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Meadowcroft opens for the season on May 4, offering a full slate of public programming

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article image - Observer-Reporter
Opening on May 4 for the 2024 season, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest site of human habitation in North America.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, part of the Senator John Heinz History Center family of museums, will open for its 2024 season on Saturday, May 4.

An hour’s drive from Pittsburgh, Meadowcroft is a National Historic Landmark in Avella, Washington County. Visitors of all ages can explore the Rockshelter, where the region’s earliest inhabitants dwelled more than 19,000 years ago.

Meadowcroft takes visitors on a historic journey through three re-created villages:

In the 16th-century Monongahela Indian Village, visitors can step inside a wigwam, test their skills with the atlatl (a prehistoric spear-thrower), and learn about American Indian agriculture.

At the 18th-century Frontier Trading Post, they can examine 1770s-era buildings and discover how American Indians and European settlers learned from each other.

In the 19th-century Meadowcroft Village, visitors can view a one-room schoolhouse and watch a blacksmith forge red-hot iron.

The site is also hosting an array of immersive public programs during the season, including:

Meadowcroft Atlatl Competition, June 15: Beginners are invited to try using the atlatl and watch some of the world’s best competitors from the World Atlatl Association compete for high scores.

Insider Tours of the Rockshelter with Dr. James Adovasio on Saturdays, June 22, July 20, Aug. 10, and Sept. 14, at 10 a.m. Online reservations are required at heinzhistorycenter.org/events.

Independence Day Celebration, July 4: Celebrate America with historical demonstrations and period games at Meadowcroft’s 18th century frontier area and 19th century rural village.

Vintage Base Ball Day, Aug. 17: Come watch base ball 19th century style with the Somerset Frosty Sons of Thunder, Addison Mountain Stars, and Canal Fulton Mules of Ohio using the 1860s rules.

Washington and Greene Counties Covered Bridge Festival, Sept 21-22: Visit Meadowcroft’s 1871 Pine Bank Covered Bridge during this annual celebration.

American Indian Heritage Weekend, Sept. 28-29: Learn about the American Indian cultures who once dwelled in the region and speak with visiting members of tribes native to Western Pa.

Walk in Penn’s Woods, Oct. 5: Meadowcroft will serve as a host venue for the day of educational woodland walks to highlight forest and wildlife resources from prehistoric to modern day.

Archaeology Day, Oct. 19: As part of Pennsylvania Archaeology Month, archaeologists from the Society of Pennsylvania Archaeology will present lectures and identify guests’ artifacts, accompanied by demonstrations of prehistoric technology.

Meadowcroft’s Taffy Pull & Fall Celebration, Oct. 26: Learn about the historic confection and make an old-fashioned sweet treat to take home. Limited space is available, and an additional program fee applies. Advanced reservations are recommended.

More information on Meadowcroft public programs can be found online at heinzhistorycenter.org/events.

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