$1M Donation to Support Early American History Opportunities


MERCERSBURG- The Conococheague Institute and Mercersburg Academy recently received a generous donation of $1M to support early American history opportunities for students and the community. This generous donation made by philanthropist Robert Kurtz Jr will be equally split between these two institutions.

For the Conococheague Institute, a 30-acre 18th century museum and homestead, this donation marks a giant stride towards securing historical opportunities for the local youth for the years to come.

“As our endowment builds, we’ll unlock new avenues of growth and become eligible for additional grant funding opportunities, further enhancing our mission,” said Matthew Wedd, Executive Director of CI. “Planning for the future, we can now look at 5 and 10 year goals, and can’t wait to share the journey with the community. The students who engage in our programs are a huge reason for this donation, as they prove to our donors that history matters to the next generation!”

Mercersburg Academy and the Conococheague Institute have a wonderful history of collaboration with students actively participating in preservation and conservation efforts. Students have been instrumental in cemetery restoration, tree plantings, invasive species removal, and gardening projects.

Last year, thanks to Mr. Kurtz’s previous endowment, a new annual program was introduced ‘Can You Live 18th Century.’ This initiative allows 12 high school students to immerse themselves in 18th-century life, complete with period clothing and technology, during a two-week experience at CI. Due to its novel nature the program received the prestigious PA Museums Institutional Achievement award.

More recently, Mr. Kurtz’s support enabled the Conococheague Institute to create two paid high school intern positions, providing early career development opportunities to budding historians and preservationists.

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