William Penn Memorial Museum Events

News presents briefs about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.

Black Heritage Month

The Black Pennsylvania Artists Exhibit of painting and sculpture was held Feb. 8-29 [1976] at the William Penn Memorial Museum as a major state event in the observance of February as Black Heritage Month. Nearly 100 works of art were shown by approximately thirty artists from throughout the Commonwealth.

The exhibit was one of a number of events held by the Urban Black Coalition of Harrisburg to mark Black Heritage Month and the Bicentennial Year. Mrs. George W. A. Little, III of Harrisburg was chairperson for the exhibit.

Homer Floyd, executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission, served as master of ceremonies for a program held during the opening of the exhibit.

Secretary of the Commonwealth C. Delores Tucker served as honorary chairperson for the exhibit. Dr. Selma Burke, a sculptress, and Harold Neal, a painter, both of Pittsburgh, were consultants for the exhibit.

The exhibit was organized through grants from Dauphin Deposit Trust Company, Harrisburg; John Blessing Foundation, Harrisburg; Pennsylvania Council of the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C.; and the Bicentennial Commission of Pennsylvania.

The Urban Black Coalition was joined by the Pennsyl­vania Historical and Museum Commission in sponsoring the annual event at the State Museum. More than twenty-five civic and other organizations form the Coalition membership.


Lindborgs Featured

Paintings by Alice Whitten Lindborg and paintings and sculpture by Carl Lindborg were featured in January at William Penn Memorial Museum. The husband and wife team from Newtown Square exhibited sixty-six paintings and thirteen works of sculpture.

Lindborg has exhibited widely in museums and galleries in this country and abroad. He is the sculptor of many works here and abroad including the Governor Johan Printz Monument, Tinicum, Delaware County. He is also the author and illustrator of Under Europe’s Skies.

A member of the Board of Governors of the American Swedish Historical Museum, he is a director of the Marple-Newtown Historical Society and a member of the Delaware County Bicentennial Commission.

Mrs. Lindborg has exhibited in major national exhibitions and has won many awards. Her work is represented in public and private collections including the permanent collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

She is a member of Penn’s Grant Chapter, National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century; the Valley Forge Chapter of the DAR; and the Board of Governors of the American Swedish Historical Museum. She is vice-president of the Marple-Newtown Historical Society.


Anthropology Hall Dedicated

“The Earth has a memory … and it never forgets unless someone erases it.” In those words, John Witthoft emphasized the importance of the historical sciences such as archaeology and geology in understanding our heritage. Witthoft, associate curator of North American archaeology, University Museum. University of Pennsylvania, was one of two featured speakers at the dedication in December, 1975 of the Anthropology Hall of the William Penn Memorial Museum. The new hall is devoted to the re-creation of Pennsylvania’s rich heritage of prehistoric and historic Indian cultures. Witthoft is a former state archaeologist and anthropologist on the State Museum staff.

The other speaker was James L. Swauger, senior scientist in anthropology, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh. Dr. Swauger emphasized the importance of the new hall educationally and lauded those who played a part in its development.

Dr. Swauger noted: “In the good museum, we sh ow what we do in the context of the visitors’ lives.” Stressing the value of self education, he added that the effective museum “must make the visitor go out and want to learn something himself.” He said the unusual approach of the exhibits in the new hall “has done a good job of putting the visitor into the exhibit case and making him want to learn more about the lifestyle of these early inhabitants of Pennsylvania.”

William J. Wewer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, served as master of ceremonies. Among those recognized for their role in de­veloping the new hall were Dr. Barry C. Kent, curator of anthropology of the State Museum, and Ira F. Smith, 111, associate curator of anthropology.

After the remarks, Wewer. members of the PHMC in attendance, staff members and several American Indians present led the way for visitors to the new hall for its formal opening. A reception followed.

The hall, which occupies about one-third of the area of the museum’s second floor, has been under development for more than three years. Various interpretative means dramatize for the visitor the Indian’s evolution and life styles for the last 12,000 years. Realistic life scenes or dioramas based on Indian life in Pennsylvania are included.

The visitor to the colorful and carefully developed exhibits begins his tour at an archaeological “dig.” This unusual approach explains where and how the archaeologist obtains both the information and artifacts to develop this re-creation of Indian life. It also establishes the authority for what follows.

From the digs, the visitor moves past various exhibits of Indian life and culture. They represent the information and artifacts from field work undertaken by the PHMC for nearly the last half-century.

The dioramas are arranged to simulate an Indian longhouse by following the major happenings, from birth to death, in the life of a Delaware Indian who lived in Eastern Pennsylvania during the sixteenth century.