UPDATE!  The PHMC booth showcasing the Historical Markers Program was selected as the Best Educational Display by the Farm Show judges! Thank you to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the thousands of Farm Show attendees who visited the booth to learn about Pennsylvania’s rich agricultural heritage.

Pennsylvania Farm Show Building Harrisburg

Make room on your calendars because the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the nation’s largest indoor agricultural exposition, is about to descend upon the historic Farm Show complex in Harrisburg from Saturday January 10 through Saturday January 17, 2015.  The 99th Pennsylvania Farm Show includes nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits. 

Replica of the John Beale Bordley marker being set up at the 2012 Farm Show photo by CHRIS KNIGHT, The Patriot-News

Replica of the John Beale Bordley marker being set up at the 2012 Farm Show
photo by CHRIS KNIGHT, The Patriot-News

The Bureau for Historic Preservation hosts a booth at the Show each year to celebrate Pennsylvania’s agricultural food production history with our Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt and promote the Pennsylvania Agricultural History Project.  The Ag History project was developed in partnership with Federal Highway Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and The Pennsylvania State University.

The Marker Scavenger Hunt started in 2011 to recognize the many agricultural advancements and food products that were created by fellow Pennsylvanians.  Subjects for the 2015 Scavenger Hunt include Amedeo Obici, an Italian immigrant who founded the Planters Peanuts Company in Wilkes-Barre in 1906, to PA School of Horticulture for Women, founded in 1910 in Montgomery County to educate women in the careers of agriculture and horticulture, to William Chester Ruth, an African American inventor, business owner, and community leader in Chester County who invented the combination baler-feeder in 1924.

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The Scavenger Hunt celebrates some of these overlooked innovators and trailblazers by placing exact replicas of 24 PHMC Historical Markers throughout the Farm Show complex.  Families, school groups and history buffs search for the markers in an attempt to answer the questions about each marker subject found in the marker text.  In order to keep the program fresh each year, PHMC Marker staff rotate out six markers and alter some questions.  If you complete the hunt, you receive a gift bag full of PHMC goodies!

In conjunction with the Scavenger Hunt, the BHP booth exhibit provides more background on 16 of the markers in the hunt and highlights some aspect of PHMC programming – be it PHMC grants, National Register properties, PHMC historic sites, State Museum and State Archives.  The exhibit includes a map of Pennsylvania showing the location of the markers and representative current and historic images that provide a new perspective on the history of each marker.

To start your scavenger hunt, visit BHP’s Farm Show booth in the Family Living Section of the Main Hall from 9 am to 8 pm (find the butter sculpture and head east). In addition to learning about agricultural and food history, you’ll also be able to see PHMC’s popular dugout canoe and archaeology exhibit at the State Museum exhibit booth. Visitors can obtain scavenger hunt booklets at our booth, the main information desk, and several other locations throughout the Farm Show Complex.