Spring Forward and Celebrate Charter Day

Okay, so we lose an hour on March 14 when Daylight Savings Time kicks in. By the time the sites on the Trails of History open at noon for Charter Day, we should all be adjusted. So there’s no excuse not to get out there and celebrate Pennsylvania’s birthday, Trailheads. Almost all the sites on the Trails will be open FREE OF CHARGE (check here to make sure your favorite will be receiving visitors).

While you’re enjoying your time on the Trails of History on Charter Day, you’ll also have a chance to be part of a new initiative—the History Bill of Rights. As a way to convey the importance of keeping the Commonwealth’s heritage alive and well, we’ve put together six statements that we think reflect the rights of all of us to have access to our history. Trails of History sites will have these statements available for you to read and express your opinion on (look for a future Trailheads post that will allow you to do so as well and read some press coverage about the initiative here). You may also be asked for contact information so that we can keep you posted on programs, activities, and ways you can help us keep the importance of history on the radar screen when decisions are being made.

Many of the open sites have also planned special activities for the day (others will just be welcoming you to come on in FREE OF CHARGE—isn’t that enough?). At Pennsbury Manor, the home of William Penn (who received the Charter for Pennsylvania from Great Britain’s King Charles II in 1681), visitors can be present for the grand opening of a much-anticipated permanent exhibit, “Seed of a Nation.” Here at Trailheads, we’ve looked in on the exhibit installation a couple of times. Now you can see the final product in person or enjoy these photos, which should whet your appetite. Speaking of appetites, there will also be open hearth cooking (and other craft) demos, and Pennsbury asks you to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Penndel Food Pantry.

If traveling to Pennsbury doesn’t fit your plans for Charter Day, there are opportunities all over Pennsylvania. In addition to being open (did I mention) FREE OF CHARGE, you can find plenty of activities on the Trails on March 14 (more details at each website).

Anthracite Heritage Museum
Book-signing by local artist Gene Moyer; debut of new temporary exhibit on Welsh immigration.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
18th-century military reenactors representing Pennsylvania and French regiments; guided tours; and a display of 18th-century clothing.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Tours of the furnace; soup, homemade bread, and desserts for sale to benefit the site’s programs.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Craft and open hearth cooking demonstrations; flintlock shoot; and tours of the homestead.

Lecture, "The Irish Presence in Eckley"; book-signing by author of "Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires."

Ephrata Cloister
Ephrata Cloister Chorus performs several times during the afternoon; tours (and an opportunity to see first-hand the water-based disaster we chronicled here).

Graeme Park
Tours of the Keith House and light refreshments.

Joseph Priestley House
Celebrating Dr. Priestley’s birthday, as well as Pennsylvania’s, with science demos in the laboratory.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Craft and open hearth cooking demos; wagon rides; opening of new temporary exhibit on African American history.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
William Penn himself (sort of), a storyteller, THE Charter, the 1780 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, and a mastodon skeleton.


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