From the Executive Director

People often think of history as events in the distant past, so it’s perhaps natural that visitors to our PHMC sites look for objects from Pennsylvania’s earliest historic periods. Our collections do not disappoint. If you wander through The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, you’ll find fluted projectile points from the Shoop archaeological site in Dauphin County that date to the last...
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PHMC Highlights

A British Lord in the Pennsylvania State Archives In April 2018 a member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom visited the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, to study documents related to Pennsylvania’s founder and first proprietor William Penn in hopes of learning more about issues of tolerance. Nathanael Ming-Yan “Nat” Wei of Shoreditch was introduced in the House...
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The Last Days of William Penn

“My poor Dearests last breath was fetchd this morning between 2 & 3 a Clock.” So wrote a distraught Hannah Penn to longtime friend and advisor Thomas Story on July 30, 1718. The remains of her husband were taken to Jordans Meeting House in Buckinghamshire and buried there on August 5 beside his first wife Gulielma. Quakers and non-Quakers alike attended the funeral. Jordans is a quiet place,...
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From the Executive Director

As the state’s history agency, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission holds historic objects and documents in trust for the people of Pennsylvania. The breadth of these collections is staggering. Within the Pennsylvania State Archives, we preserve some of the oldest documents in the state, such as William Penn’s 1681 Charter, the 1682 Great Law of Pennsylvania, and 33 deeds starting...
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Executive Director’s Letter

To this day I can distinctly remember the palpable excitement I felt as a child going up to the attic with my grandmother to explore all the wonderful old treasures secreted there. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and The State Museum of Pennsylvania have recently initiated a project to rediscover and examine the Commonwealth’s hidden gems that have long been stored away....
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Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Newsletter

Topics in the Winter 2014 Newsletter: Charter Day 2014 Trails of History Winter Hours and Contact Information Exhibits Collections Advancement Project New Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Members New State Museum Affiliate Members State Museum Planetarium  ...
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William Penn’s Constitutional Legacy

In his proclamation marking the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of William Penn in 1944, Gov. Edward Martin described him as “one of the truly great men of history … whose tolerance, wisdom, enlightenment and vision as a statesman of the common weal render him an outstanding figure among the builders of states.” The tercentenary celebration of his glorious...
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Preserving Pieces of Pennsylvania’s Past: An Inside Look at the Building of the Commonwealth’s Collections

Associations between butterflies and buttons, Conestoga wagons and cannon, sculpture and arrowheads, or fossils and founder William Penn’s original Charter may seem tenuous, even obscure and, perhaps, nonsensical. But a relationship does exist: they are among the one and a half million objects and thirty thousand cubic feet of manuscripts, records, maps and photographs in the custody and...
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Wyoming County: A Portrait of the Picturesque

The Endless Mountains region of northeastern Pennsylvania contains the rurally unspoiled and uncrowded Wyoming County, attracting both visitor and sports enthusiast with its picturesque valleys and charm­ing villages. Fed by the waters of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, which diagonally bisects the three hundred and ninety-six square mile county, this county lies at the northern end...
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William Penn’s Colony of Cave People

Of all the stories and accounts relating to the significant role Quakers played in the settlement of the New World, none better illustrates their extraordinary determina­tion and capacity to endure and live for freedom than the way they approached the housing shortage in Philadel­phia in the 1680s. They simply resolved the problem by living in caves along the banks of the Delaware and Schuylkill...
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