News & Events - Up and Coming at HSDC

HSDC Participating in Blue Star Museums Program

Now thru Labor Day

The Historical Society of Dauphin County is one of more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer.

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation's active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2014. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation's cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move. The complete list of participating museums is available at

A Star Spangled Celebration!

September 13 & 14, 2014

The Historical Society of Dauphin County welcomes you to a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner! Please join us for a weekend celebration honoring Harrisburg native George J. Heisely and York native Ferdinand Durang's connection to the national anthem and its first performance in 1814. Funding provided by the Dauphin County Commissioners.

View an Animoto video for this event

Saturday, September 13

Exhibit Opening and Reception

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Cost $50 ($45 for HSDC members)

RSVP by September 8

An evening of celebration with the opening of the exhibit, "Star Spangled Banner: Harrisburg's Connection to our National Anthem," and a reception with early American music, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and wine and beer provided by The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey.

Sunday, September 14

Presentation and Flag Ceremony

1:00 pm


The Harris-Cameron Mansion will be open from 11 am to 6 pm for Harrisburg's Gallery Walk, including the new Star Spangled Banner exhibit. At 1:00 pm we will gather around the flag pole for a historical presentation on the Star Spangled Banner anniversary and Harrisburg's George J. Heisely. The singing of the National Anthem and raising of a reproduction 15 star flag will follow.

George J. Heisely (1789-1880) of Harrisburg and Ferdinand Durang of York claimed to have put Francis Scott Key's famous poem to music on the way to Baltimore in 1814. The story goes that Heisely had a flute and songbook with him at their encampment with the First Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia's First Brigade. He worked with Durang, an actor and singer, to find a suitable song for the poem. They chose the song "To Anacreon in Heaven" and fit the poem to music. Durang sang the anthem for the first time at the Holliday Street Theater in Baltimore to great acclaim. The role of these men in the creation of the national anthem is largely forgotten. Mary Barnum Bush Houck, a founder of the Harrisburg Symphony, wrote and performed a play about Durang and Heisely based on her research into the first singing of the Star Spangled Banner. The play was performed for a heritage festival in Harrisburg in 1949 and the script can be found at the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Smithsonian Museum Day

September 27, 2014

The Harris-Cameron Mansion will open its doors free of charge on Saturday September 27, 2014, as part of Smithsonian magazine's ninth annual Museum Day Live! A nationwide event, Museum Day Live! offers free admission to visitors presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket at a participating museum or cultural institution. Guided tours will be available at 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Tours will include the new exhibit, "Star Spangled Banner: Harrisburg's Connection to our National Anthem."

Inclusive by design, the event represents Smithsonian's commitment to make learning and the spread of knowledge accessible to everyone, giving museums across all 50 states the opportunity to emulate the admission policy of the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. Last year's event drew over 400,000 participants, and this year's event expects record-high participation.

The Museum Day Live! ticket will be available to download beginning in August at Visitors who present the Museum Day Live! ticket will gain free entrance for two at participating venues for one day only. One ticket is permitted per household, per email address. For more information about Museum Day Live! 2014 and a list of participating museums and cultural institutions, please visit

Second Sunday Program
Historical Societies of Dauphin County

October 12, 2014

Mansion Ghost Tours

October 31, 2014

Second Sunday Program
100th Anniversary of Bethesda Mission

November 9, 2014

Annual Deck the Halls Gala

December 9, 2014

Christmas at the Mansion

December 14, 2014