Charter Day 2014

Happy 333rd Birthday, Pennsylvania!
Sunday, March 9, is Charter Day, our annual celebration of King Charles II of England granting William Penn the land that became our Commonwealth. This year, Charter Day is also the kick-off for Pennsbury Manor's 75th anniversary as a historic site telling the story of William Penn, his family, and his ideals of government and justice. The original 1681 charter will be on display at Pennsbury for one week only (through March 16) for this auspicious occasion. Other special activities are planned, including craft and cooking demonstrations and living history theater presentations. Visitors are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for Bucks County's Penndel Food Pantry.

Charter Day admission is free at Pennsbury and the rest of the Trails of History sites (there are a couple of sites that are not yet open for the season, so please check ahead if you don't see your favorite site listed below). Last week's post listed all the March activities, but I've distilled the list below to focus on this weekend. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour or you might miss out on the fun.

Anthracite Heritage Museum
March 9: “WYSO” The Coal Connection: Art of Frank Wysochansky—in addition to other Charter Day activities, speaker Steven J. Lichak will present a talk about WYSO, a prolific artist whose work tells the story of Pennsylvania coal miners, and then lead a brief tour of the exhibit (open through October). Museum opens at noon, program is at 2 pm.

Brandywine Battlefield
March 9: Charter Day—Site will be open noon-4 pm, with a wide range of activities available. (Site will be open weekends only the remainder of the month.)

Conrad Weiser Homestead
March 9: Charter Day re-opening—and the site’s largest living history event of the year. Noon-4 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
March 9: Special Charter Day Tours of the Furnace—tours today will feature a visit from a historical character, in addition to the awesome furnace itself. Noon-4:30 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
March 9: Charter Day Open House—music and dancing, open hearth cooking, storytelling, and much more. Noon-4 pm.

Drake Well Museum
March 9: Charter Day—presentations about Native American history will be on the program, in addition to the site’s regular offerings. Noon-5 pm.

Eckley Miners’ Village
March 9: Charter Day film presentation—F. Charles Petrillo and Dr. Phil Mosley will present a program of 20th-century anthracite mining films and discuss the history of the anthracite region. Site opens at noon, program is at 2 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
March 9: Charter Day—as part of the site festivities, the Ephrata Cloister Chorus will perform in the Saal (meeting house) at 2, 3, and 4 pm (site opens at noon).

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
March 9: Charter Day—the ship is still under winter cover but it is visible and there’s plenty to see indoors, including the Civil War Medal of Honor exhibit. Noon-4:45 pm.

Fort Pitt Museum
March 9: Charter Day—the museum is open free of charge, 10 am-5 pm.

Graeme Park
March 9: Charter Day—be sure to take a free tour of the Keith House today. Noon-4 pm.

Hope Lodge
March 9: Charter Day—the Mansion will be open today free of charge. Noon-4 pm.

Joseph Priestley House
March 9: Charter Day and Dr. Priestley’s Birthday—visit with costumed docents in each room (including the laboratory), watch the Spinners and Weavers Guild at work in the kitchen, and wish Dr. Priestley a happy birthday while he demonstrates the wonders of chemistry in the Pond Building. 1-4 pm (chem demos at 1:30 and 2:30).

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
March 9: Exhibit opening—Charter Day is the launch point for a new temporary exhibit, “Chairs! Chairs! Chairs! Handcrafted Traditions from Rural Pennsylvania, 1750-1875,” which will be on view through December. Other Charter Day activities include craft demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides (weather permitting), and tours. Noon-5 pm.

Old Economy Village
March 8-9: Charter Day and Center for Hope Weekend—Admission is free, but the site will be collecting canned or boxed food items for Ambridge’s Center for Hope. Please bring hearty foods that can be the basis for a meal (such as soups, spaghetti and/or sauce, stews, etc.). Saturday, 10 am-5 pm; Sunday, noon-5 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
March 8-9: Military Movie Madness Festival—PMM kicks off the 2014 museum season with three films exploring military themes. Included in museum admission on Saturday; admission on Sunday is free for Charter Day. Movie details and showtimes are on the PMM website.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
March 8: Read Across America Day—celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday by wearing your favorite hat and listening to stories read by an array of special guests. There will also be a Suitcase Adventure activity, with travel stickers from Pennsylvania railroads. Registration fee is required for “Breakfast with the Conductor and Catcher”; call the museum—717/687-3892—to see if there are still spaces available. The program (except breakfast) is included in regular admission. Museum open 9 am-5 pm; story times are every 45 minutes from 9:30 to 3:30 (there is no 12:30 story).
March 9: Charter Day-the museum is open free of charge from noon to 5 pm.

Somerset Historical Center
March 8-9: Sugar in the Mountains, Maple Taste and Tour—experience Somerset County’s maple history and visit the site’s 1860s sugar camp; includes tractor-drawn wagon rides. Offered in partnership with the Somerset County Maple Producers, which means that other sugar camps in the county will be open for visitors. Admission is by donation.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
March 9: Charter Day—Storytelling, visits with "William Penn," a chance to honor student achievement at National History Day in PA, the Victorian Dance Ensemble, and representatives from historical organizations throughout the Harrisburg area. Since the official 1681 Charter will be at Pennsbury Manor, the State Museum and Archives will display a final draft of the document, with staff and volunteers on hand to provide info. Program details are on Facebook.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
March 9: Charter Day—site will be open free of charge and new temporary exhibits will be opening in the Visitor Center. 10 am-4 pm.


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