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

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the New Deal in 1933 to alleviate massive unemployment, stimulate industrial recovery, and create economic growth in the wake of the Great Depression. His relief programs gave work to millions of unemployed Americans including not only construction workers and laborers, but also artists, musicians, and writers. A 1932 graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, Richard Hay Kenah (1907–1982), a native of New Brighton, Great Depression, could find no work — until he was employed by the Public Works of Art project (PWAP), organized by the Civil Works Administration. PWAP painters and sculptors — about thirty-seven hundred in all — decorated public buildings, including schools, museums, libraries, and hospitals. For the auditorium of the former Park Road School in Ambridge, Beaver County, Kenah created a mural depicting the Harmony Society, which established Economy, its communal village in Ambridge. In 1999, the Ambridge Area School District gave Kenah’s mural, towering eighteen feet in height, to Old Economy village, a popular attraction along PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History. PHMC conservators removed the mural and transported it to Harrisburg, no easy feat because of its size and weight. With plaster still attached, the mural (a detail of which is illustrated above) weighed five hundred pounds. After intensive restoration, the mural was installed in the recently opened visitor center at Old Economy Village. PHMC is observing the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal in Pennsylvania as its theme through 2008.