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CCAHA's 40th: The Pennsylvania Charter

    • This Venerable Document

2017 marks 40 years of CCAHA. Every Friday, we'll share the articles, photos, and recollections that tell the story of how CCAHA became a world-renowned leader in conservation science.

Click here to read the article. 

In 1997, CCAHA treated an object that arrived with a Pennsylvania State Police escort: the 1681 Pennsylvania Charter. The deed, given to William Penn, was established in order to reimburse the Penn family for the debts England had incurred while Penn’s father fought the Dutch at his own expense. Rather than wait for England to repay its debts, the younger Penn requested payment in the form of land in the New World, hoping to establish a system of government aligned with his Quaker philosophies.

The ensuing Charter, written in iron gall ink on parchment, slowly deteriorated over centuries. In 1997, the Pennsylvania State Archives brought it to CCAHA for treatment. Conservators carefully treated the object, surface cleaning and filling losses, and advised on its long-term storage and display options.

This lengthy article first appeared in the Winter 2000 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine, and details the Charter’s long life, from its creation to its care throughout the years. 

See ongoing coverage of our 40th anniversary here.