Happy Birthday PA! Historical Commission announces rare showing of original William Penn charter at State Museum

15 February 2023- 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 Planetarium, the Curiosity Connection and galleries. Free timed tickets are required for the Planetarium and 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: