Executive Director’s Message

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

We have been extremely gratified over the past few years by the growth in popularity of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine. Since 1978, the circulation has increased from less than 3,000 to its present level, approaching 10,000 subscribers. During the same period, the scope of the publication has been ex­panded and greater emphasis has been placed on improving the quality of articles published, something which we are cer­tain readers have come to realize. The Pennsylvania His­torical and Museum Commission has committed itself to make the magazine a worthy contribution to the field of Penn­sylvania history.

In keeping with this continual commitment, we believe that the quarterly can be further improved and that it can be made even more stimulating and attractive for an ever growing number of people interested in the rich heritage of Pennsylva­nia and in the programs of the Commission, whir:h are de­signed to preserve that heritage. Already we have held a num­ber of staff sessions to consider such things as the magazine’s appearance and contents, and have concluded that we can and should include more articles about Pennsylvania’s material history, historic preservation, historical collections, and so­cial and oral history. We have decided that it would be well to introduce color, to include more variety of presentation. and to solicit articles from a wider range of authors – some from among members of our staff, but also others from the larger historical, museum and historic preservation community in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. We also feel that there is a large audience for the magazine which we have not yet reached. Al­though Heritage is already one of the widest circulating state history journals in the nation, we are certain that its potential circulation has not been realized and that further expansion should be sought.

Our plan is to inaugurate the new format for Pennsylvania Heritage in the spring 1984 issue, due for release in March. There is, however, much to be decided between now and then. As we make further decisions about how the new version of the magazine will look and what should be included, we would like to consider the comments and suggestions of our readers. This is, in part, why we are establishing the new Let­ters to the Editor column which is outlined on page 30 (see “News and Notes“). Please feel free to use it as a way to convey your thoughts to us.

For those who value a particular section of the magazine as it is now presented, you will be happy to know that we are not contemplating the deletion of any of the regular features – in­cluding the county series, oral histories or historic preserva­tion articles. Nor will we abandon those sections which seek to present ongoing data about the National Register, notices from historical societies, news from the Commission, Book­shelf or Heritage Highlights.

But, with the new format and timetable for production, some changes of emphasis will undoubtedly be necessary in several departments. We need to know how these features and sections can be of greater interest and service to you, our read­ers. Are there segments of Pennsylvania history that should be stressed in the magazine? Are there subjects that we have not addressed which should be covered in future issues? Are there informational services we could provide? In short, how can we improve the publication?

We would like to know your ideas and comments as we con­tinue to strive to make Pennsylvania Heritage the most popu­lar and serviceable magazine of its kind in America.

Larry E. Tise