Friday, August 10, 2012

Senior Days at Graeme Park

Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson in discussion with Francis Hopkinson

In the tradition of Elizabeth Graeme's Attic Evenings, where people gathered to discuss various topics and learn from each other, the Friends of Graeme Park are offering senior citizens two days of classes, seminars, and discussions on a wide range of topics. Senior citizens are invited to join the Friends of Graeme Park on Wednesday, October 3 and Thursday, October 4 for two days of classes, seminars, discussions, food, and fellowship on the beautiful, historic grounds of Graeme Park. Both days will feature a continental breakfast and full lunch with optional tours of the National Landmark Keith House and a guided historical landscape stroll after lunch. Advance registration (through September 19) is $40/day or $75 for both days for non-members and $35/day for members (after September 19 - $45/day). We’re still finalizing the timeslots and a few additional topics, but as of now, here are the courses we’re offering:

Gilbert and Sullivan: Victorian Darlings of Community Theater
Presenter: Bob Binkley Founder of Bucks County Gilbert and Sullivan Society. The 14 comedic, melodic satires from Gilbert and Sullivan are exports from Victorian England. Explore the reasons for their success and why community theater groups all over America still love them. Includes a few bouncy examples of the most popular songs.

Your Appointment with Dr. Benjamin Rush
Presenter: Jim Miller. Dr. Rush will explain the dilemmas of the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, the role of Graeme Park in it, and with the help of “patients” from the audience will demonstrate the three principal “scientific” methods of treatment during the colonial period.
Dr. Benjamin Rush by Charles Willson Peale (from HERE)

Musical Icons of the 18th & 19th Centuries
Presenter: Marvin Feld, retired Music Educator. Come and learn about the most iconic compositions, the lives of the composers, and enjoy samples of their masterpieces that are still rewarding. The genius of Beethoven, Mozart, and others are yours to discover and enjoy.

Home Downsizing: Understanding Value: What are Your Things Really Worth
Presenter: Michael Ivankovich. What are your antiques, collectibles, and other personal property really worth on today’s market and what is the best way to turn them into cash? Learn the difference between antique, retro, collectible and just plain used and the ins and outs of auctions, internet sales, and more. Attendees are invited to bring one item for appraisal.


Medicare Made Easy
Presenter: Howard Peck, owner of Senior Insurance Solutions, Green Lane. Entertaining and Educational presentation about all of the different Medicare options available.

What Did Americans Really Look Like Before There were Cameras?
Presenter: Jim Miller. And how do we know? Was George Washington really that tall? Ben Franklin that rotund? How did everybody get those picture-perfect complexions? What about their teeth? The primary focus of this seminar will be portraiture from the colonial era, but we will also examine what we can learn from their costumes, their household objects, and their writings.

Details on Portraits HERE, HERE, and HERE

How to Use National Archives in Your Genealogy Quest Presenter: Kellee Green Blake, retired director of the Nat'l archives Mid-Atlantic Region. Learn the many ways you can Use the National Archives to “flesh out” the history of your family. Learn how to use census, immigration, and court records as well as lesser known and often overlooked resources in Federal holdings.

Domestic Animal Bells from Around the World
Presenter: Dr. James Diamond. Did you know domestic animal bells vary depending on what type of animal they were for and the country and culture from which they came? Learn about the different types and international agricultural practices too.

Clip Art from HERE
 Confined for the Duration—The Tragic Story of Confederate Prisoners of War
Presenter: Bob Brooke. Relive the agonies and hardships of the confederate prisoners at Fort Delaware, the most dreaded of all Federal prisons as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

What Old Houses Tell Us
Presenter: Bob Brooke. We learn about people and their times from the houses they lived in. Historic houses help us to know how people lived in former times. Some houses fall into disrepair but many others have been preserved as learning tools. Find out how these houses are brought back to life, what it takes to recreate history, and how important are the findings of researchers in interpreting life in another time.

Digging for History
Presenter: Laura MacBride, doctoral candidate in Historical Archaeology at Temple University. Learn about the archaeology project that is going on at Graeme Park as well as what it is archaeologists do and what their work can teach us about the past.

Spirited Graeme Park
Presenters: Laurie Hull, author and paranormal investigator and Beth MacCausland, President of the Friends of Graeme Park. Hear the history of Graeme Park and the tragic story of its 18th C. mistress. Does her restless spirit still roam the halls? Personal experiences, lore, investigation techniques and actual evidence from Keith House investigations will be shared. After lunch the group will be invited on a “spirited” tour of the house.

Leaving a Written Legacy for Your Grandchildren
Presenter: Mary Washington, board member, Old York Road Historical Society and archivist, Old York Road Genealogical Society. To leave your story, you need to know your past—who the people were, where they came from and when. This basic course on genealogy will teach the proper format for forms and how to document sources as you go back in time, and cover where to look for information.

The Colonial Craftsman
Presenter: Jack Washington, reenactor. In the 18th C. artisans made almost everything that was needed to provide the essentials of daily living. Their contribution to the development of our country is an important part of our heritage. A broad description of some of the more common work will be discussed and woodworking tools and their use in creating utilitarian objects of a by-gone era will be demonstrated.

Clip Art from HERE

Graeme Park: A Continuing Mystery

Presenter: Herb Levy, FAIA and Graeme Park volunteer. Herb has been researching Graeme Park for nearly 15 years and has delved into some of the mysteries surrounding the property and the Keith House, as well as possible original uses. Through a thorough study of the roads, archaeology and architecture he has developed both theories and proofs regarding such uses, changes and developments during Gov. Keith’s, Dr. Graeme’s, Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson’s and the Penrose family’s ownerships.

Harvest Centerpiece

Presenter: Beth MacCausland, President, The Friends of Graeme Park. You will create a beautiful, harvest centerpiece from dried wheat and other natural materials that have been gathered for you on the grounds of historic Graeme Park. Please bring hand pruners if you have them.


Contact us at if you’d like to receive a full schedule and sign-up materials, or look for them on our website.

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