Celebrated pewter flask bears mark of Pennsylvania history

Celebrated pewter flask bears mark of Pennsylvania history

Made by celebrated pewterer Johann Christopher Heyne in the mid-18th century, this round, pewter 1770’s flask with a screw top belonged to Christian Lauer, a colonel with the Associators during the Revolutionary War. The flask is engraved on the bottom “ICH LANCASTER”, the maker’s mark of Heyne. Concentric circles adorn both front and back with …

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Mapping Pennsylvania history, one stitch at a time

Mapping Pennsylvania history, one stitch at a time

Only three 19th century samplers depicting the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are believed to still exist and, of those, two are the work of a young Pennsylvania public school girl named Elizabeth Leoser. One of her works was purchased by the State Museum of Pennsylvania in 1989. CAP Curator Amy Frey selected this artifact as this week’s …

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Museum mystery: Did this artifact cut skin or cloth?

Museum mystery: Did this artifact cut skin or cloth?

The Collections Advancement Project is helping to share with the public many previously unknown and forgotten Pennsylvania treasures. And one of those rarely exhibited artifacts still remains a mystery. This device resembles a modern day Swiss Army knife, complete with three retractable spade-shaped arms that fit into a brass sheath. The initials “F.S.” are etched …

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Crazy quilts: A patchwork of culture and memories

Crazy quilts: A patchwork of culture and memories

Crazy quilts became popular across America after the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. The exposition’s Japanese Pavilion provided many Americans with their first glimpse of Japanese culture in the form of painted screens, needlework, porcelain, furniture and lacquerware that captured the nation’s imagination influencing art, opera, architecture, fashion and quilts. By the 1880s, crazy quilting, also called …

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Bear’s Grease: A 19th-century cure for baldness, sores and cowlicks

Bear’s Grease: A 19th-century cure for baldness, sores and cowlicks

Have you ever wondered what people used to care for and style their hair before the advent of hairspray, gel, shampoo and conditioner? The week’s Pennsylvania Treasure, discovered by CAP curator Rachel Lovelace-Portal, answers that question in the form of bear’s grease, or, more specifically, a small ceramic jar that once contained bear’s grease. The …

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Johnson’s chair: Well-worn history from top to bottom

Johnson’s chair: Well-worn history from top to bottom

  The supporter of countless bottoms during its lifetime, this chair shows the wear and tear of many generations of everyday use. Plank chairs, such as this one, were popular utilitarian pieces of furniture during the mid-1800s. They were made in both rural and urban areas by furniture makers who utilized faster, mechanized reproduction methods. …

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Curators uncover sweet souvenir from 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition

Curators uncover sweet souvenir from 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition

Pennsylvania is well known for being the home of Hershey Chocolate, but this is not the state’s only claim to chocolate fame. Wilbur Chocolate in Lititz, Pa. ranks as one of America’s oldest candy companies. This week’s Pennsylvania Treasure is a Liberty Bell-shaped glass bottle that contains candies made by Croft, Wilbur & Co. at …

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American hero rocks the cradle, saves the Liberty Bell

American hero rocks the cradle, saves the Liberty Bell

  Whose hand was it that rocked this simple wooden cradle owned by John Jacob Mickley? That’s the question spurred by this week’s Pennsylvania Treasure submitted by Collection’s Advancement Project curator Diana Zeltmann. Made of dovetail construction complete with arched ends with holds for handles, the cradle features remnants of brass knobs on two sides. …

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Philadelphia-made banjo plays into Pennsylvania history

Philadelphia-made banjo plays into Pennsylvania history

    From plantations to coal mines, from Broadway to Victorian parlors, in churches and taverns, the banjo has been a part of the American landscape since the 18th century.  The stringed instrument has shaped all kinds of musical styles and crossed racial, cultural and social boundaries. This week’s feature is a S.S. Stewart, five-string …

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Porcelain scent bottle helps Philadelphia businessman win his bride

Porcelain scent bottle helps Philadelphia businessman win his bride

This week’s Pennsylvania Treasure is a porcelain scent bottle and stopper made by The Tucker Factory in Philadelphia. The bottle is made of glazed porcelain with enamel, gilt and painted decorations. The name “M.Earp 1837” is inscribed on one side of the artifact. CAP curators Amy Frey and Rachel Lovelace-Portal chose this item because it …

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