Pennsbury Manor’s interns have been hard at work researching new stories for our upcoming 75th anniversary. As they continue to explore Pennsbury’s history, we’ll be sharing their reflections on what they’re discovering!
If there is one thing I have learned interning here at Pennsbury Manor, it is that Pennsbury is constantly evolving. As new information is discovered and new eyes set upon a topic, a fresh interpretation is born and often implemented. Pennsbury has had as many as four different interpretation plans during its 75 years, which have changed the Manor from a place that focuses solely on William Penn and his belongings to focusing on the culture of Penn’s time, while still incorporating William, his family, and the different relationships he had at his manor.
Our interpretation is not the only thing that has changed over time. The physical layout of the site and buildings has also changed as well. Some changes were minor, such as furniture bouncing from room to room as spaces are updated with a more authentic look. Other changes were on a much larger scale. A few years after Pennsbury was open to the public in 1949, a new outbuilding was constructed. Another major change was the location of Penn’s barge. The barge was initially along the river, a necessity when docking one’s boat. Today, the barge is now located next to the visitors center to prevent water damage.
Pennsbury Manor is doing something that many other museums simply cannot seem to do: adapt. Pennsbury is always adapting to new information that is uncovered, and strives to become as historically accurate as possible with the little information accessible. All while honoring the man who constructed the city of brotherly love, and who Thomas Jefferson once called “the greatest lawgiver the world has produced.”
By Kyle Lutteroty, Intern