From the Executive Director features news and reflections on the work of PHMC by its chief administrator.

Pennsylvania prides itself as a place steeped in history and tradition. Each autumn, Pennsylvanians celebrate their rich agricultural heritage with harvest events, from apple festivals, replete with demonstrations — and samples — of apple butter making, to losing oneself in corn mazes, labyrinths that have become enormously popular in recent years. In communities throughout the Commonwealth, farmers’ markets overflow with locally grown produce ready to make the tantalizing pickles, pies, and preserves for which the Keystone State is justifiably famous.

This fall is a great time to visit the historic sites and museums along PHMC’s Trails of HistoryTM. “A Common Canvas: Pennsylvania’s New Deal Post Office Murals,” an exhibit of public works of art commissioned in the late 1930s and early 1940s for post offices in a number of our communities, will be on view from November 22 through May 17, 2009, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, as part of this year’s theme to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal. Agriculture, industry, transportation, heroes and heroines, patriotism, and history are among the subjects that communities chose to represent themselves and recall the traditions they hoped to preserve for future generations.

This is also the season of family traditions and holidays. October will usher in Halloween Harvest at The State Museum, a new program for families and children. Gift-giving is a treasured holiday tradition for Pennsylvanians. The Pennsylvania Heritage Society will once again host its Holiday Marketplace in the Commonwealth Keystone Building, Harrisburg, on Thursday and Friday, November 21–22. With unusual merchandise from shops at PHMC’s historic sites and museums, and Radius at The State Museum, The State Bookstore, and participating state agencies, it’s a great opportunity to find distinctive items steeped in Pennsylvania history and tradition. Purchases also support worthwhile public history programs and Pennsylvania’s craftspeople.If you can’t shop in Harrisburg, visit on the Web to purchase books that tell the story of the Commonwealth and its people, places, and events. Better yet, you can also give gift memberships in the Pennsylvania Heritage Society that include a subscription to Pennsylvania Heritage!

PHMC, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Heritage Society, our not-for-profit membership organization, extends to you and your family best wishes for the upcoming holidays.

Barbara Franco
Executive Director, PHMC