HARRISBURG PA – Four Pennsylvania-designated historical attractions – two of them in Berks County, and one each in Montgomery and Chester counties – are among 18 sites and museums that will open their doors free to the public Sunday (March 12, 2023) to celebrate the commonwealth’s 342nd birthday.
The date is annually observed as “Charter Day,” the day in 1681 when Pennsylvania was created as England’s King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn. A rare display of Penn’s original charter will be seen at the State Museum in Harrisburg, and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission is offering free admission to several historic sites and museums during regular operating hours.
They include the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro and the Conrad Weiser Homestead in Womelsdorf (at top), both in Berks County; Graeme Park in Horsham, Montgomery County; and Brandywine Battlefield Park in Chadds Ford, Chester County. Depending on where you visit, the free admission could save up to $10 per person.
From Sanatoga, the Boone Homestead is only 14 miles away; the Weiser Homestead, 37 miles; Graeme Park, 41 miles, and Brandywine Battlefield, 42 miles.
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, too.
Other participating historic sites and museums include Bushy Run Battlefield in Jeannette; Cornwall Iron Furnace, Cornwall; Drake Well Museum, Titusville; Eckley Miners’ Village, Weatherly; Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata; Fort Pitt Museum, Pittsburgh; Joseph Priestley House, Northumberland; Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, Lancaster; Pennsbury Manor, Morrisville; Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, Scranton; Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Ulysses; Pennsylvania Military Museum, Boalsburg; Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg; and Somerset Historical Center, Somerset.
The commission administers the Pennsylvania Trails of History tourism promotion. It consists of museums and historic sites organized by four themes: military history, industrial heritage, historic homes, and rural farms and villages.
Photo of Conrad Weiser Homestead in Womelsdorf by The Post