Home Feasterville-Trevose Times Mercer Museum artifacts to be displayed at Playwicki

Mercer Museum artifacts to be displayed at Playwicki

The public can view items unearthed in the 1890s at the Feasterville farm during Fun Day on Oct. 23

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Hidden gems: As part of the upcoming Fun Day on Oct. 23 at Feasterville’s Playwicki Farm, the public will be able to view these artifacts unearthed in the 1890s. Source: Mercer Museum
Hidden gems: As part of the upcoming Fun Day on Oct. 23 at Feasterville’s Playwicki Farm, the public will be able to view these artifacts unearthed in the 1890s. Source: Mercer Museum

Attendees at Playwicki Farm’s annual Fun Day on Saturday, Oct. 23, can get a taste of true history when two culturally significant artifacts on loan from the Mercer Museum will be on display for public viewing.

The artifacts – a hammerstone and a grindstone – were originally unearthed during an archaeological dig in the 1890s at the 110-acre farm, located at 2350 Bridgetown Pike in Feasterville.

Henry Chapman Mercer, founder of the Mercer Museum, Research Library and Fonthill Castle, the latter of which was his home, conducted the dig at Playwicki, formerly the site of a Native American village.

The grindstone is a round sharpening stone used for grinding or sharpening ferrous tools, while the hammerstone is an ancient stone tool used as a hammer for chipping flint, processing food or breaking up bones.

Arranging and coordinating the loan of the artifacts were Rose McMenamin, president of the Playwicki Farm Foundation; Patrice Luongo, foundation vice president; and Ray Weldie, chairperson of the Lower Southampton Township board of supervisors.

This trio worked closely with Kristin Lapos, collections manager at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, to work out the details of the loan.

“We are thrilled and excited to have these two wonderful pieces of our history back at the farm to be viewed, enjoyed and appreciated by our officers and board, government officials and the public-at-large,” said McMenamin and Luongo. “It was certainly worth all the time and effort it took to get it done.”

These two items will be added to almost 100 other antiques, artifacts and jewelry, now being housed at the farm as part of its rich history.

A majority of the original collection was donated to the Playwicki Farm Foundation by Mary Loretta Van Artsdalen, the last of six generations of the Van Artsdalen family to be born and raised at Playwicki Farm on April 25, 1920.

After her family sold the farm, she attended college and, in 1945, married Ralph Hays. The couple generously donated all of their antiques and artifacts from when she resided on the property to the Playwicki Farm Foundation.

On May 18, 1994, the farm was purchased by the Lower Southampton Township board of supervisors from the estate of Elizabeth Snodgrass.

Then, in September 1996, the foundation was created as an independent, tax-exempt corporation to raise money for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. The funds are used for the repair, replacement, maintenance and preservation of the farm and the development of educational programs.

McMenamin and her fellow Playwicki Farm Foundation members are excited to be hosting a full schedule of events this year after the majority were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fun Day runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is slated to feature a trunk or treat for children. This event is free to attend.

Upcoming events include a holiday market on Nov. 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and a holiday open house that same day featuring the highly anticipated arrival of Santa Claus, from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information, call the Playwicki Farm Foundation at 215-357-7300, Ext. 326, visit playwickifarm.org or email playwicki.farm.foundation@gmail.com.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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