GARDNERS, PA - When the Appalachian Trail Museum opens on Saturday, March 29, for its fifth season, a new manager will be at the helm - Joe Harold.

"The museum's first two manager's - first Margy Schmidt and then Howard Davis -- got us off to a terrific start, and Joe is building on their momentum," said Larry Luxenberg, museum founder and president of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society. "We have made great progress over the past four years with an increase in membership; the addition of new exhibits, including the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame; facility improvements; a published book; and a growing connection with the Appalachian Trail hiking community."

Harold, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., is retired from the United States Coast Guard and is a veteran hiker, having enjoyed hiking portions of the Appalachian Trail with his wife and daughters. "I have hiked sections in Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and my wife and I hope to thru hike the tail in the future," Harold said, noting that the museum manager position is an ideal fit for him. Thru-hiking is hiking the entire 2,184 miles of the Appalachian Trail in one trip.

The Appalachian Trail Museum will be open during the 2014 season on:
• Saturday, March 29, to Sunday, May, 4 - weekends, noon to 4:00 pm
• Saturday, May 10, to Sunday July 6 - 9:00AM to 4:00 pm every day
• Monday, July 7, to Sunday, August 3 - noon to 4:00 pm every day
• August 4 to November 2; noon to 4:00 pm Wednesday thru Sunday
• Labor Day - Monday, September 1
• Columbus Day, Monday, October 13

During the 2014 season, Luxenberg said the museum will showcase Thru by Georgia author and thru-hiker Richard Judy. Proceeds from this, the first book published by the museum, will help fund museum operations and programs. THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story tells the story of a diverse group of northbound thru-hikers who meet on Georgia's Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and their experiences to the northern terminus at Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Luxenberg said during the season ahead renovation work will be done to improve second floor and basement access. Among the new exhibits will be one on the white blazes that mark the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. "We also are updating the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame panel and increasing the number of objects in the exhibit about Earl Shaffer, the first person to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. His guitar, which is now in Columbus, Ohio, will be a welcomed addition," Luxenberg said.

More than 7,525 visitors experienced the Appalachian Trail Museum during the 2013 season. Luxenberg said since opening in 2010 the museum has had more than 29,800 visitors from across the United States and many other countries.

Museum manager Harold said volunteers are being sought for all aspects of museum operations from greeters and docents to maintenance and landscaping crews to program and hike leaders. Those interested in volunteering should contact Harold at

Located in a 200-year-old, restored grist mill in historic Pine Grove Furnace State Park and at the midway point of the 2,184-mile-longAppalachian Trail, the museum is across from the Pine Grove GeneralStore on scenic Pennsylvania Route 233 in Cumberland County.