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Celebrate Pennsylvania’s 343rd Birthday With Display Of William Penn’s Charter And Free Admission To PA Trails Of History Sites And Museums

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) will celebrate the commonwealth’s 343rd birthday on Sunday, March 10.

Pennsylvania was created when England’s King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn in March 1681. The 343-year-old Charter, often referred to as Pennsylvania’s birth certificate, is written on parchment using iron gall ink. The Pennsylvania State Archives preserves the document in a high-security vault, shielding it from strong light and environmental fluctuations.

The 1681 Charter will be on display on Sunday, March 10, from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM, at the new Pennsylvania State Archives facility, 1681 N. Sixth Street, Harrisburg. 

State-owned historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History will offer free admission on Sunday, March 10. 

Below is a list of participating historic sites and museums and their activities on March 10.

  • Join us for our annual kickoff to the season, Charter Day on March 10th, 12-3 p.m.! Visit and learn about William Penn’s Charter for Pennsylvania with historical interpreters, demonstrations, and more!

  • Bushy Run Battlefield in Penn Township is hosting an open house with free tours of the park.
    Attendees can walk through the museum and talk to a variety of reenactors, who will portray figures such as Native Americans, European settlers, British Colonial troops and William Penn.
    All children will be given an imitation charter certificate meant to represent the document England’s King Charles II gave to William Penn in March 1681.
    Tables and displays will be set up by the Westmoreland Archaeological Society, the Westmoreland County Historical Society and the Westmoreland Conservancy.

  • This event, formally known as Charter Day, is our first event of the year. This is by far our largest Living History Event of the Year. At 12 noon, we will be having a period Divine Service led by Tad Miller. All public is welcome for the service and handouts of the service will be given out for all to participate.
    The French and Indian War units attending are the Weiser Battalion, Augusta Regiment and Regiment de le Reine. Also in attendance will be the Revolutionary War American unit, The German Regiment.
    There will also be a display by Ye Olde Colonial Angler of 1770, Ken Reinard, in the Visitors Center.
    Weather permitting there will be a demonstration of drill and firing by the 18th Century groups
    Please come and check out our various books and Redware items and enjoy the day with us. Event ends at 4 pm with the troops getting their daily rum ration. We hope to see you there!

  • Cornwall Iron Furnace will be offering free guided tours on Sunday March, 10th from noon - 4 p.m. as part of a statewide celebration of Pennsylvania's Birthday called "Charter Day."

  • In observance of Pennsylvania’s founding, the Daniel Boone Homestead will offer an exciting open house and living history event featuring eighteenth century demonstrations, trades, and hands-on activities including the operation of the unique Bertolet Sawmill. Additional demonstrations include gunsmithing, leatherworking, hearth cooking, spinning, wool dyeing, and blacksmithing. The event will also feature craft and specialty food vendors as well as food trucks and concessions.
    Visitors can tour the spring cellar and Boone House as they learn about the three families who lived there during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Volunteers will be cooking a hearty meal over the hearth in the kitchen. Other buildings in the historic area will also be open for viewing including the Smokehouse, Blacksmith Shop, and Homestead Barn. Throughout the historic area, visitors can learn about the skillful work of a blacksmith, the detailed work of a leatherworker, and the intricate work of a gunsmith. Visitors will also have the unique opportunity to tour the three-room Bertolet Log House and enjoy colonial toys and games. Finally, staff will be running the Bertolet Sawmill throughout the afternoon. Visitors can choose from two times – 1:00 and 3:00pm – to watch this rare piece of machinery in action. The Sawmill is one of the oldest operating water-powered vertical blade sawmills in Pennsylvania. It was moved to the Homestead in 1972 from its original location in the Oley Valley.

  • Celebrate Pennsylvania’s 343rd Birthday! Drake Well Museum and Park will be offering FREE admission to all visitors.

  • This is the annual day that the PHMC celebrates the founding of Pennsylvania with free admission across all state historic sites and museums. Eckley will be open from 10 am to 4 pm.

  • Come to the Ephrata Cloister to celebrate Pennsylvania's Birthday (Charter Day) as well as Conrad Beissel's belated birthday on Sunday March 10th from 12pm-4pm. Admission is FREE for all ages. It will be a great day of learning history, music, crafts, and much more at the historic site!

  • Open for FREE on Sunday, March 10 as we celebrate the 343rd birthday of the Commonwealth.
    Noon - 4pm
    Final admission granted at 3:00 pm

  • Join the Friends of Graeme Park as we celebrate the founding of Pennsylvania with a free tour of the Keith House and FREE CUPCAKES (until we run out). This annual statewide event commemorates the granting of the Pennsylvania Charter to William Penn. Tours will be self-guided with a docent in each room to answer questions and tell you a bit of the history. The house opens at noon and last admission will be at 3 pm. Don't forget we "spring forward" today too.
    No tickets or registration necessary.

  • Join us at Historic Hope Lodge to celebrate Pennsylvania's 343rd birthday!
    Take a self guided tour of our magnificent mansion and grounds. This event is FREE to the public.

  • Charter Day/Joseph Priestley's Birthday
    Join us as we celebrate Joseph Priestley's birthday and open for the season. We will have tours, demonstrations and light refreshments. This event is FREE.

  • The State Museum to Pennsylvania German History, Heritage, Lifeways, and Farming

  • Join us in celebrating Pennsylvania's birthday at the home of its founder, William Penn!
    Take a tour of the exquisitely decorated Manor House, observe colonial craftspeople as they demonstrate the art of blacksmithing, woodworking and spinning, and see history come to life with a performance by our Living History Theater troupe.
    This event is FREE to the public. Please consider bringing a non-perishable food item to donate to a local food bank.

  • This year the Anthracite Heritage Museum is excited to add a special program by Justin W. Emershaw. Justin is a mining engineer with Atlantic Carbon Group, in Hazleton and he will give an in depth and evocative presentation on the current state of anthracite coal mining. He gave a similar program during the recent Mining History Month program at Eckley Miners' Village to rave reviews. If you ever wanted to know about anthracite coal mines and what's happening today, come down to the museum on Charter Day. March 11, 2024. 2:00 pm. Anthracite Heritage Museum, McDade Park, Scranton.

  • Happy Birthday Pennsylvania! Celebrate King Charles II granting William Penn the charter to found the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with Free Admission to the museum! Apple fritter making demonstration in museum’s Mess Hall from 11:30am until supplies are gone.

  • The Pennsylvania Military Museum will be open from Noon to 3pm. Admission is free.

  • The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania invites visitors to explore its premier collection of historic trains with free admission in observance of Charter Day on Sunday, March 10.

  • Come tour our Visitor's Center, visit the museum gift shop, and take a stroll to visit the historical structures on site including the covered bridge and the circa 1860s maple sugar camp.
    Open 10am - 4pm

  • 12 Noon – 4:30pm
    Stop by the Museum and learn about Pennsylvania’s history.

    Limited-timed tickets for Curiosity Connection will be available for families with children 5 and younger. Curiosity Connection tickets are given on a first-come first-serve basis and will only be given to guests who have already arrived. Tickets may not be pre-reserved or held.

    The Planetarium will be closed Sunday, March 10. We apologize for an inconvenience.

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