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

No less than two dozen communities throughout the country claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day and Boalsburg, Centre County, continues to staunchly defends its claim. According to local tradition Emma Hunter and Sophie Keller met at a cemetery adjacent to the village’s Zion Lutheran Church on an October Sunday in 1864 to place flowers on the grave of Hunter’s father Reuben, a physician who died of an infection the previous month after treating wounded Civil War soldiers at a Baltimore, Maryland, hospital. They met an older woman, Elizabeth Meyer (also spelled Myers and Meyers), who was visiting the grave of her twenty-three-year-old son Amos, killed on July 3, 1863, the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Before leaving the burial ground the women agreed to meet there the following year at about the same time — and so this is the origin of Decoration (now Memorial) Day. In the months that followed residents enthusiastically embraced the idea of a remembrance ceremony and turned out for a community-wide observance on July 4, 1865. Meyer made a one-sided flag with thirty-six stars to honor her son which was acquired in 1979 by the Pennsylvania Military Museum, Boalsburg, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) as a destination along the Pennsylvania Trails of History. The museum honors the contributions made by Pennsylvanians to the defense of the state and the nation for more than two hundred years. PHMC is observing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War as its theme through 2014.