Curating a New Home for History: A Conversation with W. Fred Kinsey and Irwin Richman

Established institutions rarely get the opportunity to hit the reset button. But that’s what happened with The State Museum of Pennsylvania in the early 1960s, after the long-anticipated William Penn Memorial Museum and Archives Building cleared its last bureaucratic hurdle. Ground was broken north of the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, in January 1962, and by summer Pennsylvania’s...
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Piper J-3 Cub

Even before the William Penn Memorial Museum was under construction in the early 1960s, PHMC Executive Director S.K. Stevens had initiated an ambitious plan to acquire objects for a massive Pennsylvania “transportation exhibit.” The gallery was to be arranged chronologically, starting with a pair of Indian moccasins, on to wagons and carriages, then to locomotives and automobiles, and ending...
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A Home for History: S.K. Stevens and the Campaign for the William Penn Memorial Museum and Archives

by Curtis Miner On December 23, 1959, Dr. S.K. Stevens (1904-74) sent out a final, end-of-the-year message to members of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). It came in the form of a brief, typewritten memo, informing them that Governor David L. Lawrence (1889-1966) had that morning signed a spending bill for the construction of a museum and archives building. “I think this...
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Preserving Pieces of Pennsylvania’s Past: An Inside Look at the Building of the Commonwealth’s Collections

Associations between butterflies and buttons, Conestoga wagons and cannon, sculpture and arrowheads, or fossils and founder William Penn’s original Charter may seem tenuous, even obscure and, perhaps, nonsensical. But a relationship does exist: they are among the one and a half million objects and thirty thousand cubic feet of manuscripts, records, maps and photographs in the custody and...
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The Little Cub That Roared

The Piper Cub is a very small airplane, especially by today’s standards. When parked on an airport tarmac, a person of average height standing beside it can easily see over its wing, which forms the roof of the cockpit. It accommodates a pilot and one passenger. No space is wasted. The forward, or pilot’s seat, is narrow and cramped. The passenger seat directly behind the...
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Letters to the Editor

Up and Away! Pennsylvania Heritage is one of the finest magazines I have ever had. The composition, literary quality, and selection of illustrations are second to none! As a historic aircraft enthusiast, I was absorbed by the rise and decline of C. G. Taylor and Bill Piper, Sr., and Bill Piper, Jr. (see “The Little Cub That Roared” by Theodore K. Thomas in the winter 1993 issue). I...
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