Joseph Priestley House

Northumberland, Pennsylvania

Calendar of Events

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

January 6, 2013

Twelfth Day at Priestley House

Priestley House is seasonally decorated as an English manor house  for Twelfth Day.  Tour on your own with costumed docents in each room.  Dr. Priestley chemistry demonstrations at 1:30 and 2:30 pm.  Children’s games.  Admission fee charged.

Start: January 6, 2013 1:00 pm
End: January 6, 2013 4:00 pm

November 4, 2012

Heritage Day at Priestley House

Tour the Priestley House on your own and visit with costumed docents in room.  Dr. Priestley chemistry demonstrations at 1:30 and 2:30 pm.  Children’s games.  Admission fee charged.

Start: November 4, 2012 1:00 pm
End: November 4, 2012 4:00 pm

September 18, 2012

Annual Meeting of the Friends of Joseph Priestley House

Join us for the reception for the opening of the new exhibit: Joseph Priestley Timeline from 5:30 to 6:30 pm in the Pond Building.  Priestley invented the modern timeline that is so obvious and in widespread use today that we forget that it had to be invented by somebody.  The exhibit consists of a series of large panels depicting Priestley’s accomplishments during different time periods.

Carla Mulford

The annual meeting held in the Pond Building begins at 6:30pm with a  catered meal.  The price is $20 per person.  A short meeting follows the meal.  Speaker for the eveing is Carla Mulford,  Associate Professor of English at Penn State.   She will talk about Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Priestley as scientists interested in finding ways to publicize their findings to the world and the research on her new book, Benjamin Franklin and the Art of Science.  She was recently awarded the 2012 Bibliographical Society of America’s William L. Mitchell Prize, for scholarship in early British periodicals for the essay, “Benjamin Franklin’s Savage Eloquence: Hoaxes from the Press at Passy, 1782,” published in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, (Dec. 2008).

Registration Online.


Start: September 18, 2012 6:00 pm
End: September 18, 2012 8:00 pm

August 5, 2012

Oxygen Day

Open from 1 to 4pm with costumed docents in each room. Dr. Priestley’s chemistry demonstrations at 1:30pm and 3:00pm followed by  presentation on respiratory health by staff from Geisinger Center, Danville.  Free admission.

Start: August 5, 2012 1:00 pm
End: August 5, 2012 4:00 pm
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July 22, 2012

Archeology At Priestley House

Archeology program with Steve Warfel who led excavations at Priestley House for the PA State Museum.  Program begins at 3 PM in the Pond Building.  Free to the public.

Start: July 22, 2012 3:00 pm
End: July 22, 2012 4:00 pm