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

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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 – 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 – 4 pm
Instructor: Andrew Loercher

Design your own redware plate. Andrew Loecher, potter from Lancaster County, and vendor at the Furnace, 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 – 3:30 pm
Instructor: Eileen Colligan

Eileen Colligan will be at the 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 4 pm
Instructor: Andrew Loercher

Andrew Loecher, 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.