News & Events - Up and Coming at HSDC

Star Spangled Banner Exhibit

Now thru January 15, 2015

On September 13 and 14, the Historical Society of Dauphin County held a weekend celebration for the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, including an opening reception for our new exhibit entitled, Star Spangled Banner: Harrisburg's Connection to our National Anthem. The exhibit explores Harrisburg in 1814 and the connection of local veterans George J. Heisely and Ferdinand Durang to the national anthem and its first performance. Funding for the exhibit and anniversary events was provided by the Dauphin County Commissioners.

The exhibit is included as part of the Mansion tour. Tours are available Monday through Thursday at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 PM and on the second Sunday of each month at 1:00 PM. The Research Library of the HSDC will also be open from 1:00 to 4:00 PM Monday through Thursday and the second Sunday of each month. Tour admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for children. Free parking is available in the lot behind the mansion.

175th Anniversary of the Whig National Convention

December 6, 2014 - 2:00 pm

At Zion Lutheran Church

The Historical Society of Dauphin County and Zion Lutheran Church (ELCM) will hold a commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Whig National Convention at Zion Lutheran Church, 15 S. 4th Street in Harrisburg, on Saturday, December 6, 2014, starting at 2:00 pm.

The Whigs were a political party of the mid-1800's and the chief rival of the Democratic Party. In anticipation of the Presidential Election of 1840, the Whigs determined to hold their nominating convention in Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. The newly-rebuilt Zion Lutheran Church (the original building was destroyed by fire in 1837) was the largest building at the time in Harrisburg that could accommodate the convention. From December 4 through December 7, the delegates met to select their candidates. It was the first national party convention to have more than one candidate contending for the presidential nomination. After parliamentary maneuvers and back room wheeling and dealing the convention nominated William Henry Harrison of Ohio for President and John Tyler of Virginia for Vice President. Their slogan was "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," referring to William Henry Harrison's victory over the Shawnee leader Tecumseh near the river Tippecanoe in Ohio in 1811. Harrison was again victorious in 1840, as he was elected to office over the Democratic incumbent Martin Van Buren. Harrison served only 32 days, becoming the first President to die in office.

The celebration of this historic event will begin with a presentation by local historian, Howard J. Parker, who is currently writing a book on the election of 1840 and the pivotal role central Pennsylvania played in that campaign. A tour of the second-floor sanctuary will follow, which will include both patriotic and seasonal music performed by Zion's Church Choir. The event will conclude around 4:00pm with a reception and additional period music. Numerous displays of historic items specific to the Whig campaign, the Harrisburg Whig convention, and mid-19th century life will be available for viewing throughout the afternoon.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking validation is available for the Chestnut Street garage.

Deck the Halls: A Dickens Celebration

December 9, 2014 - 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

On Tuesday, December 9th, the National Landmark John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion will again be the setting for the region's premier holiday celebration and recognition event, the Historical Society of Dauphin County's 20th annual Deck the Halls, "A Dickens Celebration".

Deck the Halls is THE major fundraising event for the Historical Society of Dauphin County. Income from the event is crucial to supporting our educational programs and research archives, and to maintaining the National Landmark Harris-Cameron Mansion, built in 1766 and entrusted to our care since 1941.

This year the Historical Society will present the 2014 John Harris Award to Ruthann Hubbert Kemper, for her commitment to our community that will be part of Harrisburg history for generations to come. Ruthann served as Executive Director of the Capitol Preservation Committee from 1982 until her retirement in 2010. Since assuming a seat on the board of directors of the Historical Society of Dauphin County in 2012, Ruthann has directed over $400,000 worth of restoration projects for the exterior of the Harris-Cameron Mansion.

Tickets are $90, $125 and $250 and are partially tax deductible. The evening will include music by Joe Trojack, wine and beer by the Vineyard at Hershey, and heavy hors d'oeuvres, and desserts by Flinchy's. Please R.S.V.P. by calling 717-233-3462 or e-mailing

Holiday Tour of the Harris-Cameron Mansion
and the PA National Fire Museum

December 13, 2014 - 10:00 am

The Historical Society of Dauphin County and PA National Fire Museum present a Holiday Tour on Saturday, December 13. The tour starts at 10 am at the Harris-Cameron Mansion, 219 South Front Street, Harrisburg. The mansion will be beautifully decorated for the holidays, including a special exhibit of antique toys. After the tour of the Mansion, visitors will head to the PA National Fire Museum at 1820 N. 4th Street, Harrisburg to enjoy a tour and display of toy trains.

A special admission of $5 will be charged at each museum. Space is limited, so please RSVP by calling the Historical Society at 233-3462. There is also free parking at both locations.

Christmas at the Mansion

December 14, 2014 - 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Santa will be coming to the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion on December 14th! The mansion will be open from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Come and see the mansion beautifully decorated for the holidays, including a special exhibit of antique toys. Light refreshments will be served, and holiday crafts and museum shop items will be available for purchase. Admission is a $5 suggested donation for adults, and children 12 and under are Free. It will be holiday fun for the whole family!