Executive Director’s Message

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

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, I am pleased to report, is reach­ing out to assume its proper role as a cohesive, statewide force to influence the appreci­ation and preservation of history, heritage, art and cul­ture throughout the Common­wealth. The indications of this role are many – and tangible.

We have recently com­pleted an intensive survey of the records of each of the Commonwealth’s sixty-seven counties. Significantly aided with a major grant from the National Historical Publica­tions and Records Commis­sion, nine archivists were dispatched to every court­house and county records storage place to identify the location, status and condition of all existing records of the various offices serving county and local governments. These computerized data are now available to help researchers locate all historical local re­cords. The data are also prov­ing useful in the creation of archives and records programs – as well as storage facilities – for our counties. We are very excited about the accomplishments in Chester, Lancaster and Northampton counties, and are encouraged by the progress in Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties. We are distressed with the conditions in Alle­gheny and Luzerne counties. But we invite the active in­volvement of county officials and citizens interested in preserving these historic and vital local government records.

We are now seeking the involvement of local govern­ments in our successful state­wide historic preservation program. Local governments wishing to play a role in iden­tifying historic properties, nominating them to the Na­tional Register of Historic Places, assisting in the review of projects affecting historic properties, and promoting the preservation of such build­ings, sites or structures can now participate in the Com­mission’s Certified Local Gov­ernment Program.

Small grants are available to local governments wishing to help renew, revitalize and rebuild Pennsylvania’s cities and towns. Through our program – facilitated by the use of federal investment tax credits for rehabilitation of historic properties-nearly two thousand buildings have been rehabilitated in Pennsylvania, encouraging a total investment of more than one and a half billion dollars! Pennsylvania claims the largest number and greatest investment in historic rehabilitation projects of any state in the nation. Philadelphia leads the country with nine hundred and fifty million dollars and Pittsburgh ranks third with nearly two hundred and ten million dollars in investment opportunities. All of this is made possible through our historic preserva­tion program and the involve­ment of cities in the Certified Local Government Program. We invite inquiries.

It feels good to be playing our designated role on a state­wide basis. It feels especially good to know that we are touching the lives, buildings and environment of many communities. And we ask you to join us in these efforts to keep Pennsylvania historic­and beautiful.

Larry E. Tise
Executive Director