National treasure returns to Independence Hall

National treasure returns to Independence Hall

A national treasure will be returning to Independence Hall

just in time for Independence Day


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Click Here for the PDF of the Press Release



Philadelphia – Independence National Historical Park, along with Independence Historical Trust are thrilled to announce that the Pennsylvania Coat of Arms painting, and its historic frame will be returning to Independence Hall. Dating back to the early days of our nation, this special item in the park’s museum collection is one of the few 18th century furnishings of Independence Hall. The painting and frame were identified by the park curator as an artifact in need of conservation. The Trust raised funds for the project through the Trust’s Adopt-An-Artifact program. Having been successfully cleaned and conserved, this national treasure will once again hang on the courtroom wall of Independence Hall as a silent sentry to history.

The Press is invited to come to Independence Hall to watch the rehanging of the artifact. Event information as follows:

Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 Time: 8:30 a.m.

Location: Independence Hall (enter at the corner of 5th and Chestnut Street at 8:20 am in time to go through screening)

The Pennsylvania Coat of Arms painting was created around 1785 by George Rutter and features an early version of the Pennsylvania State Coat of Arms. The frame is by master craftsman Martin Jugiez. Hanging in the courtroom of Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall, the painting replaced the coat of arms of King George III. The British coat of arms, which previously sat above the judge’s bench, had been taken down and burned by a mob following the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776. “The Pennsylvania Coat of Arms is vital to telling the story of the events that took place in this building just under 250 years ago. It serves as one of the only artifacts that was actually in the building during those historic moments. Being able to showcase it to the public has special meaning to the visitors because it has a tangible connection to the past,” said Park Superintendent Cynthia MacLeod.


In 2017, the painting and frame were added to the Adopt-An-Artifact program after it was decided that this artifact needed to be conserved so that it could continue to be seen and enjoyed by future generations. Conservation work for both the painting and frame were extensive and included cleaning off decades of grime, removing old varnish, filling in extensive paint loss, and consolidating flaking paint and gesso to stop further loss. Funding for the project came from many individuals, but the majority of the funds needed were given by the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution Color Guard. “The Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution and its Color Guard are excited to see the completion of this restoration project. It is something close to our hearts and in support of our mission, something our members care greatly about, and we look forward to seeing this displayed for all the public to enjoy and appreciate,” said Richard Leopold Walkup, Chairman, PSSR Color Guard Special Projects Committee.


Independence Historical Trust was happy to work with the Park on preserving this artifact, and we are ready to welcome this treasure back to Park, just in time for the July 4th celebrations. “There are not many surviving Independence Hall furnishings, so the ones we have, we need to preserve. Adding this artifact to our Adopt-An-Artifact program was an easy decision. It is not only preserving Pennsylvania’s history, but it is preserving national history. We were excited to find a supportive donor in the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution Color Guard and look forward to working with them on future projects,” said Thomas A. Caramanico, Executive Director of the Independence Historical Trust.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Independence Historical Trust is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose primary mission is to support Independence National Historical Park. Created in 1972, the Trust was the first Friends group to support a national park. For nearly 50 years, the Trust has been the main Philanthropic Partner to Independence National Historical Park. To support these initiatives or learn about other projects, please contact Maiti Gallen at or visit our website at