HARRISBURG, Pa., April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania State Archives will host a public open house in its newly renovated search room from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 18.

The State Archives, housed in the iconic 18-story tower at Third and Forster streets in Harrisburg, preserves many of the key documents which tell Pennsylvania’s history. A selection of records will be on display, and staff will be available to answer questions.

In conjunction with the Civil War’s 150th anniversary and the April 15 release of a new movie on the trial of the Lincoln assassins, “The Conspirator,” the open house will feature the 1865 letter book of Gen. John F. Hartranft. He oversaw the imprisonment and treatment of the co-conspirators, including Mary Surrat, the first woman executed by the U.S. government and a key character in the new movie. Hartranft later served as Pennsylvania’s governor from 1872 to 1879.

The State Archives, part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, collects, preserves, and makes available for study permanently valuable public records, with particular attention given to the records of state government. It also collects papers of private citizens and organizations relevant to Pennsylvania history.

Included among the archive’s holdings are more than 195 million pages of documents and manuscripts; 20,000 reels of microfilm containing some 22 million images of county deeds, wills, mortgages, estate papers, and assessment books; and more than one million special collection items, such as photographic prints and negatives, maps, postcards, posters, audio recordings, and motion picture films.

The State Archives is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Microfilmed records only are available from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

More information on the State Archives, including thousands of documents online, is available at www.phmc.state.pa.us.

From the April 11, 2011 edition of PRNewsWire.com.