Celebrating Pennsylvania's Birthday

Celebrating Pennsylvania's Birthday
PA's 1681 Charter - a large handwritten document on parchment with text toward the center and drawings in the margins as embellishment. In upper left corner is a drawing of King Charles II with his distinctive long black wig
The original 1681 Charter - Pennsylvania's Birth Certificate

PHMC traditionally offers free admission to Pennsylvania Trails of History sites as part of Pennsylvania's birthday celebration. This year, that free admission day will be on Saturday, September 24 (watch PHMC social media and this space in September for list of participating sites). There are virtual activities and on-site programs this weekend exploring multiple themes in Pennsylvania's history, so why not celebrate with us?

Don't forget that Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday at 2 am. If you have clocks that don't reset themselves, turn them ahead one hour so that you don't miss the fun. And if the weather is iffy, please check ahead with the site you plan to visit (social media is usually the most up-to-date). PLEASE NOTE: Saturday's forecast is affecting some site schedules. Be extra careful and check before you go.

Monday, March 14, at noon EDT is the last chance to cast your vote in USA Today's Top 10 History Museums poll. You can vote once a day until then. Twenty museums are on the ballot, and our own Erie Maritime Museum has been sitting in the Top 10 (during the last days of voting, USA Today stops showing the leaderboard). Please take a few minutes to cast your votes (vote for Erie Maritime Museum). Thank you for your support.

Objects from the exhibit include: a wooden blanket chest with initials "SAC 1793," a white porcelain coffee pot with floral decoration, a very large pottery jug with a stylized face and blue flowers, and a light pink child's dress displayed on a dress form
Photo via Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum website

Up Next

Today, March 11

  • Learn at Lunchtime (virtual), 12:15-12:45 pm, The State Museum of PA
    • Linda Ries, retired archivist with the PA State Archives, will discuss "Pennsylvania's Birth Certificate," the 1681 Charter given to William Penn by England's King Charles II. The program is free, but you must register to get the link (Learn at Lunchtime info and registration).

Saturday, March 12

  • Reading on the Rails (in-person), 10 am-4 pm, Railroad Museum of PA
    • Story readings for kids will take place every 45 minutes (1st one at 10:15 am, last at 3:15 pm). Lots of activities as well, including travel stickers, Catcher the Cow, and KPETS therapy dogs. An American Sign Language interpreter will be part of each story reading. Included in regular admission (Reading on the Rails info).
  • Maple Taste and Tour Weekend (in-person), 10 am-4 pm Saturday and Sunday, Somerset Historical Center
    • SHC is one of 20 stops on this year's tour, offered in cooperation with the Somerset County Maple Producers Assn. Admission is free and there will be maple-related activities both days (Maple Taste info).
  • Friends Lecture Series (in-person) 2-3:05 pm, PA Military Museum
    • Today's talk explores the Truman Doctrine, marking the 70th anniversary of a pivotal policy that impacted two periods of conflict. Donations welcome (Friends Lecture info).

Sunday, March 13

  • Pennsylvania Day (in-person), 10 am-4 pm, Bushy Run Battlefield
    • Celebrate Pennsylvania's birthday and learn about Bushy Run's place in state history. Children's activities will be offered, and William Penn will make an appearance (PA Day info)
  • Living History! (in-person), noon-4 pm, Conrad Weiser Homestead
    • Today is the site's biggest living history event of the year. Learn about the French and Indian War and the skills of 18th-century life from demonstrators and volunteers. Donations welcome (Living History! info)
  • Community Day (in-person), noon-4 pm, Daniel Boone Homestead
    • Tour the Boone House and other structures, watch the Amity Colonial Dancers (and join in if you like), and take part in kids' activities and games (Community Day info).
  • Exhibit opening (in-person), noon-4 pm, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
    • Enjoy the museum's latest changing exhibit, Pennsylvania Germans: Their Lives in Color, which includes painted furniture, textiles, clothing, fraktur, ceramics, and more. Included in regular admission and open during regular business hours until the end of the year (exhibit info on LVM website).
  • Founder's Day (in-person), 1-4 pm, Pennsbury Manor
    • Celebrate Pennsylvania's birthday at William Penn's country estate. Craft demonstrations, including beer brewing, tours of the Manor House, and more. Admission is $3 at the door (Founder's Day info).
  • Joseph Priestley's Birthday Celebration (in-person), 1-4 pm, Joseph Priestley House
    • Costumed docents will be on hand throughout the house as you tour on your own. Dr. Priestley will offer chemistry demos in the Pond Building at 1:30 and 2:30. A new exhibit on Dr. Priestley's friendship with Ben Franklin will be unveiled (Priestley's Birthday info).
  • Charter Chats (virtual), 1 and 2 pm, PA State Archives
    • Archivist Josh Stahlman will explore the story of Pennsylvania's Charter in honor of our 341st birthday. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Charter Chat info and registration).

Wednesday, March 16

  • Charter Chat (virtual), noon, PA State Archives
    • Archivist Josh Stahlman will explore the story of Pennsylvania's Charter in honor of our 341st birthday. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Charter Chat info and registration).

Thursday, March 17

  • Winter History Class (virtual), 9 am-noon, Ephrata Cloister
    • Today's topics are "Then and Now: The Ephrata Cloister in Photos" and "Identifying and Preserving Nineteenth-Century Photos." If you did not register for the 9-week course, you can attend today's session via Zoom for $10 (Winter History Class registration).
  • Wisdom & Wine Series (in-person), 6:30-8 pm, Drake Well Museum & Park
    • Tonight's topic is "Dressmaking: Civil War Fashions and Sewing Machines in the 1860s. Cost for the lecture is $5. There will be a wine-tasting happy hour at 5:30 (separate $5 fee). Registration is required (Wisdom & Wine info and registration).

Friday, March 18

  • Charter Chat (virtual), noon, PA State Archives
    • Archivist Josh Stahlman will explore the story of Pennsylvania's Charter in honor of our 341st birthday. The program is free, but you must register to receive the link (Charter Chat info and registration).

Advance Tickets or Registrations

  • On Saturday, March 19, 2-4 pm, the Pennsylvania Military Museum will offer their popular history tour of the tracked vehicles on the grounds, including a look inside the crew compartments. Space is limited (in more ways than one), and reservations are required (Exploring the Armor info and registration).
  • Also, on March 19, Bushy Run Battlefield will host a one-day in-person symposium on Pontiac's War. Presentations will explore causes, events, and effects from different military and cultural perspectives. Tickets are $35 for students (with ID), $60 for BRBHS members, and $75 for non-members; deadline to purchase tickets online is March 12 (Symposium info and ticket link).
  • Rails and Ales: enjoy an evening of craft beer among the museum's historic trains at the Railroad Museum of PA, April 9, 5:30-9 pm; must be 21 or older to attend; variety of ticket options (VIP tickets are sold out), including designated driver tickets (Rails and Ales tickets)
  • Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum will offer living history tours on Saturday, May 21, based on the life and work of local inventor William Chester Ruth. Ruth was born in 1882 in Chester County; his father had been enslaved in South Carolina and his mother was a free woman of color. Ruth will be portrayed by actor Keith Henley of American Historical Theater. Tour times are 9:30, 12:30, and 3; advance tickets are required (William Chester Ruth Tour info and tickets)
  • On May 22, Daniel Boone Homestead will host the Trails of History Run, which includes a 5K, 10K, and 1/2-mile fun run. There will be awards for 5K and 10K races, plus special awards for the best-dressed representation of the 1770s era. Advance registration is required (DBH trail runs info). Training runs for new runners start at 10:30 am every Sunday at the DeTurk House (near the front entrance gate off of Daniel Boone Rd).
  • Drake Well Marathon, August 14 - this race is a Boston Marathon qualifier. Registration for a variety of categories is now open.


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