Eight local groups, plus Amtrak's Arrive magazine, have been singled out. Along with Ziegler, they will be honored at an Oct. 24 reception at the society, 13th and Locust Streets.
The eight groups are the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, the historic Victorian house and garden in Germantown, honored for its "Upstairs/Downstairs" interpretive program; the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester for its university public history program; and Delawarecountyhistory.com for its partnership with the Delaware County Historic & Preservation Network.
Also, Grumblethorpe, the 18th-century seat of the Wister family in Germantown, for its youth volunteer program; the Newtown Square Historical Society for its Paper Mill House School Tour, in which homeschoolers of all ages interpret history and act as tour guides; the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust for its long-term leasing program for historic buildings in the park; the Perkasie Historical Society for the restoration of its museum and collection; and the Upper Darby Historical Society for its Collen Brook Farm school tours.
Diane Richardson, executive director of the Maxwell Mansion, said the "Upstairs/Downstairs" program explores the lives of Victorian women. The downstairs tour is led by a maid, the upstairs tour by a fine lady, each in period attire. Visitors learn about fashions of dress and decor, social attitudes, politics, baking - anything that might have engaged women of different classes 150 years ago.
"It's an immersive experience," said Richardson, noting that attendance has risen for six years.
Ziegler, 72 and retired, is originally from Allentown and made his first forays to New Hope in the 1960s: "The restaurants, the clubs, the playhouse - everything was here. I was attracted by that and by the sheer beauty of it, the river, the canal."
But the history really grabbed him, particularly the Parrys. Benjamin Parry, "Father of New Hope," established mills on the river in the 1780s and constructed a Georgian-style mansion on what is now South Main Street that serves as headquarters for the New Hope Historical Society. Ziegler began his New Hope activity as a docent there.
He's written two books, New Hope, Pennsylvania: River Town Passages and The Parrys of Philadelphia and New Hope; he's served as society president, and is now on its board. He also just completed a video documentary about the 200th anniversary in 2014 of the New Hope-Lambertville bridge, wrote the New Hope walking tour, and is chair of the annual New Hope History Day.
William K. Marimow, editor of The Inquirer, will speak at the Pennsylvania Historical Society reception. (Information online at hsp.org/hipawards.)
Contact culture writer Stephan Salisbury at 215-854-5594, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @SPSalisbury on Twitter