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Wednesday, 19 May 2021 / Published in News

Fascinated by 19th-century history? Interested in early technology, crafts, cooking, or how about the art of ironmaking? Enjoy working with visitors, children and school groups? The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and the Joanna Furnace Ironworks are now recruiting friendly persons who are interested in volunteering to be historical site tour guides or who just want to learn a little about an Early American Craft from our community.

Open enrollment for our 2021 series begins now. Each of these classes brings an aspect of the Joanna Furnace community story to life. These engaging classes are for learners 16 years and up.



  • Class sizes are capped so register early to ensure your participation.
  • Registration deadline is one week before the scheduled class.
  • See registration form.
  • Reservations are required.
  • Space is limited, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Most classes will be held outdoors, under cover, instilling COVID-19 requirements of masks and social distancing.

These classes are designed for anyone with either a casual interest in history or those looking to become part of the Historic Joanna Furnace Interpretation Team and be a Tour Guides or for those who are looking for a new hobby or craft.

Each year over 30,000 people visit Joanna Furnace. The education programs reach over 2,000 students from Berks, Chester and Lancaster Counties. Since 1980, over 1.1 million guests have visited Joanna Furnace.

The classes offered in 2021 are as follows:

History of Joanna Furnace TUESDAY, APRIL 13 7 pm to 8:30 pm
Presenter: Gary Kurtz

Designed for volunteers to interact with the general public during events and welcome them to the Joanna Furnace Site. The class includes watching and discussing the History of Joanna Furnace video and reviewing of a training guide that will assist you at events. The goal is to have a general understanding of the significance of the Joanna Furnace site and to be able to communicate with guests from that perspective.

Gary Kurtz has been an active member of the HCVHA. He is a Board Member and is involved in several leadership roles including restoration and history. One of his specialized areas of expertise is in outdoor oven homemade bread making. Gary is a talented educator and well-rounded historic interpreter.

Letters of a Daughter’s Devotion Preserved for Centuries TUESDAY, APRIL 20 7 pm to 8:30 pm
Presenter: Juliana Flora

Juliana Flora, the great-great-granddaughter of the last Joanna Furnace Ironmaster, will share letters written in the 1880’s by her great-great- grandmother Ella Jane Grubb Smith. Juliana will share letters written in the 1860’s & 1870’s about the Joanna Furnace.

Juliana Flora is the HCVHA President and has a wide-ranging genealogical collection of her family memorabilia and enjoys sharing the history with the public.

Learn to be a Joanna Furnace Tour Guide TUESDAY, APRIL 27 7 pm to 8:30 pm
Presenter: Joanna Furnace Interpreters

Designed for volunteers to interact with the general public during events and welcome them to the Joanna Furnace Site. The class focuses on hands-on training inside the historic Joanna Furnace Buildings. Various Joanna Furnace Interpreters will discuss their personal perspectives on how they approach interpretation in a building. Volunteer garb will also be reviewed at the class. The goal is to have a general understanding of the significance of the Joanna Furnace site and to be able to communicate with guests from that perspective.

19th Century Metal Casting—hands-on SATURDAY MAY 1 10 am to 12 pm
Presenter : Jack Woods

We will provide the basic information required to make a sand mold by using a pattern. The mold cavity made will then be filled with molten aluminum. If we’ve done a good job of training you, you will have a casting to take home with you! Also discussed during the class will be information about the (Joanna) Furnace, Casting House, metal casting products (pig iron, 10-plate stoves, hollowware, etc.) and procedures. Also: Iron ore, limestone, charcoal and slag will be discussed.

Jack Woods has been a member the HCVHA for 8 years. He is a former educator who specialized in Tech Education. After leaving public education, he worked for a rescue mission and for the Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad. While at the railroad, one of his functions was working to renovate a steam locomotive and passenger coach. When Jack is at Joanna Furnace, he is an educator and interpreter working in the casting house. There he and his team demonstrate the process of mold making and casting, as it was done at the 19th century Joanna Furnace. He is one of the HCVHA volunteers who designed and created the casting house interpretation. He has also published articles in Industrial Arts Education, the NY State Canal Society, and the HCVHA Journal.

Basic of Watercolor – hands on SATURDAY, MAY 8 10 am to 1 pm
Instructor: Anna Carter

Anna Carter will be at the Furnace to teach watercolor painting. This will be a themed class, relating to the time period of the furnace. The class will last approximately 3 hours. This is a beginner class and no experience is needed. The class is recommended for ages 13 and up.

Supplies you will need to bring along: Paint brushes, watercolor paper, and watercolor paints. If you do not have your own, you may borrow Anna’s. A light snack will be provided.

Open Fire Cooking —hands-on SATURDAY, MAY 15 9 am to 3 pm
Instructor: Barbara Esterly

Join Barbara Esterly, as she shows you the basic concepts of open fire cooking, which will be transferrable to open hearth cooking. You will do hands on preparation of foods and sample your creations. The flavor of food cooked over an open fire is truly unique. You will discuss fire safety principles, learn about various cooking tools, pots and utensils of the 18th and 19th centuries. We will make a traditional stew/soup, a pie, mush and sausage and apples cooked in cider. This class is for ages 16 yrs old and up.

Supplies you will need to bring along: You may bring a lunch or light snack along, although you will more than likely be eating what you make! Yum!

Barbara Esterly, has been an active volunteer at the Furnace. One of her specialized areas of expertise is in outdoor open fire cooking and hearth cooking. Barb is a talented educator and well-rounded historic interpreter.

Bake Oven Demonstrating —hands-on SATURDAY, MAY 22 9 am to 3 pm
Instructor: Gary Kurtz

Masonry ovens have been built in American homes since the first colonists landed in New England. These brick ovens were used to bake bread, pies and cookies. Although very few of these ovens exist today, the historic Joanna Furnace site houses two reproduction ovens that are used for interpretation at events and program. During this class participants will learn how to “fire-up” and “maintain” a stove for baking; plus, will mix their own bread and pie to be baked in the oven. A bag lunch will be provided for the participants on this day.

Gary Kurtz has been an active member of the HCVHA. He is a Board Member and is involved in several leadership roles including restoration and history. One of his specialized areas of expertise is in outdoor oven homemade bread making. Gary is a talented educator and well-rounded historic interpreter.

Design Your Own Redware Plate – hands-on SATURDAY, JUNE 5 1 pm to 4 pm
Instructor: Andrew Loercher

Design your own redware plate. Andrew Loecher, potter from Lancaster County, and vendor at the Hay Creek Festival, will be offering a class for you to design your own plate. Andy will take your plates with him to fire, and they will be returned to you within 2 weeks. You will be contacted to set up a pick up date/time.

Supplies you will need to bring along: rolling pin, old newspaper, sturdy tin pie pan (not aluminum) and the picture or design you would like to put on your plate. (The more simple the picture, the easier the project)

Make A Wool Braided Rug – hands-on SATURDAY, JUNE 12 10 am to 3:30 pm
Instructor: Eileen Colligan

Eileen Colligan will be at the Joanna Furnace to teach us the basics of making our own wool braided rug. Cost is for 2 days, Day 1. Students will learn the basics of braiding a round rug. The morning class will be devoted to preparing the wool, review of tools, learning the T start, lacing and more. The afternoon session will be hands on. Participants should be able to create a small round rug (hot pad size) by the end of class. This rug can be enlarged on the participants own time to any size desired. Day 2. (Saturday, June 19 from 1pm – 4pm) The afternoon will be devoted to helping students and also demonstrating ways to end a braided rug. If you have any issues when you are working on your rug during the week, feel free to stop back and Eileen will gladly give you the guidance to help keep your rug on track.

Supplies you will need to bring along: Lunch or a snack, since this class will go over lunchtime. Participants should bring a small sewing kit and good scissors to class. Wool will be provided to practice and start the rug. Color and amount of wool provided is limited. (If participants chose to bring their own wool, it must be washed. Email the instructor before class to determine if the wool will work at nennie105@aol.com).

Make A Wool Penny Rug – hands-on SATURDAY, JUNE 19 10 am to 12 pm
Instructor: Eileen Colligan

Eileen Colligan will be at the Furnace to teach us how to make wool penny rugs. A small penny rug kit will be provided. Participants will be given a demonstration of how to create a Penny rug. Embroidery stitches typically found in Penny rugs will be taught. Individual help will be provided. Participants should be able to complete or nearly complete this rug in class.

Supplies you will need to bring along: Lunch or a snack, since this class could go over lunchtime. Participants should bring scissors to this class.

Make A Toothbrush Rug – hands-on SATURDAY, JULY 10 9 am to 3 pm
Instructor: Tammy Schaeffer

Tammy will show you how to make a toothbrush rug with an unusual tool and scrap material. This is a no sew rug and is made from any type of scrap material. We will provide the sewing tool, which is included in the price. The material for this rug is based off of color, not pattern. Bring any scraps you may have, tear them in 2” strips, fold in half and iron.

Supplies you will need to bring along: We will have some materials to select from, but you may bring your own. Lunch or a snack, since this class will go over lunchtime.


Make A Wooly Christmas Tree – hands-on SATURDAY, JULY 24 9 am to 3 pm
Instructor: Tammy Schaeffer

It‘s Christmas in July!! Tammy will be back at the Furnace to show you how to make your own Wooly Christmas Tree (based off the feather tree concept). These can be in any color for any holiday…not just Christmas.

Supplies you will need to bring along: Sharp snipping scissors, a ruler and lunch or a snack, since this class will go over lunchtime.

Make A Snowman Plaque – hands-on SATURDAY, JULY 31 9 am to 3 pm
Instructor: Beki Ziegler

It’s STILL Christmas in July!! Beki Ziegler will be here to show you how to paint and design a snowman from a pallet base.

Supplies you will need to bring along: Lunch or a snack, since this class will go over lunchtime. Beki will provide all the supplies.




Make A Round Basket with Wood Base – hands-on SATURDAY, AUGUST 14 9 am to 3 pm
Instructor: Mary Zeplin

Local weaver, Mary Zeplin, will be here to teach you how to make a round basket with a wooden base.

Supplies you will need to bring along: Lunch or a snack, since this class will go over lunchtime. Mary will provide all the supplies.

Make (6) Redware Ornaments – hands-on SATURDAY, AUGUST 21 1 pm to 4 pm
Instructor: Andrew Loercher

Andrew Loercher, will be back offering a class for you to design and create 6 Christmas ornaments. Andy will take your ornaments with him to fire, and they will be returned to you within 2 weeks. You will be contacted to set up a pick up date/time.

Supplies you will need to bring along: rolling pin, old newspaper, cookie cutters



These classes are for ALL skill levels!

Please come out and support the Furnace, while having some fun with friends!

To register click on the following link

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and education of America’s iron heritage. Net proceeds from this event support the restoration and educational projects of The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and Joanna Furnace, a historically significant 18th and 19th-century charcoal-fueled iron furnace. The Joanna Furnace site is located three miles north of Morgantown, along Route 10. For entrance turn at Furnace Road.

Tuesday, 03 March 2020 / Published in News

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association Offers History Classes at Historic Joanna Furnace

Fascinated by 19th-century history? Interested in early technology, crafts, cooking, or how about the art of ironmaking? Enjoy working with visitors, children and school groups? The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and the Joanna Furnace Ironworks are now recruiting friendly persons who are interested in volunteering to be historical site tour guides or who just want to learn a little about the history of our community.

As a volunteer Tour Guide, you will learn how to lead small groups of visitors through the 229-year-old iron furnace complex. Your job will be to communicate the breadth of life in a 19th-century iron making community and introduce your group to the general history of our area. You will be taking the visitors back to a different place and time.

Each year over 30,000 people visit Joanna Furnace. The education programs reach over 2,000 students from Berks, Chester and Lancaster Counties. Since 1980, over 1.1 million guests have visited Joanna Furnace.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association invites interested persons to participate in one or all of our Joanna Furnace History Training Classes starting in March.   These classes will give basic, introductory level, information on assisting with tours at our upcoming fall festivals, public events and spring educational programs. 

The classes offered in 2020 are as follows:

History of Joanna Furnace — Tuesday, March 10th – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Designed for volunteers to interact with the general public during events and welcome them to the Joanna Furnace Site.   The class includes watching and discussing the History of Joanna Furnace video and reviewing of a training guide that will assist you at events.  The goal is to have a general understanding of the significance of the Joanna Furnace site and to be able to communicate with guests from that perspective.

My Childhood Memories of Growing up in the Joanna Furnace Ironmaking Community –Tuesday, March 17th – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Juliana Flora, the great-great-granddaughter of the last Joanna Furnace Ironmaster, will share letters written in the 1880’s by her great grandmother Daisy Smith Morris. Daisy recounts her life experiences and happenings as she was growing up at the Joanna Furnace Ironmaking Community.

Learn to be a Joanna Furnace Tour Guide — Tuesday, March 24th – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Designed for volunteers to interact with the general public during events and welcome them to the Joanna Furnace Site.   The class focuses on hands-on training inside the historic Joanna Furnace Buildings.  Various Joanna Furnace Interpreters will discuss their personal perspectives on how they approach interpretation in a building.  Volunteer garb will also be reviewed at the class.  The goal is to have a general understanding of the significance of the Joanna Furnace site and to be able to communicate with guests from that perspective.

 STAGING HISTORY: American Theater in the Time of Joanna Furnace –TUESDAY, APRIL 7TH – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Presenter Aileen Lynch McCulloch of Morgantown has spent her life using theater to educate and explore history, since her 12th grade play A Time to Live (about time traveler) won an award for Outstanding Original One Act. In this one-and-a-half-hour presentation, McCulloch explores theater history in the time of Joanna Furnace, and the impact American theater has had on historical preservation.  A brief history of American Theater combines with a fun interactive finale using Joanna Furnace history to present a short original theater performance. With over 30 years of educational theater under her belt, McCulloch has brought interactive education reenactors to Winterthur Museum, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and even the Philadelphia Art Museum, combining her love of theater and history to create memorable educational experiences in our region for over two decades. Her historical theater even garnered two Barrymore Award Nominations (and one win!) for unique theater collaborations!

19th Century Photography – Daguerreotypes to Cabinet Cards — TUESDAY, APRIL 14TH – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Hay Creek members and Civil War relic collectors Janice and Tom Groves will offer this exciting program by sharing authentic photographs from the Civil War.  The presentation will focus on their extensive collection of Daguerreotypes and Cabinet Cards.  In addition, Janice will discuss the ladies’ clothing’s styles of the 1850’s & 1860’s as seen in the photographs.   The Grove’s passions for history will shine through as they speak and show a sample of their 3,000 antique photos. 

HISTORY ALIVE: Historic Reenactment and You          — TUESDAY, APRIL 28 – 7 PM TO 8:30 PM

Aileen Lynch McCulloch of Morgantown, shares the art of reenacting and how anyone can become an historical actor. In anticipation of new interactive theater activities coming to Hay Creek, this one-and-a-half-hour presentation will include a discussion about how members can become involved in reenactment right here at the Furnace. With over 30 years of educational theater under her belt, McCulloch has brought interactive education reenactors to Winterthur Museum, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and even the Philadelphia Art Museum, combining her love of theater and history to create memorable educational experiences in our region for over two decades. Her historical theater even garnered two Barrymore Award Nominations (and one win!) for unique theater collaborations.

Bake Oven Demonstrating —hands-on — Saturday, May 2nd  – 9 am to 1 pm

Masonry ovens have been built in American homes since the first colonists landed in New England.  These brick ovens were used to bake bread, pies and cookies.  Although very few of these ovens exist today, the historic Joanna Furnace site houses two reproduction ovens that are used for interpretation at events and program.  During this class participants will learn how to “fire-up” and “maintain” a stove for baking; plus, will mix their own bread and pie to be baked in the oven. 

19th Century Metal Casting—hands-on class — Saturday, MaY 2ND  – 10 am to noon

We will provide the basic information required to make a sand mold – using a pattern. The mold cavity made by the pattern will then be filled with molten aluminum. If we’ve done a good job of training you, you will have a casting to take home with you!

You may be aware of some of the Furnace history presented at the Hay Creek Festivals, and if you plan to be a demonstrator at Joanna, any information you hear during these training sessions will be useful. Of course, the emphasis here will be on the Furnace, Casting House, and metal casting products and procedures. Also: Iron ore, limestone and charcoal; Furnace, Blowing engine power; Pig iron, molds/ingots, and products; Making a mold; patterns, flask, rammer, riddle; Finishing a casting; cut off gates, file, smooth. 

School of Soldier — Saturday, may 2ND  – All Day

The PA 50th & 69th Civil War regiments will meet at Joanna Furnace for their annual training day where participants go over all safety aspects of the hobby including proper handling of the rifle, as well as proper rifle firing techniques. We also drill the troops, so they are ready to maneuver properly while fighting in the field.  All personal equipment is checked to make sure that each member is ready to take the field safely.   Guests are welcome to come out to Joanna Furnace on this day to ask questions and to sign up to be a part of this living history group.  THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR ATTENDING THIS ACTIVITY.


Class size is limited therefore RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED to attend each of these programs (excluding the School of Soldier activity).  For more information or to register please email Mark Zerr at mzerr@haycreek.org or call 610-286-0388.  Reservations must be made by March 9th   Note:  A nominal fee will be charged to each participant to cover class materials.

Click here to download Spring Education Classes at Joanna Furnace

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and education of America’s iron heritage. Net proceeds from this event support the restoration and educational projects of The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and Joanna Furnace, a historically significant 18th and 19th-century charcoal-fueled iron furnace.   The Joanna Furnace site is located three miles north of Morgantown, along Route 10.  For entrance turn at Furnace Road.

Tuesday, 03 March 2020 / Published in News

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association volunteers are gearing up for their annual spring Chicken Pot Pie and Chili sale at historic Joanna Furnace.    The sale will be taking place on Thursday, March 26, 2020 from 10 am to 5 pm.   Cost is $8.00 per quart.  Note:  All orders must be received by Saturday, March 21st.

Orders can be made by printing and mailing the attached form or by calling 610-286-0388.  To order by credit card click the yellow donate button at www.haycreek.org and note your order in the comment section.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  Funds generated from its programs support the restoration and preservation of the historic Joanna Furnace site.

Click here to download Chicken Pot Pie and Chili Sale Form

Monday, 17 February 2020 / Published in News

Dance a Jig and celebrate Irish Heritage at the Joanna Furnace Breakfast Buffet on Saturday, March 21st!

“Receive the luck of the Irish, enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast and festive music…It’ll bring out the Irish in you”

MORGANTOWN, PA . . . The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is celebrating their Irish Heritage and the birth of the Iron master’s first child Clement Smith at the 13th annual Irish Breakfast Buffet. The breakfast takes place at the historic Joanna Furnace Iron Works on Saturday, March 21st from 7 am to 12 noon.

Not only were the Smith Ironmaking family descendants of Irish immigrants to the New World, but also were many of the furnace workers who emigrated from Ireland during the potato famine. Visitors are invited to come out to celebrate our heritage at the breakfast and to welcome the Ironmaster’s new child “Clemmy” by wearing the traditional Irish colors of green, white and orange.

This celebration of Irish legacy will feature standard Irish favorites of Pancakes, French toast, country sausage, homemade corned beef hash, bacon, scrapple, creamed chipped beef, scrambled eggs, country style potatoes, baked oatmeal, fruit, coffee, juice and more. The cost for the buffet: Adults $10 Children (5-11) $5, children under 5 FREE. Reservations are not required to attend.

Juliana Flora, the president of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association says, “This is a special year celebrating Clement’s birth (March 1870). The Smith’s first child, new beginnings and a celebration of the heritage that can be traced back to Ireland/Scotland in the 1500’s. The Smith’s original name was MacDonald, but was changed when arriving in the new world to reflect their blackSMITHing heritage.”

March also kicks off the beginning of the year for the organization when the general public can come out to Joanna Furnace to hear about the history of our community. At this time the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association offers educational training classes where individuals can learn to be a tour guide or take a history class to learn about our communities’ past. This year’s classes focus on learning about civil war photography, Victorian dancing, bake oven demonstrating, metal casting and the history of theater. Mark Zerr, Executive Director, states “As our organization continues to preserve the 26-acre historic site, we are always looking for new volunteers to join our team to assist at events and education programs. Whether new volunteers come on board to learn to be tour guides, help at our Thursday volunteer day, or just learn about our heritage we are an all-encompassing organization that welcomes the talents and knowledge from our community.”

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and education of America’s Iron Heritage. Net Proceeds from this event support the restoration and educational projects of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and Joanna Furnace. Anyone wishing to find more information about the 2020 events or educational programs at Joanna Furnace can visit the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association website at www.haycreek.org or call 610-286-0388. The Joanna Furnace site is located three miles north of Morgantown along route 10, for entrance turn at Furnace Road.

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