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Celebrate Pennsylvania’s Birthday with Free Admission to PA Trails of History Sites and Museums, Display of William Penn’s Charter and Great Law

February 15, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Join the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) in celebrating the commonwealth’s 336th birthday on Charter Day, Sunday, March 12, with free admission to many of the historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History.

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Pennsylvania was created when England’s King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn in 1681. Once each year the Pennsylvania State Archives exhibits the original document, for a limited time, at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. For the remainder of the year the Charter is safeguarded in a special vault within the Archives.

In addition to the Charter, the Archives will also display the original Great Law, passed between December 4 and 7, 1682, during the General Assembly’s very first session.

The Great Law is a series of statutes that provided a stable groundwork for Pennsylvania’s representative government. Among other things, it addressed elections and taxation, and it guaranteed a greater degree of religious freedom than any other legal code of its day. Like the Charter, the Great Law is fragile and rarely displayed. It is on view this year in honor of the 335th anniversary of the General Assembly.

Admission to The State Museum is free on Charter Day, Sunday, March 12, only, and includes visits to the Planetarium, the Curiosity Connection, and galleries. Free tickets are required for the Planetarium and the Curiosity Connection.

Additionally, State Museum Archaeologists will be talking about petroglyphs from 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM in Nature Lab. Petroglyphs are images carved into rock surfaces. These consist of lines, dots, human, animal, supernatural and symbolic designs and are a rare glimpse into the minds of ancient Native Americans.

The Pennsylvania Charter and Great Law will remain on display until 1:00 PM, Friday, March 17 at the Museum when the documents will be returned to the vault for another year.

In addition to programing at The State Museum, many historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History will offer free admission on Sunday, March 12.

Participating historic sites and museums include:

  • Pennsylvania¬†Anthracite Heritage Museum, Scranton
  • Brandywine Battlefield Park, Chadds Ford
  • Conrad Weiser Homestead, Womelsdorf
  • Cornwall Iron Furnace, Cornwall
  • Daniel Boone Homestead, Birdsboro
  • Drake Well Museum, Titusville
  • Eckley Miners’ Village, Weatherly
  • Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata
  • Erie Maritime Museum & Flagship Niagara, Erie
  • Fort Pitt Museum, Pittsburgh
  • Graeme Park, Horsham
  • Hope Lodge, Ft. Washington
  • Joseph Priestley House, Northumberland
  • Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Lancaster
  • Pennsbury Manor, Morrisville
  • Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Ulysses
  • Pennsylvania Military Museum, Boalsburg
  • Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg
  • Somerset Historical Center, Somerset

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