My son Tom and I spent the afternoon in nearby Hershey and Palmyra, Pennsylvania. The latter town has a very nice little wargaming store called Pastimes (the same folks that are usually found in the dealer hall at Historicon and Cold Wars selling flocking and terrain items). They have a lot of 15mm JR Miniatures Civil War buildings of various sorts, as well as other items of interest including trees, tree kits, mats, GHQ Terrain Maker kits, ModelMaster paints, etc. For those who enjoy Settlers of Catan, Pastimes sells very professional wooden gaming trays to hold the hexes in place – very, very nice!
Next door to Pastimes is a well-stocked Army-Navy store, with a ton of uniforms, equipment, hats, etc. Of interest to gamers is their wide selection of Humbrol paints (mostly modern camo colors), as well as plastic model kits (airplanes, ships mostly) and 12″ detailed action figures of various armies.
We toured the Hershey Museum for the first time (before our twentieth trip through the Disney-like “factory tour”). From a ACW history perspective, the museum contained a few Civil War items from Milton S. Hershey’s private collection, including a Confederate tin canteen from Gettysburg with a bullet hole through it on both sides. Also, Hershey had a hand-carved wooden cane with a bullet from Devil’s Den imbedded in the wood. The museum contains a lot of Civil War-period Pennsylvania German furniture, dishes, household goods, and other things that would have been familiar to the Trostles, Weikerts, Codoris, Spanglers, and other Gettysburg residents during the war years.
The museum has a well-rounded collection of American Indian items (Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Southwest desert, and Northwest artifacts such as Sioux warbonnets and weapons, Navajo silver, totem poles, and many other items Hershey bought. The rest of the museum includes displays on Hershey’s life, the development of Hershey Park and the chocolate company, and a Hollywood Walk of Fame type display of celebrity handprints in cement.
I have always been fascinated by the sinking of Titanic in April 1912. I was surprised the museum had a large display wall devoted to coverage of the disaster. Milton Hershey had vacationed in Europe and Egypt, and had paid $300 as a 10% down payment on a first-class stateroom on Titanic. Hershey had to return early and instead booked passage to New York City on the German luxury liner Amerika. He missed probable death by a couple of days, as few men in first class survived.
All told, it was a fun day of relaxation with one of my kids before we headed home to play some video games (EA Sports basketball and football).