Executive Director’s Message

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

It is widely recognized that during the 1970s state and local history experienced both a resurgence in interest and an expansion in scope. Newer fields of interest such as the preservation of historic and cultural property and oral history took their place alongside the traditional concerns of genealogy and community history. This growth in historical activity placed new responsibilities on historical agencies such as the PHMC. Historical programs which re­volved primarily around established museums and his­torical sites no longer proved adequate in serving the com­plex needs generated by the many facets of local historical activity. Individuals and local historical organizations increasingly required assistance and information on sub­jects as diverse as microfilming, preservation Jaws, family history and museum-object care.

The response of the PHMC to this varied demand has been to establish a series of programs best described by the term “outreach.” Recognizing that the contemporary pursuit of state and local history was a complex endeavor requiring an array of assistance. the PHMC decided that historical services must be taken to Pennsylvanians pursuing the preservation of their past in one form or another. The result has been a series of workshops, conferences and publications which have increased the public involvement of this agency far beyond the levels of even a decade ago. Citizens can now look forward to regular programs on Historic Preservation, Oral and Community History, Black History, Archives Techniques and Historical Societies held at various locations throughout the state. Publications such as Heritage and specialized newsletters will continue to provide useful information on Pennsylvania history. Established activities such as the Institute of Rural Life and Culture at the Pennsylvania Farm Museum and the Pennsbury Forums will be continued. Additional program­ming of this nature will certainly expand as Pennsylvania approaches its tercentenary celebration. Modern historical agencies must continue to carry their assistance to everyone involved in the preservation of Pennsylvania’s heritage.

William J. Wewer
Executive Director