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.

Season Tickets $245 per person 5 performances, Call 724-805-2188 to register for season tickets


6 p.m. Saturday, September 14, 2019

Fred Rogers Center

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

Registration Closed

To many the Universe is a closed book of secrets never to be read. Almost four hundred years ago, an unknown court mathematician in Italy opened that book and laid the foundation for modern science. Galileo Galilei turned his telescope to the heavens to discover mountains and craters on the moon, four moons of Jupiter, and countless stars never before seen. Even more significant was his method of observation and mathematical analysis.He taught future scientists the way to discover the laws of nature. The Starry Messenger is a dramatic fun-filled adaptation of Galileo’s
short treatise “Siderius Nuncius”. Galileo (dressed in 17th century Costume) arrives to present a public lecture on his most recent discoveries made using his newly devised spyglass. As he describes those discoveries, Galileo’s new method of observation and measurement of nature become apparent. Throughout the presentation audience members are actively involved in
experiments and demonstrations. After the lecture, Galileo answers questions
about his experiments, his life and his times.

Mike Francis brings astronomy to life with his Stars Science Theater programs. A physical science and physics teacher and formerly a lecturer for ten years at the Charles Hayden Planetarium at Boston’s Museum of Science, Mike combines the science of astronomy with the dramatic skills of an actor. Whether portraying Galileo, building a solar system with his lunch as the Stargazer’s Apprentice or narrating a tour of the current night sky in his Starlab traveling planetarium, Mike shares his love of the heavens with schools, libraries, museums and special events across the country.


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 Rosa Parks Here!

Sherrie Tolliver of Women in History will re-enact the life of Rosa Parks.
Rosa Parks made history when her arrest on a segregated bus sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks is known as the mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, but her life of activism began long before her arrest and continued for decades. Hear the story of this quiet but courageous woman and her recollections of the tumultuous times in which she lived. Tolliver has worked with Women In History, an organization dedicated to education through the dramatic recreation of lives of notable women in U.S. History since 1994 and has accumulated a rich cadre of characters. Ms. Tolliver has a BFA in acting from New York University where she minored in African-American history. She has extensive training in dance, theater and music. Currently she works as an early childcare educator and performs as an actress and standup comic. She has taught drama at the Cleveland School of the Arts, the Beck Center and the Jerry Leonard Youth Theater. She has performed at the Cleveland Playhouse, Cain Park’s Alma Theater, Karamu House, the Front Row Theater, Jewish Community Center’s Variety Tale Theater and Kennedy’s Cabaret at Playhouse Square. Q&A following presentation.


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.