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

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) is pleased to announce Governor Tom Corbett’s appointment of Andrew E. Masich as Commission chair. He is well-known in the museum field and is president and CEO of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. Since 1998, he has provided leadership for the 275,000-square foot History Center and its staff of 125, as well as the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Museum of Rural Life, the Meadowcroft Rockshelter archaeological site, near Avella, Washington County, the oldest site of human habitation in North America and, most recently, Fort Pitt Museum. He serves on the American Association of Museums Accreditation Commission and is an active member of the American Association for State and Local History. Masich began his career with the Arizona Historical Society in 1978, serving as director of its Yuma and Phoenix museums, and served in management positions at the Colorado Historical Society before moving to Pennsylvania. He holds an M.A. in history and museum administration from the University of Arizona.

New members of the Commission bring a diverse set of skills and represent geographic areas. They include John A. Barbour, CEO and board chairman of Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney, of Pittsburgh; Karen Dougherty Buchholz, vice president of administration at Comcast Corporation, Philadelphia; First Lady Susan M. Corbett; William V. Lewis Jr., vice president and wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch and a board member of the Luzerne County Historical Society Wilkes-Barre; Ann Moran, Lewisburg, a community volunteer for hospitals who has been active with the Junior League of Williamsport; Jean Craige Pepper Victor, first vice president and senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, Erie; Frederick C. Powell, founder and CEO of Omni Interactive Systems, Mechanicsburg; and Richard M. Sand, an attorney with Sand and Saidel, Philadelphia. Our new Commissioners are hard at work; a new committee chaired by Buchholz will oversee the implementation of the statewide program of PA Civil War 150.

The Pennsylvania Heritage Society (PHS) is diligently working to raise much-needed funds to help support PHMC projects such as PA Civil War 150, Teaching American History programs, and projects being undertaken by the Pennsylvania State Archives. PHS’s annual appeal is an important way for members to show support for the work of PHMC and reiterate the importance of history in Pennsylvania. We encourage you to support PHS by giving memberships to family and friends this holiday season. Memberships offer not only Pennsylvania Heritage but also free admission to PHMC historic sites and museums and attractive discounts on programs and purchases.

This year’s Charter Day PHMC’s annual celebration of founder William Penn and the granting of the charter for Pennsylvania in 1681, will be held on Sunday March 11, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg and at the two dozen destinations along the Pennsylvania Trails of History®, which will host special events and programs. Visitors to The State Museum will have an opportunity to see the original charter, participate in a presentation of National History Day winners in Pennsylvania, and explore a special exhibit of an interactive map of North America on loan from the National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., on view from February 22 through March 16. To learn more, check out information on PHMC’s new mobile web site,

PHMC’s annual theme for 2012 is “The Land of Penn and Plenty: Bringing History to the Table.” Over the coming year we will look back over three centuries to assess the impact food has had on our history and heritage — a bountiful legacy of culinary traditions and customs that reflect Pennsylvania’s diverse cultures. We will also look forward to the future to examine current issues of health and sustainability. Food sustains our economy; agriculture is the commonwealth’s largest industry. Pennsylvania has been — and is — home to farms, orchards, farmers’ markets, hatcheries and fisheries, grain mills, breweries, canneries, vineyards, butchers, processors, factories, and bakeries that produce a number of time-honored staples, but also provide new and unusual foods — made possible by innovative and advanced technologies — that enhance and continue our illustrious culinary heritage. “The Land of Penn and Plenty: Bringing History to the Table” invites all residents and visitors to sample and share the richness and diversity for which Pennsylvania is famous.

Barbara Franco
Executive Director; PHMC