Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Historical and
Museum Commission (PHMC) invites Pennsylvania residents and visitors to
celebrate the commonwealth’s 333rd birthday on Charter Day, Sunday, March 9,
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 a rare opportunity to see
the original Charter of Pennsylvania written in 1861. 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.
This year the Penn Charter will be
on display at William Penn’s home, Pennsbury Manor in Morrisville, Bucks
County. This is the first time since 1960 the document has been exhibited
outside of Harrisburg. It will be displayed at Pennsbury Manor for one
week only, from March 9 to March 16, 2014.
“The charter is a tangible link to
Pennsylvania’s founding,” said James M. Vaughan, PHMC executive director. “The
fragile historical document is exhibited only once a year and for a very short
time — usually at The State Museum in Harrisburg. Staff at Pennsbury and the
Pennsylvania State Archives have worked very diligently to make this special
Visitors to Pennsbury Manor will be
admitted free from 1 to 4 p.m. on Charter Day. The charter will be on display
and visitors can tour the picturesque 43-acre site. The charter exhibition
coincides with Pennsbury Manor’s 75th anniversary celebration.
Pennsbury Manor is a reconstruction
of William Penn’s country estate overlooking the Delaware River. The
reconstruction, based upon archeological investigations, written documents and
research of the period, was opened to the public in 1939.
In Harrisburg, 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. Special tours will be led by Harrisburg Sci-Tech High
students. A rare draft of the original 1681 charter will be displayed.
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. The
Victorian Dance Ensemble will also perform.
PHMC staff and professionals from
the region’s many historical societies will also be available to answer
questions. Pennsylvania’s 2013 National History Day winners will also
In addition to programming at
Pennsbury Manor and The State Museum, many historic sites and museums along
PHMC’s Trails of History will offer free admission on March 9, 2014.
Participating museums and historic
Anthracite Heritage Museum, Scranton
Battlefield Park, Chadds Ford
Weiser Homestead, Womelsdorf
Iron Furnace, Cornwall
Boone Homestead, Birdsboro
Well Museum, Titusville
Miners’ Village, Weatherly
Maritime Museum & Flagship Niagara, Erie
Pitt Museum, Pittsburgh
Lodge, Ft. Washington
Priestley House, Northumberland
Valley Village and Farm Museum, Lancaster
Economy Village, Ambridge
Military Museum, Boalsburg
Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg
Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing
For more information on Charter Day
2014 and the Pennsylvania Trails of History visit www.PATrailsofHistory.com.
Media contact: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639