Free Charter Day Tours of the Historic Keith House at Graeme Park
On Sunday, March 12 Pennsylvania will be celebrating the 336th anniversary of the granting of the founding charter to William Penn by King Charles II. The original charter was granted on March 4, 1681 in fulfillment of a debt of about 16,000 English pounds (over 2 million of today’s money) which the crown owed to Penn’s father—the Admiral William Penn.
Penn founded Pennsylvania, which Charles insisted on naming Pennsylvania in honor of the Admiral, as a “Holy Experiment” where Quakers could practice their religion without fear of persecution. To attract settlers in large numbers, he wrote a glowing prospectus, promising religious freedom as well as material advantages, which he marketed throughout Europe in various languages. Within six months he had parceled out 300,000 acres to over 250 prospective settlers, mostly rich London Quakers. Eventually he attracted other persecuted minorities, including Huguenots, Mennonites, Amish, Catholics, Lutherans, and Jews from England, France, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, and Wales.
Charter Day is your opportunity to tour Graeme Park, as well as many other state operated historic sites free of charge. There will be volunteers in each room so you may tour at your own pace, and a few living history demonstrations and activities around the grounds (weather permitting).
Tours begin at 12 noon, and the last visitors will be allowed in the house at 3-3:30 to ensure everyone has a chance to go through the house before we close at 4 pm. Light refreshments will be for sale. More detailed, guided tours of the house are offered Fridays—Saturdays 10-3 and Sundays 12-3.
Some of the other state owned/operated historic sites will also be offering free tours on Charter Day. The list is as follows, but please make sure you contact the sites you’re interested in touring for confirmation and details.
Anthracite Heritage Museum, Scranton
Brandywine Battlefield Park, Chadds Ford
Conrad Weiser Homestead, Womelsdorf
Cornwall Iron Furnace, Cornwall
Daniel Boone Homestead, Birdsboro
Drake Well Museum, Titusville
Eckley Miners’ Village, Weatherly
Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata
Fort Pitt Museum, Pittsburgh
Graeme Park, Horsham
Hope Lodge, Ft. Washington
Joseph Priestley House, Northumberland
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Lancaster
Old Economy Village, Ambridge
Pennsbury Manor, Morrisville
Pennsylvania Military Museum, Boalsburg
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg
The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing