Depreciation Lands Museum’s Children’s Heritage Day scheduled

Friday, April 19, 2019 | 1:30 AM


Kids can get to experience what it was like to live, work and play in the local colonial times at the Depreciation Lands Museum Children’s Heritage Day on May 5, which also marks the opening day for the season.

The annual event, from 1 to 5 p.m., will feature games, crafts, food and reenactment of colonial living in the North Hills area of Pittsburgh. Both children and adults can enjoy the festivities, which will go on rain or shine, said Karen Parsons, volunteer coordinator at the museum.

“It’s going to be a really great day and a chance to experience some of the tasks and skills as well as entertainment of (18th-century) settlers,” said Parsons of Richland.

The museum site is a colonial village transformed into the 18th century, complete with a replica school house, Pine Creek Covenanter Church and cemetery, log house built in 1803, tavern, woods and garden.

Volunteers are present throughout the village, re-enacting life in colonial times, said Parsons.

This includes Dennis Raible, a long-time volunteer and museum board member, who is a costumed interpreter.

A visitor to the museum might encounter people such as a school house teacher, blacksmith, general store shopkeeper, potter, carpenter, textile worker and a person living in that time period, said Raible.

“When the museum is fully staffed, it really looks like you’re at the frontier in the late 17th century, early 18th century,” said Raible, of Shaler.

On opening day, he will be re-enacting a baker making soft pretzels and explaining the process.

Some activities for all ages include making corn cob dolls, starting fire with flint and steel, constructing wooden pegs, and spinning wool, she said.

Carol Greiner will be bringing some animals from her farm in West Deer , including goats, a rabbit and some chickens.

More than a petting zoo, said she’ll teach what it was like to be a farmer in the past, and how children had to really help out with the animals, what the animals were used for and other responsibilities.

Raible said the visitors will get to actually do other work that was done back then, such as carrying water to do the laundry or making fire. He said the children and adults enjoy it now, but it really was a “daily grind,” and he’s amazed how people survived. He said they weren’t always welcome by nearby Native Americans, as well.

“Some people don’t really appreciate the reality of how hard life was back then,” he said.

Raible added that children get excited to do the tasks but then the reality of the hard work involved sets in as they realize it probably wasn’t as fun for children long ago. So it’s quite educational, he said.

Parsons said there will also be other 18th-century games such as ball games and races. A country music fiddler will be there, and guests are welcome to dance.

The Depreciation Lands Museum is an all-volunteer establishment created in 1973 “to present the lifestyle, hopes and dreams of the early European settlers in the Depreciation Lands” per the website. The name refers to land Pennsylvania set aside as compensation for Revolutionary soldiers for their service, as the dollar had greatly depreciated during the war.

Cost to the event is $5, $3 for children. Museum members are admitted free.

Beginning Children’s Heritage Day, the museum will be open every Sunday 1 to 4 p.m., from May to October.

Visit depreciationlandsmuseum.org for more information.