The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission will celebrate the commonwealth’s 340th birthday on Charter Day, Sunday, March 7, with a virtual display of William Penn’s original 1681 charter and other programming from the Pennsylvania State Archives, State Museum of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Trails of History.
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. The 340-year-old charter is written on parchment using iron gall ink. The State Archives preserves the document in a high-security vault, shielding it from strong light and environmental fluctuations.
Beginning Sunday, March 7 and continuing through Friday, March 12, virtual visitors to the Charter Day 2021 landing page will be able to view the charter and find out more about how the charter ended up at PHMC and how it’s cared for. Additionally, they can “tour” the Violet Oakley murals of William Penn, Pennsylvania’s founder, featured in the Governor’s Reception Room at the Capitol, explore colonial-era documents or “virtually” page through more than 45 years of Pennsylvania Heritage magazines for articles exploring all aspects of Pennsylvania’s 340-year history and more.
Sites and museums along Pennsylvania’s Trails of History will offer online programs throughout the week. Several sites, including Pennsbury Manor, will come together on Tuesday, March 9, at 7 p.m., for a special Zoom webinar as they present and discuss objects from their collections that relate to the aptly chosen theme of “birthdays and other celebrations.” Advance registration is required.
Other participating sites include Cornwall Iron Furnace, Eckley Miners Village, Ephrata Cloister, Erie Maritime Museum, Hope Lodge, Joseph Priestley House, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Pennsylvania Military Museum and The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.