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Celebrate Pennsylvania’s 342nd Birthday with Display of William Penn’s Charter and Free Admission to PA Trails of History Sites and Museums


Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) will celebrate the commonwealth’s 342nd birthday on Sunday, March 12, with a rare display of William Penn’s original charter at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg and free admission to many of the historic sites and museums along the 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 at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. The 342-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.


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


The Penn Charter will remain on display at the museum until 1:00 PM, Friday, March 17, when the documents will be returned to the vault for another year.


In addition to programming 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: 



For more information on the Penn Charter exhibit at The State Museum visit


The Pennsylvania Trails of History comprises museums and historic sites administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, organized along four theme-based “trails” crossing the commonwealth: Military History, Industrial Heritage, Historic Homes, and Rural Farm & Village.


The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission is the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Learn more by visiting PHMC online or following us on FacebookTwitterInstagram or LinkedIn.


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