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

I hope enjoying you the are enjoying the new features that have been introduced in recent issues of Pennsylvania Heritage. They are aimed at enhancing our relationships with history organizations, cultural institutions, museums, and historic preservation groups throughout the Commonwealth. We also hope these new features will keep you better informed about our programs and activities.

Partnerships are essential to the mission of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The work of Don Yoder and the influence of folklorists and how folklife scholars dramatically illustrate how Pennsylvanians continue to make important contributions to scholarship and public understanding of the past. The 1876 Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia possesses special meaning for the Please Touch Museum, which is restoring historic Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park as its new museum, scheduled to open in the autumn of 2007.

Partnerships with associate groups bring volunteers and support for the more than two dozen historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History and give the public opportunities to experience Pennsylvania history firsthand. With the reopening of our historic sites and museums for the spring season, I encourage you to explore the past through their varied and fascinating stories.

An exhibit organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, “Covered Bridges: Spanning the American Landscape,” on view through Sunday, July 16, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, is presented in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The Keystone State claims more covered bridges than any other state in the nation, thanks to the stewardship of historic preservation groups and PennDOT. A bus tour organized by the Pennsylvania Heritage Society will showcase the covered bridges of Lancaster County-with the popular Landis Valley Museum as our hub-on Tuesday, June 6. This event is but one exciting offering in the Society’s newly launched Signature Series exclusively for members that shouldn’t be missed!

The Pennsylvania Heritage Society is one of the PHMC’s most important partners. As a fundraising and support group for PHMC programs, the Society’s board members and staff work diligently to promote the Commonwealth’s history and heritage to new audiences. Two Teaching American History grants linking the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit with The State Museum and the Pennsylvania State Archives are helping to produce significant results in educational training for teachers.

As a member of the Heritage Society, you have an opportunity to make a difference. This spring, new membership levels are being announced along with expanded benefits and new ways to participate in the work of the Society. I hope we can count on your continued support. The work of preserving Pennsylvania’s unique heritage deserves the support of every citizen.

Barbara Franco
Executive Director, PHMC