Executive Director’s Message

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

Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission and citizens of this Commonwealth will be pleased to know that the staff has worked assiduously to make sure there will be many, many opportunities for one and all to participate in the bicentennial of the United States Constitution. We are providing a rich menu of excit­ing programs and publications that will enable every willing citizen to learn more about the landmark document and Penn­sylvania’s pivotal role in its writing and ratification.

The Commission’s involve­ment in the bicentennial ob­servances actually began in June 1986 when we sponsored a seminar for state and local leaders. Not long after, an official calendar of bicentennial events and activities-from exhibits to walking tours – was prepared and distributed throughout the Common­wealth. (Current issues of this calendar are available from our offices and at the museums and historic sites administered by the Commission.)

Gov. Robert P. Casey in January – in fact, on the very day of his inauguration – formally unveiled two major exhibits which will travel throughout Pennsylvania. The new Mobile Museum, funded with a generous gift by Mellon Bank, will tour each of our sixty-seven counties with a fascinating exhibit entitled “Indeed It Is Just Beginning: The U.S. Constitution.” The governor also opened an ex­hibit, “Meet Governor Casey,” chronicling his various cam­paigns and accomplishments. Featuring numerous items from the Casey family’s collec­tion, the exhibit will travel to selected museums and historic sites during the corning months. In April, “Meet Gov­ernor Casey” will be on view at Pennsbury Manor, Bucks County.

Constitution bicentennial exhibits will be installed at the State Capitol and The State Museum. “The Constitution, Our Living Legacy” will be mounted in the Capitol Ro­tunda while small displays of United States currency and eagles will be housed in The State Museum. The museum’s most important exhibit, however, will examine the role of Pennsylvanians during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, showcas­ing rare objects and docu­ments, including notes kept by James Madison, “the Father of the Constitution.”

Two informative books by staff members – To Form A More Perfect Union: The Federal Con­stitution and Pennsylvania and To Secure the Blessings of Liberty: Pennsylvania and the Changing U.S. Constitution – were recently published by the Com­mission. A special series of five articles for Pennsylvania Heritage, the first of which appears in this edition, will focus on the document’s con­tinuing influence on history.

During this commemora­tion, we invite all residents and visitors to take part in honoring this fundamental American document and living legacy. If you wish to know more about our special ex­hibits, traveling shows, publi­cations and events, please write: “PHMC Constitution Bicentennial,” Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission, P.O. Box 1026, Harris­burg, PA 17108-1026.

Larry E. Tise
Executive Director