Representing Pennsylvania’s “Precious Heritage”: Art of the State 50

Art of the State is an annual juried exhibition that has been showcasing the work of Pennsylvania’s artists at The State Museum of Pennsylvania since 1968. The body of art that has been exhibited reflects half a century of creative endeavor in the Keystone State. Through the years, exhibitors have shared their ideas and engaged viewers in the categories of painting, photography, craft,...
read more

Reimagining William Penn: Janet de Coux and the Creation of the Pennsylvania Icon

In 1944 Pennsylvania was celebrating the 300th anniversary of William Penn’s birthday. More than 2,580 celebrations were held across the commonwealth and the nation, and approximately 1,550 Pennsylvania schools each honored Penn with the planting and dedication of a hemlock, the state tree. These activities coincided with a movement on the part of several state officials and Pennsylvania...
read more

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...
read more

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...
read more

Editor’s Letter

Names and dates. To some they’re the dreaded stuff of high school history exams. To those of us who study and preserve history, however, they’re essential keys for understanding the past. As we continue our commemoration of the 50th anniversary of The State Museum and Archives Complex at PHMC, a clarification of certain names and dates may be in order for understanding exactly what...
read more

Drawing from Jack Savitsky’s Sketchbook

The work of Jack Savitsky (1910-1991) is highly prized by aficionados of twentieth century folk art. A native of Schuylkill County, Savitsky drew the subject matter for his art from his own experience as a hard coal miner in north­eastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite region, as well as from the area’s miners and mining villages. Interestingly enough, his paintings and drawings depict a...
read more

Keeping the Torch of Justice Burning Brightly: William P. Young

He faced criticism at his appointment, confronted adversity in his duties, and battled poor health in his later years, but he kept the torch of justice burning brightly for all to see, maintaining his dignity and poise at every turn. He was William Pennington Young (1895-1968), the Keystone State’s fifteenth secretary of labor and industry, from 1963 to 1967, during the administration of...
read more

Peter F. Rothermel

Best known — in Pennsylvania at least — as the artist of the colossal painting depicting Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863, the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Peter Frederick Rothermel (1817–1895) was born and raised in Nescopeck, Luzerne County. Following a public school education he moved to Philadelphia where he worked as a sign painter. He briefly studied drawing before...
read more

PHMC Celebrates A Century of Service

The year 1914 was notable for a number of reasons. Germany declared war on Russia and France. Joyce Kilmer wrote “Trees.” Henry Bacon designed the Lincoln Memorial. Mack Sennett produced Making a Living starring Charlie Chaplin. Irving Berlin composed Watch Your Step. The Federal Trade Commission was created. Walter Hagen won the U.S. Golf Association Open. The patent for airplanes...
read more

Rising from the Muck: The Marshalls Creek Mastodon

For as long as I can remember, I have known of the little village of Marshalls Creek, near East Stroudsburg, in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Monroe County. My maternal grandparents, Bertha and Arthur Pflieger, rented a cottage each summer in the Poconos at the Cottage Colony, part of the Mountain Lake House, a popular resort for many New Yorkers and city dwellers during the 1940s and the...
read more