Covid-19 Update October, 2020

In a continued effort to maintain staff and visitor safety during the current COVID-19 circumstances, our buildings will remain closed to the public, unless otherwise specified during Special Events and School tours. During this time we will be focusing on exhibit redesign, program development, and new experiences for the future. However, our Grounds and Gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk, and parking is free. Walking tours and Childrens Explorer Packs are available near all parking areas, self-guided Interpretive wayside panels around the site give a wealth of information, and several hiking trails and open areas are available. When visiting please continue to follow CDC and local health guidelines and remain safe. Thank you for your consideration, and understanding.

For more information, please contact Matthew Wedd at or call at 717-328-2800 and leave a voicemail.

A Special Collaboration Program

We recently teamed up with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to film a joint program highlighting Surgery through the ages. With CI's expansive 18th Century Surgical Collection, and their 19th Century Collection and prestige, this was the perfect way to show the differences and similarities across the ages.

Membership and donations help support such programs so please think about supporting us so we can continue such endeavors.

Click Fullscreen (f) to enjoy properly.

For more information on Historical Surgery, there are a lot of options.

Surgeons manuals were indispensable, and though CI has many in our Library some can be found online at Project Gutenberg. Try " The Compleat Surgeon" by Charles Gabriel Le Clerc or the 18th Century "A Collection of Chirurgical Tracts" by William Becket.

An image speaks a thousand words and the 18th Century Material Culture Resource Center has a great selection on the Medical Arts.

To learn more about 19th Century surgery visit our friends at The National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

Walk Back in Time

The Conococheague Institute is a hands-on regional learning center. We are headquartered within Rock Hill Farm, a well-preserved historic farmstead that was established in the early 18th century in southern Franklin County, Pennsylvania, near the village of Welsh Run. Our 30-acre site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes two historic house museums with outbuildings, a research library, two relocated historic log structures, walking trails with access to a pioneer cemetery, and several historic gardens.

Frontier Woman

Our Mission

The mission of the Conococheague Institute is to develop and foster awareness, understanding, and stewardship of the cultural and natural history of the Appalachian frontier of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The Institute strives to achieve its mission through education, research, and preservation.

Quill Writing in the Piper Cabin

School Programs at the Conococheague Institute

With so many families homeschooling, we are pleased to welcome Schools, Homeschool groups, and families to book a School Program at the Conococheague Institute. With numerous outdoor areas, we are able to use safer environments to engage your children while still giving them their Social Distance safety.

We are currently offering a selection of programs including:

18th Century Medicine and Surgery - Learn about Colonial Physicians, where medicine came from, and the Surgical tools they used. A great blend of Science, History, Grossness, and Entertainment!

Colonial Life on the Frontier - Discover the simple day to day skills people used throughout early American History, from Firestarting, Water Drawing, Gardening, and Cooking. Learn what our Ancestors wore, and how they lived. Our Frontier Cabin makes the perfect stage for this immersive program.

Colonial Games - Join in on the fun by trying your hand at some of History's best love games, from several cultures. From simple wooden tops and yoyos, tabletop games like draughts, to large outdoor group games like Cricket and Lacrosse. Some may seem familiar, some may seem strange, but all are a lot of fun.

Nature Walks: Birds and Botany - Explore the beauty of nature and learn as a group some of the wonderful facts about the Flora and Fauna at CI. We have plants that can be used as medicine, beautiful flowers that support our thriving pollinator population. Our Birds range from Wetland Herons to Bald Eagles...and our two peacocks of course. Why do birds fly? What can a bird's beak tell you? Find out these answers and more.

For more information on these and our other school programs please contact

Face the Bowler, not the WicketKeeper!

Enjoying the Conococheague Institute during COVID-19

While our buildings still remain closed to the public, now is a great time to visit the Conococheague Institute. With over 30 acres of a remote rural landscape, you can escape the crowds and enjoy nature's beauty. For Birding enthusiasts, our viewing platform over our wetlands area contains a wealth of healthy bird species from Redwing Blackbirds to our more extravagant Peacocks.

Our Grounds are dog friendly, so enjoy walking your furry friend around our Cemetery Trail Loop (which crosses the Welsh Run three times), or enjoy the shade under our tree line walk.

Nature hasn't taken a break during COVID-19 so check out the flowers in bloom throughout the grounds, or smell the herbs in our Four Square Garden.

Though internal Exhibits are closed, History doesn't stop! We now have walking tours and information packets at dispensers near each parking area, and our Interpretive Wayside panels give a rich history of the Buildings and their story. We are also endeavoring to release virtual programs every Sunday - So Check out our Facebook page for more information!

We recently started adding all our videos to Youtube. Check them out at Colonial Living at the Conococheague Institute.

As we continue to adapt, we hope to offer more outdoor programs such as Living History Demonstrations, History Hikes, and more. Again follow our Facebook page for more information as it becomes available.

Dogs on the Old Welsh Cemetery Loop Trail


October 2020 Progress Updates

We are extremely pleased to share the Fall progress here at the Conococheague Institute with our Members and Followers.

Though major events aren't practical right now, we are very happy to have had three successful Semi-Events. Midsummer Memories August 2nd had 100 visitors and was a wonderful chance to meet new volunteers. Our Celebration of Summer event September 5th had 150 visitors! Each scheduled program throughout the day was attended by 30+ people and was very well received. We thank everyone who helped make the event a success. Our October 10th Colonial Life event and Members Meeting was

Exhibit redesign has continued apace with the new home for the Medical Collection in the Visitor Center really allowing it to have its full potential. It has already been a host of a few school programs, and we are looking forward to its next step: Professional Interpretive Panels. The Cabin Renovations are a joy to behold, and each step forward makes them feel more like stepping back in time. Whitewashing and Bricking the floor in the Tavern allows it to be an open space for a variety of interpretations.

Chuck Holland and Patrick Todd have been working on the Bake Oven every week in an effort to complete it. We are pleased to say it is now finished. After some drying time, we look forward to using this for years to come. Some cosmetic work will still occur, and we will be looking at Interpretive Markers and Memorial Dedications in the near future.

Librarian Mary Hartmann has been continuing to prepare CI's impressive Library as a Members-only Lendable system. Don't forget to get a membership for the chance to be able to borrow from this 9000+ tome treasure. The CI Book Club has started up again too. For more information contact

We are happy to welcome several regular volunteers with a strong love of Nature. With their help, CI is developing its interpretation of its incredible Natural Resources, from its Frog Population in the wetlands to managing the Woodlot and removing invasives. We now have installed 4 Nature Trail Panels thanks to a generous Franklin County Tourism Grant, with some more to follow soon.

Stop by the Front porch of the Welsh Barrens Visitor Center and pick up a Children's 'Explorer' activity packs. This free activity pack is a great way for families with young children to enjoy History and Nature at CI. You can even download and print it off at home and bring it with you next time you visit!

To stay up to date on the progress here at the Conococheague Institute, make sure to follow our Facebook page...or stop by and see the progress yourself!

Save the Date!

Fall Tree Planting: October 29th, Thursday 3 pm - 7 pm and November 1st, Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm Click to Sign Up!

Thanks to donations from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, CI has 90 trees to plant to increase our biodiversity and replenish its natural resources.

On Thursday 29th October and Sunday 1st November, we will be accepting volunteers to help in this task.

Volunteers will be guided through the various stages of planting: Location, Digging, Planting, and Nurturing, so don't hesitate if it's your first time.

You will learn about how we can protect the environment around us, as well as actually doing it!

Help is required of all ages, from young water carriers to wise sage experts.  

After a rewarding planting session on Thursday 29th, embrace the darkness in this spooky season! Our Naturalists will take you on a guided night hike of our Cemetery Trail. Learn that not everything that goes bump in the night is scary...Discover how bats use echolocation, follow the call of the swamp and learn what creatures dwell in the mire, and look out for ghosts and spirits....or Owl and bugs!

A candlelit tour of the Cemetery and our Historic grounds is a chance not to miss.

In this season of costumes, we encourage everyone to wear their long as they don't mind them getting muddy. But what does a Zombie/Vampire/Tree Fairy care about a little bit of mud?


Tools and training will be provided, but if you have a shovel please bring it. Gloves are recommended. Social distancing and COVID safety will be followed.

A Case to Justify Resistance: Politics of the Revolutionary War: Saturday, November 7th, 11 am - 8 pm

It is November 1775. The inhabitants of Welsh Run gather at John Davis’s Ordinary in preparation of Bon Fire night celebrations, but this year the thoughts of the Gun Powder Treason weigh heavy on the minds of many.

Violence has significantly escalated between England and the American colonies. In April, battles were fought in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts when British troops attempted to seize powder from the inhabitants. Since then, Boston has fallen under control of the British Army and has been under siege. Powder has been taken in other locations throughout the colonies. This only adds to the tensions that have been ongoing since the end of the Seven Years War. The Stamp Act, the Revenue Act, the Tea Act, the Coercive Acts, and now outright violence.

Since May, delegations from the colonies have been meeting in Philadelphia to discuss the ongoing conflict with England and what they believe should be done. The conversation is not limited to Philadelphia. Many settlers of Welsh Run have their own opinions and are more than eager to share them with anyone who will listen.

As you visit the Conocogeague Institute, you will step into Welsh Run in 1775 and will interact with the members of the community at and around the Davis Ordinary. Learn about their background, daily lives, and opinions on current news. You may be required to draw your own conclusions if the tavern breaks into all out debate.

As you wait for the Bon Fire Night festivities to begin, you could catch up on the news of the day, entertain yourself with tavern games, perform the odd job to earn a little money for your travels, or see what adventures interacting with the inhabitants of Welsh Run will bring.

November Book Club: 1 pm, Thursday 19th October at the Welsh Barrens Visitor Center

A Tale of Two Christmases

A Very American Christmas - 1820's: Saturday, December 5th, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Special Night Program 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Join members of the WS Hancock Society, in experiencing a Traditional American Christmas as you are transported back in time to the 1820's Federal Era.

A Very Colonial Christmas - 1770's: Saturday, December 12th, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Colonial Christmases were not so unlike how we celebrate today: "Mirth, of Merriment and Sporting". Embrace this Spirit at CI, with Holiday Hearth Cooking, Games, Festivities, and more. Programs and craft demonstrations at the Cabin and Tavern throughout the day.

Standard COVID-19 Policies will apply. By staging all public activities outside, proper social distancing will allow maximum enjoyment and safety for all. If you cannot maintain a 6 ft distance from someone, please follow CDC and State Guidelines and wear a face mask.

For more information on similar upcoming events, become a Member and sign up for our email newsletters.