Executive Director’s Message

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

The first settlers in Pennsylvania were primitive people who brought from Asia and across the North American Continent very little on which to build a civilization. With language, crude tools and a very simple social organization based on family ties, they built a social and economic environment which worked to improve their personal and collective well-being, and later contributed their discoveries in agriculture to benefit all mankind. The early Indians in Pennsylvania left no written records to tell us who they were or what they did. We must rely on the re­search of archaeologists for this information which forms the pre-history of our State.

European settlers brought much more to Pennsylvania on which to build a new civilization. They used their knowledge and technology to improve their lot and, in so doing, destroyed much of what remained to reflect the culture of those who lived in Pennsylvania before them. And so, with each new era of settlement, with each new generation look­ing for new achievement and with progress in economic and cultural development, something of the past was lost.

Fortunately, not all of the past was lost during our years of growth, and the need to preserve the past was recognized through the recording of events and, in some quarters, the laying aside of objects which reflect earlier cultural en­richment.

The nostalgia of Pennsylvanians during the 200 years since our national independence continues today as a basis for preserving our historical heritage. It is playing a most sig­nificant role in local themes of Bicentennial observances. Hopefully, we will continue our renewed interest in history well beyond 1976 so that future generations may benefit from the happenings of our Bicentennial year.

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