Executive Director’s Message

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

Pennsylvania enjoys a rich heritage, reflected in both urban and rural areas. This heritage is preserved in structures, furnishings and implements, and it is exemplified individually through works of art. We also see it in customs of ethnic as well as other groups, and naturally, it is evidenced in documents that relate details of events and the involvement of individuals and organizations in shaping history.

Preservation of our historic heritage is not a responsibility that rests with a single group or organization, nor have historic preservation efforts and accomplishments stemmed from any one source. Our heritage has been preserved through individual and combined efforts at both state and local levels. If we are to continue successful history programs in Pennsylvania, their combined effort must be recognized as a necessity.

The activities of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission are broad in scope and constitute a complete program of historic preservation within a single State agency. Although PHMC is directly involved in the de¬≠velopment and management of a State Archives, State Museum and sixty historic sites and museums located throughout the State, PHMC’s activities should not be competitive with those of local historical societies, museums and similar institutions. In effect, the role of PHMC is to augment the grassroots accomplishments of local organizations. Interest in local history is the force that generates interest in state and national history. Local historical so¬≠cieties and historic preservation groups are the primary source for preserving Pennsylvania’s rich historic background.

Dr. Donald H. Kent recently retired from his position as director of the Bureau of Archives and History following thirty-seven years of service with PHMC. His career was developed with a full application of the contributions of local historical organizations to the preservation of Pennsylvania’s history. We salute Dr. Kent as a leading authority on Pennsylvania history and continue his belief that local involvement in history programs is the primary force behind any statewide program.

William J. Wewer, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission