The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) invites Pennsylvania residents and visitors to celebrate the commonwealth’s 334th birthday on Charter Day, Sunday, March 8, with free admission to many historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History®.
Charter Day celebrates the founding of Pennsylvania. The special day gives visitors to The State Museum of Pennsylvania a rare opportunity to see the original Charter of Pennsylvania written in 1681. England’s King Charles II used the charter to grant the land that is now Pennsylvania to founder William Penn. It is sometimes referred to as Pennsylvania’s “birth certificate” and was Penn’s personal copy.
“The charter is a tangible link to Pennsylvania’s founding,” said James M. Vaughan, PHMC’s executive director. “The fragile historical document is exhibited only once a year and for a very short time.”
In addition to the charter exhibit, The State Museum will present a host of exhibits and activities celebrating Charter Day. Museum admission is free and includes visits to the Curiosity Connection, Planetarium and galleries.
Here’s a list of Charter Day activities available to visitors of The State Museum
- In honor of the 50th anniversary of The State Museum and Archives Complex, PHMC preservation architect Andrea Lowery will offer a talk on Midcentury Modern architecture and the significance of the complex, opened in 1965 and recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Guests can meet “William Penn,” portrayed by William C. Kashatus, and hear tales of bygone days told by storyteller “Pennsylvania Jack,” performed by John T. Graham.
- Dan Lynch from the Pennsylvania Game Commission will demonstrate how conservation officers identify crimes against wildlife and protect the commonwealth’s animal population.
- The Victorian Dance Ensemble will perform.
- PHMC staff and professionals from central Pennsylvania’s many historical societies will be available to answer questions. Pennsylvania’s 2014 National History Day winners will also attend.
In addition to programming at The State Museum, many historic sites and museums along PHMC’s Trails of History will offer free admission on March 8, 2015.
Participating museums and historic sites include:
- Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, Scranton
- Brandywine Battlefield Park, Chadds Ford
- Conrad Weiser Homestead, Womelsdorf
- Cornwall Iron Furnace, Cornwall
- Daniel Boone Homestead, Birdsboro
- Drake Well Museum, Titusville
- Eckley Miners’ Village, Weatherly
- Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata
- Erie Maritime Museum & Flagship Niagara, Erie
- Fort Pitt Museum, Pittsburgh
- Graeme Park, Horsham
- Hope Lodge, Ft. Washington
- Joseph Priestley House, Northumberland
- Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Lancaster
- Old Economy Village, Ambridge
- Pennsbury Manor, Morrisville
- Pennsylvania Military Museum, Boalsburg
- Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg
- Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing
For more information on Charter Day 2015, visit www.statemuseumpa.org.
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