History Dinner Theater 2019-2020 Series

Join the McCarl Coverlet Gallery for our fourth season of History Dinner Theater. Visitors will dine on a gourmet three-course meal of their choosing while they are regaled by the historic tales, music, poetry, and personal accounts of some of the most fascinating historic figures in the History.


6 p.m. Friday, October 25, 2019
Fred Rogers Center

 $65 per person | Children $10 | Student rate $35 | Group rate $45 for 10 or more

Register for Josephine Baker Here!

On October 25, 2019 the McCarl Coverlet Gallery will present History Dinner Theater: Josephine Baker in the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College instead of the previously scheduled Rosa Parks Program.

Overcoming the limitations imposed by the color of her skin, she became one of the world’s most versatile entertainers, performing on stage, screen and recordings. Josephine was decorated for her undercover work for the French Resistance during World War II. She was a civil rights activist She often refused to perform to segregated audiences, which usually forced venue owners to forcibly segregate theaters or risk losing her as a performer. Her opposition against segregation and discrimination was recognized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1963, she was one of the few women allowed to speak at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. . She refused to perform for segregated audiences and integrated the Las Vegas nightclubs. She adopted twelve children from around the world whom she called her “Rainbow Tribe.”

Josephine Baker will be played by Vernice S. Jackson. Ms. Jackson is the President of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of Women In History.  She has guided and watched WIH grow since its inception in 1991. Ms. Jackson has found her experience with WIH quite extraordinary. “Each time I step into a costume, I open the door to the past and enable my character’s voice to be heard once again. I take pride in presenting details about her life and times that few people are aware of. I want my audience to know the woman as well as her historical contribution.”  Ms Jackson’s favorite character is Josephine Baker because “she was a free spirit, who successfully reinvented herself over and over again.  Obstacles were a temporary evil. She overcame poverty, lack of formal education, illnesses and racial discrimination. She was a true survivor.”

Ms. Jackson holds a BA in Communications from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Master of Science in Organizational Development and Analysis from Case Western Reserve University. She is an organizational development consultant, running her own practice, Match Method Solutions. She actively mentors students as they transition from college into business and engineering professions.  Ms. Jackson has been a civic volunteer in the Cleveland community for many years.  She is the proud mother of two daughters, one son, and “Grandma Niece” to two girls and a boy.


6 p.m. Thursday, December 5, 2019
Fred Rogers Center

$65 per person | Children $10 | Student rate $35 | Group rate $45 for 10 or more

Register for Celebrate Pennsylvania Here!

Award winning performer Paula Purnell performs songs written by and about the people of Pennsylvania, in this Pennsylvania roots music program. From the indigenous people of the Eastern Woodlands to the early English settlers and on to the workers of the industrial age, Dr. Purnell invites audiences to explore how and why people of Pennsylvania have been making music for thousands of years. Sharing artifacts and performing on authentic instruments including
the Native American Love Flute and the Appalachian Lap Dulcimer, Paula invites audiences to explore and discuss the daily life, toils, and triumphs of Pennsylvania’s bygone eras. Programs feature a variety of traditional folk tunes. Paula gives special attention to theme, local history, and culture.

Paula Purnell, D.Ed. is an educator and musician from Greensburg. She is the founder of Sense of Place Learning (SPL), an educational company that creates unique learning experiences celebrating the places we live through local history, ecology, and the arts. Paula holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she taught for several years before starting her business. She has released six albums of original music, including three Parent’s Choice award-winning children’s albums. Her band, The NewLanders, researches, records, and performs regional roots music. The NewLanders released two albums and has performed regionally and internationally. Paula has presented Pennsylvania roots music programs and workshops across Pennsylvania, both as a Pennsylvania Humanities Council Commonwealth Speaker and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Artist in Residence.


6 p.m. Friday, March 6, 2020
Fred Rogers Center

$65 per person | Children $10 | Student rate $35 | Group rate $45 for 10 or more

Register for African American Soldiers Here!

Learn about camp life and the struggle for African inclusion in the Continental Army, General Washington’s involvement with creating an all-African-American regiment at Valley Forge and why he ordered it to be abolished in 1780. The program uses an array of techniques to tell the story
in song, activity, demonstration, Q&A or with poetry. The program tells the story of these Black soldiers, free or enslaved, rebel or loyalist, and their hero, “Jack Sisson,” will illuminate their forgotten service at the birth of the nation, the reasons for the war, conditions of camp life, and their equipment. Joe Becton, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, was introduced to history by his father, a history and social studies teacher in the Philadelphia school system. Becton earned associate degrees in social work and social science from Reading Area Community College, and a bachelor of arts degree in history education from the University of West Florida. He has been a Marine, a park ranger, counselor, teacher and director of visitor services. Presently he is a park ranger supervisor at Independence National Historic Park, and was director of visitor services at Historic Fort Mifflin. Musically, he plays 18th, 19th and 20th century instruments from the electric guitar to the glass
harmonica, and leads the Cobalt Blues Band. Becton is a member of the Association for the Study of African-American History and Life, and the Pennsylvania Historical Society. He is cofounder of
the 3rd Regiment United States Colored Troops Civil War reenactors and the First Rhode Island regiment American Revolutionary war reenactors. His research at Valley Forge helped the Delta Sigma Theta construct a monument to Patriots of African Descent in 1993. He and his wife have five children and three grandchildren.


6 p.m. Friday, May 22, 2020
Fred Rogers Center

$65 per person | Children $10 | Student rate $35 | Group rate $45 for 10 or more

Register for Women for the Vote Here!

All proceeds benefit the educational programming, collections care, and exhibitions at the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery.

Seasonal Events and Workshops

call 724-805-2188 to register


School Programs

Info Sheet FINAL-1Info Sheet FINAL-2

The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery would like to invite you to attend Woven into History, a history-based program for visiting classes of school children in grades K-6. Saint Vincent College is located in Westmoreland County, PA in the Laurel Highlands and is located an hour outside of Pittsburgh.

This program is funded by Museums for America, the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ largest grant program for museums, supporting projects and ongoing activities that build museums’ capacity to serve their communities. The cost to attend is $3.00 per child.

Woven into History uses the Gallery’s Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Collection as a source of original artifacts for young students to learn from. As part of the program, students will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on creative processes to explore mid-19th century American life. Through these activities, they will discover the history of the coverlets and other American textiles and how they relate to their lives. It is our hope that students will begin to appreciate the many examples of folk art incorporated into the coverlet designs.

The 386 jacquard-loomed collection is one of the world’s largest of American “figured and fancy” hand woven coverlets. It represents the historic 19th century transition from commercial handloom weaving to mechanized factory production in America.

In school options are available as well as museum visits.To reserve a field trip or request more information, please contact us at your earliest convenience.
We look forward to hearing from you!


Scout Programs


Stitch it Together*
Scouts will participate in sewing activities such as an animal sewing card, embroidery, making quilt patches and discussing what it
was like to be a young colonial girl in America.

Listening to the Past
As the scouts tour the gallery, they will hear stories and play games from long ago.


Yarn and Fabric Arts*
The Girl Scouts will learn about the history of coverlets and experiment with weaving, stitching and dyeing techniques.

Folk Arts
In this program, scouts will have the opportunity to participate in multiple activities including drawing portraits and writing a short story from an old photograph, acting out a fairy tale, myth or legend. The scouts can also learn to make a quill pen and practice penmanship, participate in a stenciled
note card activity and learn about the history of the McCarl Coverlet Gallery.

Making Hobbies
Scouts will use materials such as nature, recycled materials, paint and paper to do various arts and crafts such as gift wrap and prints.

One adult is free for every four scouts.

Programs are $6.00 per scout, except for patches that require additional material. These programs are noted by an asterisks and cost $8.00 per scout.

Programs are subject to an eight scout minimum charge.

A deposit is required at the time of registration.