Sharing the Common Wealth showcases objects, artifacts, documents, structures and buildings from the collections of PHMC.

Among the more unusual treasures – and the only sailing vessel – interpreted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the U.S. Brig Niagara is the Commonwealth’s official flagship and goodwill ambassador. Berthed in her homeport at the Erie Maritime Museum, the ship carried Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to his stunning victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. After the battle, the Niagara was scuttled in Misery Bay in Erie’s harbor. On the centennial of Perry’s victory, in 1913, the ship was raised and a new vessel was reconstructed upon her keel with salvageable timber. Between 1933 and 1943, the Niagara was again completely rebuilt. In 1988, a fourth “edition” of the ship was constructed, incorporating some original timber in nonstructural areas, by noted shipbuilder Melbourne Smith.