady while her uncle was president. Visitors will learn about her childhood, the White House years, her family life and loss, her travels and her friendship with Queen Victoria.
All of these special tours will be offered on the half-hour, starting at 10 a.m., with the last tour beginning at 3 p.m.
Cost of the tours is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (65+), $13 for students and free for children 10 and under. Tickets include the tour, access to museum exhibits and viewing the “Buchanan’s America: A Nation Divided” documentary in the visitor center.
You can register for the history lectures and the tours online at lancasterhistory.org/events or by calling 717-392-4633.
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