Street Address
1120 Pine Grove Road
Gardners, PA 17324
Mailing Address
1120 Pine Grove Road
Gardners, PA 17324
phone: 717-486-8126
e-mail: info@atmusem.org
web: www.atmuseum.org
Hours
March 26 - May 1
Weekends only
Sunday, Saturday12 PM - 4 PM
May 7 - July 17
Every day
Daily9 AM - 4 PM
July 18 - Aug 21
Every day
Daily12 PM - 4 PM
Aug 24 - Oct 30
(open Labor day and Columbus day)
Sunday, Wednesday - Saturday12 PM - 4 PM
Admissions
Free. Donations Accepted.
Services
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Staff
Joe Harold, Museum Manager
phone: 717-486-8126

Description

The museum opened on June 5, 2010, as a tribute to the thousands of men, women and families who have hiked and maintained the 2,189 mile long hiking trail that passes through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. Located in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, Pennsylvania, the museum is conveniently near Carlisle, Gettysburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

Appropriately, the Museum is housed in a building that is itself a historical artifact, a structure built more than two hundred years ago as a grist mill. It stands across the road from the Pine Grove general store, a site famed in hiker lore. It is here that thru-hikers traditionally stop to celebrate reaching the midpoint by eating -- or attempting to eat -- a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. The Museum has had visitors from throughout the United States and 18 other countries since it opened in Pine Grove Furnace State Park in June 2010.

Nearby is the Ironmasters Mansion which is open due to the help of the Central PA Conservancy (CPC) and over 4,800 hours of volunteer help.

The Old Mill is owned by the State Park, but has had limited use in recent years. Following the negotiation of a lease agreement that allowed the building's use for museum purposes, extensive renovations were undertaken -- mostly with the use of volunteer labor. The result is that the main floor is now up to code requirements and is in use as the Appalachian Trail Museum. Plans are in the works for future renovations, as funds become available, that will make space available on another floor.

Mission

The Appalachian Trail Museum Society serves the Appalachian Trail community by telling the stories of the founding, construction, preservation, maintenance, protection, and enjoyment of the Trail since its creation. The Museum will collect, preserve, and interpret materials relevant to these subjects in an effort to portray not only the history of the Trail, but also the essence of the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual human experience of the Appalachian environment and the culture of hiking.

History

The Appalachian Trail Museum recently completed its sixth successful season in the midst of Pennsylvania's beautiful South Mountain. In 2015 we welcomed 8,899 visitors and our volunteers served more than 2,500 hours acting as docents, hiking guides, cleanup crew, researchers, and construction and grounds keeping crews among many other things.

download

This season our crew under chief Ron Bungay completed the Children's Area and with the help of twenty ALDHA members on Columbus Day started work on the second and third floors, which will be the new main Museum entrance. Ron also disassembled the Devils Racecourse shelter in preparation for its use as an exhibit. The crew led by Jack Adams plans to finish the entrance ramp to the second floor by Spring.

We will celebrate our progress by dedicating the Children's Area in June during our Hall of Fame weekend. We hope this Children's Festival will be the biggest event at the Museum since the Grand Opening.

The ground floor work is funded in part by an $18,000 grant from the Cumberland County Visitors Bureau, a generous supporter of the Museum from our inception. Part of the work involved installing heating and air conditioning units. The new climate control will make visiting the Museum more comfortable and help to preserve our exhibits. We also installed the first of the Children's exhibits, which were designed by Gwen Loose and Graphik Masters.

Artifacts Collections

Hiking gear; trail building tools; historic shelters; directional and place name signs.

Current exhibits include a trail shelter that was built by hiker legend Earl Shaffer. The shelter, which has been replaced with a more modern one, was painstakingly disassembled at its former site on Peters Mountain in Pennsylvania and reassembled in the new Museum. In addition, there are artifacts that belonged to other hiking pioneers such as Grandma Gatewood, Gene Espy, and Ed Garvey. In the Museum computers display the more than 12,000 photos that have been taken of thru-hikers as they reached Harpers Ferry on their journeys either north or south. There is also a children's discovery area and hiker welcoming areas both inside and outside.

Our collection continues to grow with a wide variety of unusual items. Among the additions to the collection this year were many artifacts of Nimblewill Nomad, a prolific and charismatic hiker. A colorful cast iron plaque from the Delaware Water Gap is now on display in our sign exhibit area, courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Dave Sherman traced the plaque's fascinating history with a wide ranging research effort. The plaque ties together many of the strands of the A.T.'s early history.

David Field donated some bunk poles from the historic Poplar Ridge Shelter in Maine. He had helped to install the poles in 1961 and to remove them 54 years late

Other items donated included a large geologic map from the International Appalachian Trail, many trail registers, surveys from early thru-hikers by Susan Gail Arey and additional books from Roger Williamson and Linda Patton (for the children's library). To house this growing collection, we expanded our storage space in Carlisle.

Research Collections

Trail registers; early A.T. related publications; maps; ledgers; hiking diaries; hiker images.

Items donated in 2015 include a large geologic map from the International Appalachian Trail, many trail registers, surveys from early thru-hikers by Susan Gail Arey and additional books from Roger Williamson and Linda Patton (for the children's library).

Educational Programs

Exhibitions; Docent programs; Lectures

Each weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day (usually 2:00pm on Sundays) the A.T. Museum will present Public Programs. Each presentation will cover a different topic of interest dealing with hiking, the A.T., the local area or something fun.

  • •Programs are free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated.
  • •Children 12 years of age and under must be accompanied by an adult.
  • •Weather permitting and when appropriate, programs will be held outdoors on the grounds of the museum.
  • •Public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.
  • •Plan to arrive early and ask at the museum for program location.
  • •Programs are subject to change. Visit this blog or www.atmuseum.org for current information.

Facilities

The museum is housed in an early 19th century gristmill that is a part of the Pine Grove Furnace historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Governance

The Board of the A.T. Museum Society is the governing authority for the A.T. Museum.

The Appalachian Trail Museum Society, a 501-C-3 not-for-profit organization formed in 2002, organizes programs, exhibits, volunteers and fundraising nationwide for the Appalachian Trail Museum.

Publications

Annual report; monthly volunteers newsletter; periodic emails to members and other constituents regarding museum programming and other events.

    ADA

    Wheelchair Accessible

    Restrooms

    Services

    The Museum maintains a small gift shop on site and offers an online gift shop.

    The Earl Shaffer Foundation (ESF) celebrates the life and times of Earl V. Shaffer of Pennsylvania. Writer, poet, naturalist, dedicated environmentalist, and the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from end to end in one continuous journey.

    The Appalachian Trail Museum is proud to announce that we have entered into a partnership with the ESF and offer all the products that can be purchased from the Foundation. This partnership benefits both the ESF and the AT Museum. Your support is appreciated.

    Gift Shop

    Online Gift Shop