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

This edition of Pennsylvania Heritage carries important messages about citizenship. As we celebrate the birthdays of American presi­dents, reflect on the efforts of African Americans during Black History Month in February, and launch a three hundredth birth­day celebration for Benjamin Franklin, the articles in this issue remind us of both our rights and responsibilities as citizens.

My conversation with Judge Marjorie O. Rendell and Richard Stengel, president of the National Constitution Center, shares interesting insights and underscores the importance that history plays in encour­aging civic engagement among Americans of all ages. Staffer Fred J. Lauver’s article on “Doc” Isaac C. Mishler profiles a stalwart impresario who, in 1906, set an example by rebuilding a theater destroyed by fire that survives through a community effort to renovate and preserve this community landmark. Jonathan W. White’s article on the right of troops to vote during the Civil War touches on a basic right of citizenship.

A recently completed master plan for The State Museum of Pennsylvania has identified citizenship education as one of the core responsibilities of a history museum that represents the history of the state. The vision for a renovated State Museum includes reengaging visitors in their role as citizens by using models such as William Penn and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Pennsylvanians – both famous and ordinary – who have made a difference through their lives. Although the plan is a long range vision, a number of programmatic innovations are already being tested in ideaZONE™ encouraging visitors to become participants and partners in learning about Pennsylvania.

Before closing, I wish to thank Joan R. Dorko and Marcia Barndt Gobrecht for their many years of service to the members of the Pennsylvania Heritage Society. They helped the PHMC stay connected to people who love and appreciate the Keystone State’s history and heritage. They will be missed.

Finally, it is with great sadness I note the passing of Commissioner Robert A. Janosov of Sheatown, Luzerne County. Bob truly embodied the principles of citizenship through his work as a historian and teacher and through his generous participation in community and civic projects. He was an inspiration to us all and we will miss him.

Barbara Franco
Executive Director, PHMC