William Penn can sew!

It’s official, our very own William Penn sewed his first stitches on Saturday!!

If William Penn can sew, then so can you!  Winter is a great time of year to help make clothing!  You don’t have to have any skills, you’ll learn as you go!  Join us Saturday, January 15 from10am-2pm and bring a lunch!

Subscription Prize Revealed!

When I get back from our Longwood gardens trip on January 3rd, I will be putting all our volunteer blog subscriber’s names into a drawing for this…..

Hand-Painted Peacock Feather Vase

(filled with holiday M&M’s!)

Thanks again for participating in Pennsbury’s Volunteer Blog.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in our Comments Section, located below each post.  Also, if you have any ideas for new topics for our featurettes or interesting links you’d like to post, please email me at c-hahoward@state.pa.us!

December Collections Featurette

As a special Holiday treat, we are changing up our usual routine! Instead of featuring an artifact from our collections, the staff would like to feature a special document: Peter Kalm’s Travels in North America, published in 1749. Kalm included a description of Quaker Christmas celebrations in the mid-18th century, about 48 years after Penn left the colony:

“Today Christmas Day was celebrated in the city, but not with such reverence as it is in old Sweden. On the evening before, the bells of the English Church rang for a long time to announce the approaching Yuletide. In the morning guns were fired off in various parts of the town.

People went to church, much in the same manner as on ordinary Sundays, both before and after dinner. This took place in the English, Swedish, and German churches. The Quakers did not regard this day any more remarkable than other days. Stores were open, and anyone might sell or purchase what he wanted. But servants had a three-day vacation period…”

The holiday season is always special at Pennsbury Manor, as we aim to share the welcoming and generous spirit so important to William Penn. We hope you enjoyed our Holly Nights event, which was a smashing success! The staff at Pennsbury wish you a very happy holiday season and hope to see you again in the new year!

(Very Belated) November Collections Featurette

I’m sorry we are so behind in posting November’s Collection’s Featurette, but hopefully many of you have already seen it published in the newsletter…

Delftware Charger

By Todd Galle


This month’s focus object is a delftware (most likely Dutch) charger or platter. The use of earthenware in the food service realm was widespread both in Europe and the colonies. A healthy trade in tin glazed pottery began by the Dutch and later continued by the English, expanded as the colonies matured and developed. Tin ware, wooden bowls, and pewter were augmented and sometimes replaced by imported delftware as socio-economic conditions improved.  

The rapid development of Philadelphia as a trading center would have helped to make such goods available to a wide variety of early colonists. This example is useful in interpreting the rapid development of Pennsylvania as both a colony and an economy desirous of bringing a European style of living to the New World.

This artifact also helps to illustrate the museum collection management and curatorial field. People often ask what a curator actually does. The easiest explanation, and one that Pennsbury staff and volunteers can appreciate, is that curators are stewards. We look after not only objects, but also the track the history of the object, the ‘who, what, where, when, why’ type of information helpful in interpreting that item. In the next newsletter, I’ll let you know what the file tells us about “PM75.127 / CHARGER, DELFT / 4: Food Service T & E” as well as other curatorial considerations regarding the object.