Friday, March 8, 2019

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - Spring 2019

Spring 2019
Brought to you by Nathaniel Shank, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

Coming up the Trail

Volunteer Signup Link

Museum Cleanup Day March 16th
Saturday, March 16, 2019 is the date for the spring clean-up at the Appalachian Trail Museum. Activities will start at 9:00AM and we should be done by 12:00 noon or 1:00PM. If you cannot make it for the entire morning, we appreciate whatever time you can spare so we can have the museum ready for opening the following Saturday. Don't forget to also sign up for the docent training.

Volunteer Kickoff Celebration March 23rd
Come Join the party with snacks and games to kick off this 2019 season. We will talk briefly about the need for new volunteers and gather ideas as to what can be done to encourage existing volunteers. Then we will Play games, eat snacks, and play instruments if need be. Don't forget to bring your instruments!

Docent Training March 22 - March 31st (or by appointment)
The sessions will provide Docents with a review of the processes and refresh the memory. I will also be conducting hands-on training on the PayPal Here software at all sessions. Any new Docents will receive more intense training.

Flip Flop Festival Harpers Ferry WV April 27th and 28th
For a detailed schedule and more information, visit need volunteers to represent the museum

Hall of Fame Banquet May 4th
Tickets are now on sale for our 2019 Banquet, to be held on Saturday, May 4.  The 2019 venue will be the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, located at 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA.  The evening will begin with a reception at 6 pm, with dinner to follow at 7 pm.  

Complete information on tickets is available HERE.

The M.C. for the 2019 Banquet will be Sandra “Sandi” Marra, Chair of the Board of Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  Music will be provided by Randy "Windtalker" Motz, an A.T. thru-hiker.  The highlight of the evening will be the induction of the 2019 Hall of Fame class.  We had record attendance in 2018, so get your tickets soon.

Hall Of Fame Festival May 5th
Five new exhibits will be introduced to the public. More details to follow. We are going to need a few helpers with games, cooking burgers, setting up, and tearing down for the festival. The lunch will be potluck style and free for all guests. There will be a donation jar and food donations are welcome. Come enjoy the music by Strings on Wings. We will have something for all ages. Plan to have a great time!

Mason-Dixon Appalachian Trail Outdoor Festival Rouzerville Pa
Saturday, June 8th 10-4
We need volunteers to represent the museum

Summer Programs
If you know anybody that would like to present at the museum for one of our programs please send an emial to

Native Plants Garden to Benefit Wildlife coming to the A.T. Museum this Spring

Work began in earnest at the A. T. Museum last fall on the creation of a colorful garden full of PA native plants that will provide nectar, pollen, seeds and berries for butterflies, pollinators, birds and other wildlife.  The new garden is located in front of the historic stone mill building where the museum is housed along Rt. 233 at the Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, PA.  The garden and the wildlife it attracts will be easily viewed and enjoyed by museum visitors as they enter and exit the new main entrance to the museum via the extensive fully-accessible ramp that was built by Jack Adams of Maryland and his dedicated group of volunteers. 
AT Museum volunteers Lorrie and Bob Preston, Georgia Freet, Margie and Jeff Schmidt, and Dan Taylor worked to get “the bones” of the garden laid out and the soil prepared in anticipation of planting this spring.  Invasive and non-native weeds and grasses were removed and a layer of wet cardboard was applied to the soil and covered with mulch to smother the remaining roots.  River rock was spread in the false spring and dry stream bed areas to bring a sense of the mill’s historical past, as per former museum manager Howard Davis’ creative landscape plan.  
A stepping-stone pathway was created throughout the garden to add a natural design element and allow easy access for maintenance and ongoing care of the garden.
As the garden area was cleared, care was taken to preserve any of the native ferns and wildflowers that were trying their best to compete among the more aggressive non-native species.  These have some historical significance and may have been planted by previous generations who used this building or they may have grown there naturally over the years.
A common milkweed patch, planted in the fall of 2017, is the centerpiece for the garden and is already multiplying.  Milkweed is the only host plant for Monarch butterflies and these young plants supported their first few Monarch caterpillars last summer. 
Planting of some of the best PA native plants to provide food, shelter, or a place to raise young will get underway this April & May and the project will be evolving and ever-changing in the months and years ahead. 
The garden will provide opportunities for education about the critical relationships between native plants and wildlife and will highlight the extremely important wildlife habitat that the Appalachian Trail corridor provides from Georgia to Maine. 
If you would like to volunteer in some capacity with the creation or ongoing care of this garden or have any questions or pertinent ideas, please contact Museum Manager Nathaniel Shank at

Financial donations for purchasing plants, tools, educational signage, and more are welcome and can be made to honor or memorialize someone special.  Note your donation for the Butterfly/Pollinator garden and mail to:          A.T. Museum, Att: Treasurer, 1120 Pine Grove Rd., Gardners, PA 17324.


Volunteer Renovation Crew

Work has continued on renovations of the top two floors of the AT museum mill house.  With the addition of a "barn door"  to the library this past fall, the construction on the third floor is nearing completion. A hasp has been installed that will allow the library to be secure. Trim work for the bookcases is progressing and should be finished in the near future. On the second floor, about half of the walls have been painted. The rest of the walls are waiting for the finishing touches on the drywall. Then painting will complete the work on the walls.
    The next step for the bathroom is to install wall tile. When tiling is complete, the plumber will install the bathroom fixtures. A ceiling of beadboard will also be installed. 
A general clean up and organization will take place the end of April. Our goal is to have the construction site as presentable as possible for  
 the new exhibits to be on display the first weekend of May.
Several one-day work trips are scheduled this spring and additional work trips will take place this summer. 

Any individuals that want to volunteer are welcome. Typically our work is scheduled during the middle of the week. If interested contact Ron Bungay at


New Exhibits

The Appalachian Trail Museum will mark a major milestone in its own history in 2019 with the installation of five new exhibits. Children will experience a “Night on the Trail” as they enter a replica trail shelter on the lower  level. Once inside, a skylight in the roof will frame a night sky illuminated with many constellations, and sounds of the night will pique every child’s curiosity. Exhibits on the newly renovated second floor will offer visitors a contemporary trail experience, with displays featuring long-distance hiking legend Walkin’ Jim Stoltz, a national hiking event “HikaNation,” and the landmark signing of the National Trails System Act.  A view to the upper floor will offer visitors the story of blazing the A.T. in Maine, complete with A.T. founder Myron Avery’s folding boat.  A celebration marking the opening of these exhibits is planned for Sunday, May 5, 2019. Exhibits are made possible through a grant from the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau.

Here is the list of accomplishments:

  • Installed the Night on the Trail shelter with night noises on Dec 19-20. Photos attached. check out the night sky!!
  • 2nd floor exhibit panel for Walkin’ Jim Stoltz was completed. Photo attached.
  • 2 additional frames to feature future hikers were completed
  • 2nd floor panel for HikaNation was completed. 
  • 2nd floor panels for “The Appalachian Trail becomes America’s Trail” were completed.

In addition, our volunteers painted 3 areas of the 2nd floor in preparation for installation of these panels.

And the 3rd floor exhibit on “Blazing Trail in Maine” was completed and installed earlier last year. 
Walkin' Jim Exhibit

Stars in Shelter

Children's Level Shelter Exhibit


If you would like to volunteer in any capacity contact the museum at

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