The State Museum of Pennsylvania is pleased to present Pennsylvania in Watercolor: Revisiting Nick Ruggieri’s Bicentennial Series. This exhibition showcases the county-by-county series of paintings that artist Nick Ruggieri began in 1970. Commissioned by the Harrisburg Patriot-News to commemorate Pennsylvania places for the 1976 United States Bicentennial, Ruggieri’s work remains a poignant reflection on the Keystone State’s evolution as we approach the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.

Ruggieri’s project involved visiting all 67 counties to paint a representative scene he chose for each one – often a historic site, natural feature, or signature industry. The exhibition features 52 paintings from 49 Pennsylvania counties and is on display in the Changing Exhibit Gallery on Floor 1 of The State Museum through June 16, 2024.

On Sunday, May 5, at 2:00 PM, The State Museum will host an informal discussion with Rosemary Baer, Nick Ruggieri’s daughter. Peter Durantine, a Harrisburg-based journalist familiar with Ruggieri’s work, will facilitate the discussion. Attendees will have the opportunity to view Ruggieri’s paintings while learning more about his work and life. Ruggieri left a lasting impact on the arts in the Harrisburg region as both an artist and an art educator.

The program will be held within the exhibition area in The State Museum’s first-floor gallery, with light refreshments served in Village Square, and is included with museum admission.


Nick Ruggieri (1908–1996) worked as an artist and educator throughout most of his life. Born in Vieste, Italy, in 1908, he came to the United States in 1920 and settled with his family in Harrisburg, where he attended William Penn High School. He later enrolled at the Art Students League in New York. In 1939, he continued his studies in Florence. In 1941, a year after returning to the U.S., the Harrisburg Telegraph hired him to serve as art director, a position he would then hold with The Patriot-News until his retirement in 1980 at 72.

Ruggieri’s enduring influence is evident in the continued popularity of his work and his lasting contributions to the Harrisburg community. He was active in the Scholastic Arts Awards, past president of the Art Association of Harrisburg, and founder and past president of the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society. He received many awards throughout his life, including the American Freedom Foundation’s George Washington Medal and the Grumbacher Award for Watercolor.


The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 23 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.

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

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