PHMC to Display 1681 Penn Charter to Mark Pennsylvania’s 331st Birthday
HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) will honor the commonwealth’s 331st birthday by displaying the original Penn Charter in an exhibit that will open on Charter Day, Sunday, March 11, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.
The Charter, with which England’s King Charles II granted the land that is now Pennsylvania to founder William Penn (1644-1718) in 1681, is sometimes referred to as the state’s “birth certificate.” It was Penn’s personal copy.
“Entrusted to the Pennsylvania State Archives for safekeeping, the charter is a tangible link to Pennsylvania’s founding,” said James M. Vaughan, PHMC executive director. “The fragile historical parchment is exhibited in special protective Plexiglas cases with low light and controlled temperature levels.”
Also on display will be a 1754 letter by John Harris describing the distances from his home at Harris’ Ferry (Harrisburg) to Logs Town (near present-day Pittsburgh). It was recently conserved through a generous grant from the Isett Foundation of Huntingdon.
On Charter Day, programming runs from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free and includes visits to the Curiosity Connection, Planetarium and the recently opened National Geographic Giant Map of North America exhibit.
Guests can also greet historical characters including William Penn, portrayed by William C. Kashatus, or John Harris, founder of Harrisburg, portrayed by Rev. David Biser. Pennsylvania’s 2011 National History Day winners also will attend.
Visitors can learn about Victorian life with the Victorian Dance Ensemble and hear tales of bygone days as “Pennsylvania Jack” tells stories brimming with fascinating characters from throughout the Keystone State.
PHMC staff and professionals from the region’s many historical societies will also be available to answer questions.
In addition to The State Museum’s programming, many historic sites and museums along PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History® will offer free admission on March 11. Participating sites include: Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, Brandywine Battlefield, Cornwall Iron Furnace, Daniel Boone Homestead, Drake Well Museum, Eckley Miners’ Village, Ephrata Cloister, Erie Maritime Museum, Graeme Park, Fort Pitt Museum, Joseph Priestley House, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Pennsbury Manor, Pennsylvania Military Museum, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and Washington Crossing Historic Park.
For more information on Charter Day 2011, call 717-772-3257 or visit PHMC online at www.phmc.state.pa.us.
The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 25 historic sites and museums administered by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History®. The State
Museum offers expansive collections interpreting Pennsylvania’s fascinating heritage. With exhibits examining the dawn of geologic time, the Native American experience, the colonial and revolutionary era, a pivotal Civil War battleground, and the Commonwealth’s vast industrial age, The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania’s story is America’s story.
For more information on The State Museum, visit www.statemuseumpa.org.
Media contact: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639
SOURCE Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission