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Press Release: March 2020 Highlights

February 12, 2020

Filed under Changing Exhibits, Charter Day, Curiosity Kids, Events, Exhibit Opening, Home School Day, Learn at Lunchtime, Nature Lab, Press Releases, Programs, Storytime

Join us Sunday, March 8 12 Noon- 5 PM for Charter Day.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania today announced its program schedule for March:

Why Not in Pennsylvania? Campaigning for Women’s Suffrage in the Keystone State, 1910-1920 Exhibit Opens, Sunday, March 1

Pennsylvania ratified the 19th Amendment a few weeks after Congress introduced the measure in June 1919, but the broader campaign to win votes for women in Pennsylvania involved years of struggle and effort. To mark the 100th anniversary of this historic amendment, The State Museum of Pennsylvania presents a special exhibit focusing on key moments and personalities of the women’s rights movement in the decade that led to suffrage. The exhibit showcases important documents, photos and artifacts associated with Pennsylvania’s “Votes for Women” campaign, many from The State Museum’s collections. This exhibit runs through Sunday, January 3, 2021.

Curiosity Kids: Feed the Birds, Thursday, March 5, 11:30 AM

Museum educators will discuss bird feeding in the museum’s Nature Lab. Children will then make their own bird feeders to hang in their yards. For individuals with nut allergies, please be aware this program will include the use of sunflower seed butter. Curiosity Kids is designed for children, aged 3 to 6, and is included with general admission. Space is limited. Please sign in at the Front Desk.

StoryTime: Ten Seeds, Friday, March 6, 10:30 AM

The children’s story Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown, about how Native Americans used sunflowers in their daily life, will be read in the museum’s Archaeology Gallery. Children can then take a packet of sunflower seeds home to plant. StoryTime is the museum’s popular reading series for children aged 3 to 5 and is included with general admission.

Learn at Lunchtime: Gradual Abolition of Slavery Act of 1780, Friday, March 6, 12:15 PM

Archivists Megan Evans and Darrill Ersery of the Pennsylvania State Archives will discuss the Gradual Abolition of Slavery Act of 1780, marking its 240th anniversary this year. The presentation will focus on the law’s effect on enslaved and free African Americans in the commonwealth, with particular attention to the conflict with slaveholding members of the Federal government at Philadelphia, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. This program is included with general admission.

The State Museum Celebrates Scholastic Achievement Opens, Saturday, March 7

The State Museum will host three exhibits highlighting Pennsylvania student achievement through Sunday, April 26:

The 2020 South Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Art Awards recognizes students for their creative excellence. Students from schools in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lebanon, Perry and York counties showcase their talents and are juried by area artistic and literary professionals.

The 2019 National History Day in Pennsylvania is a year-long, classroom-based program engaging students in hands-on historical research. Students select a topic based on the annual theme, research and analyze primary and secondary sources, draw conclusions, and create projects to demonstrate their learning. National History Day in Pennsylvania is managed by the Army Heritage Center Foundation.

The 2019–2020 Future City Competition starts with a question: How can we make the world a better place? To answer it, 6th, 7th and 8th graders imagine, research, design and build cities of the future that show their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. This year’s theme is “Clean Water: Tap into Tomorrow.” The museum will be exhibiting the top three winners.

Charter Day, Sunday March 8, 12 Noon – 5:00 PM

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission will celebrate the commonwealth’s 339th birthday on Charter Day. This special day offers visitors to The State Museum of Pennsylvania the rare opportunity to see William Penn’s original 1681 Charter.

England’s King Charles II used the Charter to grant the land that is now Pennsylvania to founder William Penn. This document is sometimes referred to as Pennsylvania’s “birth certificate” and was Penn’s personal copy. The Charter will remain on display until 1:00 PM on Friday, March 13. For the remainder of the year, the Charter is safeguarded in a special vault within the Pennsylvania State Archives.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 15th Amendment, the Pennsylvania State Archives will also exhibit two rarely seen documents: Pennsylvania’s Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery (1780) and the state’s ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1869), which ensured the right of Americans to vote, regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Other Charter Day programs include:

Charting the Holy Experiment: Violet Oakley’s Murals, 2:00 PM

Professor Patricia Likos Ricci will discuss Violet Oakley’s first commission for the Pennsylvania State Capitol, a series of murals in the Governor’s Reception Room, painted 1902–1906. Oakley’s theme, “The Founding of the State of Liberty Spiritual,” focused on William Penn’s decision to use the land granted to him by King Charles II in the 1681 Charter to create a society with religious freedom in the New World. Oakley studied the history of the Quakers and the life of Penn in London and Oxford to prepare her mural series, which chronicles the struggle for religious freedom in England from the 16th century to Penn’s voyage to Pennsylvania in 1682. Oakley was the first woman in America to receive a government mural commission. She embodied the ideal of the “New Woman” embraced by feminists of that era who fearlessly pushed past the limits that society imposed on them because of their gender. Ricci served as special advisor to The State Museum’s exhibit Picturing a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Mural Studies for the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber, 1911–1919, which features more than 50 of Oakley’s original studies for the Senate Chamber murals from The State Museum’s collections. The exhibit runs through April 26.

Admission to The State Museum is free on Charter Day, Sunday, March 8, and includes visits to the Planetarium, the Curiosity Connection and galleries. Free admission to the Planetarium and Curiosity Connection is limited. Timed tickets are available at the Front Desk.

Homeschool Day, Wednesday, March 11, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s upcoming HomeSchool Day offers a look at Pennsylvania through history, archaeology, natural history and the fine arts. The event is tailored for families and organizations that teach in a home setting. The program fee for HomeSchool Day is $10 per person (adults and children over age 1) and includes all special programs and admission to the Planetarium. Members of the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation (including State Museum Affiliate members) will be admitted free.

Nature Lab: What’s the Difference? Archaeology, Geology, and Paleontology, Thursday, March 19, 11:30 AM

Museum educators will explain and provide hands-on examples demonstrating the scientific differences between paleontology, archaeology and geology. This program is included with general admission.

Learn at Lunchtime: Why Not in Pennsylvania? Campaigning for Women’s Suffrage in the Keystone State, 1910–1920, Friday, March 20, 12:15 PM

In honor of Women’s History Month, Dr. Curtis Miner, senior curator, and Katelyn Metz, curator, will lead a tour of the new exhibit Why Not in Pennsylvania? showcasing the many important documents, photos and artifacts associated with Pennsylvania’s “Votes for Women” campaign. This program is included with general admission.


The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 24 historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History. The State Museum offers expansive collections interpreting Pennsylvania’s fascinating heritage. With exhibits examining the dawn of geologic time, the Native American experience, the colonial and revolutionary eras, a pivotal Civil War battleground, and the commonwealth’s vast industrial age, The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania’s story is America’s story.

The State Museum has joined other museums across the country in Museums for All. This program enables low-income families to visit participating museums for a nominal fee of $2 per person with the presentation of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and identification. This offer is for general admission only and excludes special programs or events.

For more information about the museum, visit The State Museum online or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Admission is $7 for adults (ages 12-64), $6 for senior citizens (ages 65 and up), and $5 for children (ages 1-11).

MEDIA CONTACT: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639

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