Executive Director’s Message

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

With the encouragement of our excellent Commission and the additional critical support of Governor Thorn­burgh and the General As­sembly, over the past years we have been able to deal ef­fectively with most of the criti­cal property, collection and program issues facing the His­torical and Museum Com­mission. We are now in a posi­tion to begin assuming the role of statewide leadership which we should, perhaps, have exercised throughout the years. The Commission has initiated movement in this direction by establishing long­-range goals and priorities which lay the groundwork for a more effective relation-ship with Pennsylvania’s large historical and cultural com­munity.

The key to the success of the Commission’s grand plans and hopes for the future can best be expressed through the term “networking.” We hope the Commission can be­come the convener, listener, facilitator, spokesman, activa­tor, conduit and communi­cator for the several thousand organizations and institu­tions working in the realm of historical and cultural affairs in Pennsylvania and for the several hundred thousand indi­viduals who participate as board members, volunteers and members. It is our fondest dream to establish programs and forms of association that will enable the Commis­sion to better reflect and fulfill the aspirations of broad segments of the state’s his­torical and cultural community.

We will be fostering net­works in all areas represented by Commission program­matic responsibilities as we have long been doing for local historical organizations through the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Socie­ties, which will receive even greater support in the future. Through the establishment of the Preservation Fund of Pennsylvania and support for the Pennsylvania Preserva­tion Trust, we hope to begin more effectively uniting the growing number of local his­toric preservation groups. Through our statewide survey of local government records, we have begun to estab­lish networks with county governments and their elected officers for the preservation of historical records.

Our recently established Applied History Program, the largest of any state historical agency in the nation, has enabled us to train and hire more than a hundred col­lege and graduate interns over the past year and brought us into league with college and university departments of history, art, architecture, natural history, planning and related studies. To confirm this relationship, we have be­gun convening an annual meeting of the chairs and rep­resentatives of these depart­ments from around the state.

In the realm of network­ing historic site and museum institutions, we have estab­lished a museums advisory committee representing the broad range of museum insti­tutions in Pennsylvania. Through this organization we have already begun outlin­ing areas for cooperation and collaboration in order to benefit the five hundred such institutions throughout the state.

As time progresses, we will attempt to establish net­works with all organizations in the state whose interests and programs run parallel to those of the Commission. In order for us to realize this dream, we must first iden­tify every such organization, locate its officers and mail­ing address, understand its aspirations and problems, and solicit its participation. In the certain chance that readers of Pennsylvania Heritage be­long to organizations that could benefit from these efforts, we invite letters and calls to insure their involvement. In its purest form, a network is born out of just this kind of interaction and cooperation. We invite you to become a part of it.

Larry E. Tise
Executive Director