Spring 2020 
Welcome to the new Rock Ford quarterly e-newsletter 

In an effort to be cost-conscious and to reach our friends and members as quickly as possible during the current COVID-19 restrictions, our quarterly newsletter will now be sent by email.

As we all struggle together to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, your membership in Rock Ford is more important than ever. We want to offer a special thanks to all of our members for standing with us during this difficult time. 

If your membership has expired or is due to expire, renewals details may be found by  clicking here.

For a list of individuals and businesses who joined or renewed membership during our 2019-20 Annual Membership Appeal beginning November 1, 2019 through March 1, 2020,  please click here.

Children's Programming Meets with Growing Enthusiasm

Rock Ford's Children's Committee members enjoy finding creative ways to introduce children and their families to the rich history of our site and our Nation. Over the past few years, attendance at these family-friendly events has increased with many events selling out weeks in advance of their scheduled dates.

One such popular event is our annual "George Washington's Birthday Party." On February 9, Rock Ford hosted this event on the first floor of the Barn. The event attracted a sold-out attendance of 40 children and their families. This family-friendly event has evolved and grown over the years. This year's event not only included a read-aloud story about George Washington but also various stations featuring Colonial-themed games such as Graces, quoits, hoop rolling, pick-up sticks, and hopscotch, as well as quill pen writing and ice cream churning. The finale was the presentation of a birthday cake to our First President and the children singing "Happy Birthday!" Cake was served with the ice cream that was churned by the children. George Washington was once again enthusiastically portrayed by Brian McCreary. A local educator and actor, McCreary is well known to Rock Ford audiences as Squire Van Tassel in our "Sleepy Hollow: The Legend Returns to Rock Ford" production. 

Our next children's event, "It's Tea Time!," was originally scheduled for May 3. However, the event has been postponed and will be moved to a later date in the Fall.  

Additional children's programming will be announced on our website and social media in the coming months. 

Photo: Brian McCreary as President Washington poses with the children attending the George Washington's Birthday Party event on February 9. 
Snyder Gallery Update:
On-Line Planning 
by Sarah Alberico, Curator

The John J. Snyder, Jr. Gallery of Early Lancaster County Decorative Arts at Rock Ford is anticipated to open to the public in the summer of 2020.  

Even with the current closure of the Rock Ford office, many of those involved with various components of the Snyder Gallery have been utilizing on-line work spaces for the past few months. Google Docs, Google Folders and Dropbox files have been used to to assemble the collection on-line. Measurements, object photos, schematic furniture placement plans, interior elevations and research have all been shared among everyone involved in the discussion and creative process, namely, Paul Trapido of Interpretive Design, LLC, Lisa Minardi who is our guest curator, and Rock Ford's Collection Committee which includes Executive Director Samuel Slaymaker and myself. 

We are grateful to have already had all of this in place before we had to temporarily close our office due to COVID-19. We continue to work together online every day and through weekly phone conferences, knowing that the work can proceed toward the eventual opening of the Snyder Gallery.

Photo: Rock Ford Curator Sarah Alberico measured an area for placement of items in the future Snyder Gallery. Her measurements were then shared on-line with fellow team members.

Behind-the-Scenes: Creation of Donor Recognition Piece 

A large scale recreation of the upper portion of a Lancaster County tall case clock, designed and created by local artisans Stu Van Ormer, Catesby Gilbert and Alan Swanson, will serve as the "Donor Recognition Piece" for the John J. Snyder, Jr. Gallery of Early Lancaster County Decorative Arts. This photo, taken in early March, shows the clock being crafted in the studio of  Stu Van Ormer. This working clock, to be adorned on its dial with the names of major supporters of the capital campaign, was provided by the generous donation of a campaign supporter.  For information on supporting the capital campaign, please contact Sam Slaymaker at director@rockfordplantation.org.

Rock Ford Loses Two Long-Time Friends
by Samuel C. Slaymaker, Executive Director
On January 23, 2020, Paul Ripple, M.D. passed away at his home in Lancaster. Dr. Ripple was 97. Dr. Ripple was widely known for his prominent role in several historical organizations in our community and was a founding member of the Historic Preservation Trust and the Edward Hand Medical Heritage Society. He was also a long-time member and supporter of Rock Ford and a great admirer of Edward Hand who, as Dr. Ripple was always eager to remind us, was not only a General who fought beside George Washington but was also a medical doctor. Dr. Ripple portrayed General Hand for many years at Rock Ford special events wearing a Continental Army General's uniform that he had made for this purpose.  

On March 28, John M. Gibson passed away in Greenwich, Connecticut from complications related to the coronavirus. Mr. Gibson was 99. Mr. Gibson served on the Board of the Rock Ford Foundation and as Board President during its early years in the 1960'sand '70's and did much to establish Rock Ford's reputation as one of Pennsylvania's most significant historic house museums. As Board President, he and fellow board member Lieutenant-General Daniel B. Strickler welcomed Mamie Eisenhower to Rock Ford as the guest of honor at a black-tie fundraiser. Mr. Gibson and his late wife Sally acquired and donated several important objects to Rock Ford's collection including General Hand's field desk. In more recent years, he donated the reproduction Early American lanterns that hang inside the first floor of the barn. He was also a supporter of Rock Ford's capital campaign to establish the Snyder Gallery. He retained his interest in Rock Ford and his keen mind until the end of his life.

Both Dr. Ripple and Mr. Gibson will be missed, even as their legacy endures.

Rock Ford Awarded PHMC Grant
Rock Ford is pleased to announce that it was awarded a General Operating Support Grant in the amount of $4,000 from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These funds will be used to support educational programs and general museum operations. The PHMC awards General Operating Support grants on a competitive basis to eligible museums and historic sites throughout the Commonwealth on an annual basis.

Introducing our New Rental Coordinator

Rock Ford would like to welcome Amanda Elslager, our new Rental Coordinator. Amanda is a Lancaster County native who attended Millersville University and graduated with a degree in Biology Secondary Education. She taught 7th and 10th grade Biology until 2017, resigning after the birth of her second son. Amanda, her husband and three sons live in Lancaster. She enjoys gardening, collecting decorative antiques and spending time with her family. In addition to being our Rental Coordinator, Amanda is the party manager at Tiny Town, a locally owned children's play space. Having been married at Rock Ford herself, Amanda is ideally suited to introduce engaged couples to our very special wedding venue.

Thank you for the generous support of our 
2020 Season Sponsors:

Thomas G. Englert
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission