They Say It's Your Birthday

Every year (for longer than any of us here can recall), we celebrate Charter Day, which marks the payment of a debt, essentially. In 1681, King Charles II of England gave William Penn a charter for the land that we know as Pennsylvania; it was the king’s way of repaying funds that Penn’s father provided to the Crown (yes, I know this is probably a gross simplification). The original Charter (the first page features an elaborate portrait of the ever-modest monarch) is briefly displayed to the public at The State Museum, usually in the company of other important historical documents (see more info below). The rest of the year the Charter is kept safely tucked away in the State Archives, to preserve it for generations to come.

Sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History (almost all of them) are open to the public free-of-charge on what has become our traditional spring kick-off (unless, as sometimes happens, we get hit with a March snowstorm, but it looks like we’re safe this year).

The following sites are open this Sunday, March 13, to celebrate Pennsylvania’s birthday. (All times listed are Daylight Savings Time—remember we lose an hour early that morning.)

Brandywine Battlefield: Programs (noon to 4 pm) feature 18th-century tavern life and the skills of the blacksmith.

Conrad Weiser Homestead: Reenactors from the 1st and 3rd Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiment and Regiment de la Reine will present a living history program on site from noon to 4 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace: The museum will be open free of charge for tours from noon to 5 pm (the last tour leaves the visitor center at 4).

Daniel Boone Homestead: Spend the afternoon learning about play and work in the 1700s; activities include colonial music and dancing, children’s toys and games, demonstrations of blacksmithing, log hewing, and the Bertolet Sawmill.

Drake Well Museum: Sneak a peek inside the new building and enjoy some refreshments from noon to 4 pm.

Eckley Miners’ Village: Site open noon to 5 pm free of charge; “The Molly Maguires,” starring Sean Connery and Richard Harris (filmed at Eckley), will be shown in the visitor center auditorium at 2 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
: Interpreters will be stationed in various buildings at the site, including the Bakery, Weaver’s House, Sister’s House, Physician’s House, Print Shop, and Carpenter’s House. The Ephrata Cloister Chorus will perform in the Saal (Meetinghouse) at 2, 3, and 4 pm. Pages from the recently conserved Christian ABC Book will be on exhibit.

Erie Maritime Museum and US Brig Niagara: The museum will be open free of charge from noon to 5 pm.

Graeme Park: Join Friends of Graeme Park from noon to 4 pm for an open house and special activities to mark Pennsylvania’s birthday.

Joseph Priestley House: Celebrate Charter Day and Dr. Priestley’s Birthday from 1 to 4 pm. Refreshments in the visitor center; costumed guides and new laboratory exhibits in the house; chemistry demonstrations in the Pond Building.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum: Enjoy skilled craft demonstrations (such as leatherworking, textiles, blacksmithing, open hearth cooking) and wagon rides around the historic grounds. Many of the museum’s historical buildings—the 1900 Country Store, the Landis Brothers House, the 1700s Log Farm—will be open for tours from noon to 5 pm.

Old Economy Village: The site reopens for the season this weekend (admission on Saturday is $1) after being closed for the winter; refreshments will be available.

Pennsbury Manor: The site (the American home of William Penn and his family) will be open from 1 to 4 pm, offering tours of the Manor House, as well as demonstrations of joynery, blacksmithing, and open hearth cooking. Tours of the gardens will also be available and interpreters will be stationed with Pennsbury’s animals to explain what their roles were back in the 17th Century. Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate.

Pennsylvania Military Museum: The museum reopens after being closed for the winter; hours are noon to 4 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania: The museum is open free of charge, noon to 5 pm.

State Museum of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State Archives: The original Charter will be on display from March 11-20, along with the Great Law of 1682 and the Penn family bible with which Gov. Tom Corbett recently took the oath of office. A heritage fair featuring historical organizations from the local region will take place from noon to 4 pm. State winners at the 2010 National History Day in PA contest will be on hand and there will be a storyteller, a lecturer from the Bureau of Forestry, and much more.

Washington Crossing Historic Park: The 22nd Regiment of Foot and the 2nd New Jersey Regiment will be encamped at the Crossing, where they will drill, demonstrate 18th-century style military arms, and show the day to day life of a Revolutionary War soldier.


Post a Comment