Joseph Priestley House

Northumberland, Pennsylvania

Calendar of Events

September 18, 2019

Annual Meeting of the Friends of Joseph Priestley House September 18

The Annual Meeting of the Friends of Joseph Priestley House will be held at 6 pm on September 18 at the Townside Too, Front Street, Northumberland, PA.  Guest speaker will be Dr. Jennifer Kosmin, Professor of History at Bucknell University.

Start: September 18, 2019 6:00 pm
End: September 18, 2019 8:00 pm
Venue: Townside Too
Front Street, Northumberland, PA, United States

July 24, 2019 – July 26, 2019

History Camp at Priestley House

First through sixth graders may now register for Summer History Camp at the Joseph Priestley House in Northumberland.  The Joseph Priestley House will hold its camp from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, July 24, 25, and 26. Theme of the camp is: ” Dr. Priestley  in Northumberland“.   JoAnn Long , former  teacher, and volunteers have planned lots of interesting activities that will allow campers to become familiar with the Priestleys and how children lived  in early America.  Crafts, games, stories, snack time, and visits with special guest presenters are part of each day’s activities.  The fee is $30.00 per child.

All campers must register in advance.

Enrollment is limited to 20 campers and the registration deadline is Monday, July 23.  For more information, please call 570-473-9474.







The fee is $30.00 per child.

Enrollment is limited to 20 students at each camp and we will accept registrations on a first come‐first served basis. Please register early to avoid being disappointed. Camp is open to children in 1st through 6th grades.
* indicates required field
Start: July 24, 2019 9:00 am
End: July 26, 2019 12:00 pm
Cost: $30

June 9, 2018

World Doll Day Celebration at Joseph Priestley House June 9, 2018

Doll Day to be celebrated at Joseph Priestley House June 9, 2018

The Friends of Joseph Priestley House will honor long time volunteer Ruth Eleanor McCorkill (Nov 6, 1920 – May 3, 2017) with a celebration on World Doll Day, Saturday, June 9, 2018. from 1-4 pm.  World Doll Day was created in 1986 to spread the universal message of happiness and love.

McCorkill was an active volunteer at Joseph Priestley House beginning in 1991.  She was honored as the museum’s Volunteer of the Year in 1997 and received the Outstanding Service Award of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2013. Ruth Eleanor, in costume, served as our front door greeter during special events. Her personal addition to costumed events has been the creation of a miniature doll character, Merry-Merry, an attraction that especially charmed young children who visited.

The event planning committee would like to contact people who would like to be involved, whether to display their own doll collection or a doll from their childhood, or in preparing for the day.World

Persons interested in participating in the event should contact Hope Webster Kopf  570-490-0246  email:

Free admission to Priestley House.  There is a charge for the Victorian Tea.

To register for the tea party use this form: Tea Party RSVP Form

Ruth Eleanor McCorkill and Merry Merry



Start: June 9, 2018 1:00 pm
End: June 9, 2018 4:00 pm
Cost: Free excpt for Victorian Tea

August 5, 2017 – August 6, 2017

Priestley Descendants Gathering

The Friends of Joseph Priestley House invite descendants of Joseph and Mary Priestley to a special two day gathering on Saturday and Sunday, August 5 and 6, 2017 to visit the Priestley’s American home to learn about the life and achievements of their famous ancestor.


Register on-line   Here

Start: August 5, 2017 9:00 am
End: August 6, 2017 4:00 pm
Venue: Joseph Priestley House
Phone: 570-473-9474
472 Priestley avenue, Northumberland, PA, United States
Cost: Free

May 1, 2017 – August 31, 2017

Time Traveler’s Passport Program – Summer 2017



Priestley House is again participating in the Heritage Alliance 2017 Time Traveler’s Passport Program.  The program offers twelve heritage sites in the Susquehanna River Valley where you are guaranteed to learn something about our region’s history that we bet you didn’t know! Visit at least five of the sites and you’ll be entered to win a $500 prepaid credit card for an overnight stay in Philadelphia, plus four complimentary tickets for both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Franklin Institute.

Passports are available at participating sites and here



Start: May 1, 2017 8:00 am
End: August 31, 2017 5:00 pm

January 21, 2017 – February 5, 2017

Gunpowder Joe at Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble

The Friends of Joseph Priestley House is pleased to be one of the  sponsors of  the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE)  production of Gunpowder Joe: Joseph Priestley, Pennsylvania, and the American Experiment directed by Ensemble Member Laurie McCants.   Gunpowder Joe will play Thursday thru Sundays from January 19th through February 5th.

Opening night is Saturday January 21 at 7:30pm.

Thursday-Saturday evening performances at 7:30pm  Sunday matinees at 3pm.

A Symposium with playwright Anthony Clarvoe and BTE  and guest speakers will be held on Sunday, January 22 following 3pm performance.


Reservations:  or 570-784-8181

Start: January 21, 2017 7:30 am
End: February 5, 2017 3:00 pm
Venue: Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble
Phone: 570-784-8181
226 Center Street, Bloomsburg, PA, 17815, United States

September 23, 2015

Annual Meting of the Friends of Joseph Priestley House

The annual meeting of the Friends of Joseph Priestley House will be held on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at Townside Too, 253 Front   Street, Northumberland, PA17857  (570) 473-2233.  This event will start at 6:00 p.m. with wine and appetizers available as people arrive.  A catered meal will be available at 6:30pm.  A short business meeting will follows the meal.  The program for the evening will be singer songwriter Van Wagner presenting songs and stories of early life in the Susquehanna Valley.

[Register Online]

Van Wagner


Start: September 23, 2015 6:00 pm
End: September 23, 2015 8:00 pm
Venue: Townside Too
Phone: 570.473.9474
253 Front Street, Northumberland, PA, 17857, United States
Cost: $20

June 28, 2015

Author to give talk on Thomas Cooper, Alien and Sedition laws

Author Charles Slack, whose new book chronicles the prosecutions of Thomas Cooper and other newspaper editors who wrote articles critical of President John Adams, will speak at Priestley House on Sunday, June 28.

Charles Slack


Titled Liberty’s First Crisis, Slack’s book examines the political issues and international conditions that led President Adams and other Federalists to enact the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. The Federalists controlled the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court, and they used these laws to prosecute Cooper and others whose writings they saw as undermining the authority of  the federal government.

The book describes how Cooper, a close friend of Dr. Priestley and editor of the Sunbury and Northumberland Gazette, was brought to trial in federal court in Philadelphia in April 1800. He was charged with publishing material in 1799 that libeled the president.All the while, the Federalists readily exercised their right to verbally attack their out-of-power foes, the Democratic-Republicans.

Slack’s presentation will take place in the Pond Building beginning at 2 p.m

Start: June 28, 2015 2:00 pm
End: June 28, 2015 4:00 pm

April 27, 2013

Volunteer of the Year Awards

Volunteer of the Year Awards

The PA Historical and Museum Commission holds its annual Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony on  Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Volunteers are selected for recognition for service during the previous year at each of the sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Each of these honorees will receive a commemorative pin, a resolution from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and a complimentary one-year membership in the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, which supports the work of the PHMC through programs, fundraising, and special initiatives.

Two volunteers from Priestley House will receive awards this year.  Cheryl Snyder as the 2012 Volunteer of the Year at Priestley House and Ruth Eleanor Mc Corkill for Outsanding Service spanning 20 years.. 
Cheryl Snyder fills two vital roles for The Friends of Joseph Priestley House: she edits our newsletter and serves as an enthusiastic Visitors Center Volunteer. After working for more than thirty-five years as both a research chemist and as a chemical educator, Cheryl and her husband, Joe, retired and returned to her hometown of Sunbury. Her work on the newsletter, dealing with deadlines and volunteer authors, is much appreciated because she does it with a very competent eye and a cheerful spirit. As a loyal visitors’ center receptionist, Cheryl pitched in from the start several years ago when the Museum’s staff was furloughed. Because of her education and experience she is able to explain chemical concepts and historical issues when others are stumped, a boon to both our visitors and our volunteers.

Cheryl Snyder

The PHMC Outstanding Service Award recognizes and honors exceptional, long-term contributions by an individual who has given unselfishly of time and talents for the advancement of a museum.
Ruth Eleanor McCorkill has been an active volunteer at Joseph Priestley House since 1991, over 20 years.  She was our Volunteer of the Year in 1997. Her enthusiasm for this historical site in her beloved home community has been unflagging. She was one of an original group of women who hand sewed costumes and created exhibits for the Elizabeth Ryland Priestley bedroom.
Her devotion to the museum has endured; she has been sure to keep in touch and been there in person, in costume, as our front door greeter during special events. Her personal addition to our costumed events has been the creation of a miniature doll character, Merry Merry, an attraction that especially charms young children who visit.


Ruth Eleanor McCorkill

Start: April 27, 2013 10:30 am
End: April 27, 2013 5:00 pm
Venue: PA State Museum
400 North St., Harrisburg, PA, United States
Cost: By invitation

April 21, 2013

Volunteer Recognition Tea

Volunteer Recognition Tea
Volunteers at Jospeh Priestley house and members of the Friends of Joseph Priestley House are invited to a “Thank You” tea on Sunday afternoon, April 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm in the Pond Building.

Members and Volunteers please join us for light refreshments, awards and conversation.

Start: April 21, 2013 4:30 pm
End: April 21, 2013 6:00 pm
Venue: Pond Building
Phone: 570.473.9474
472 Priestley Ave, Northumberland, PA, 17857, United States