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

The masthead to the left of this message includes the names of current members of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. I can proudly report that these men and women are an extraordinary group of citizen volunteers and elected public officials who actively represent Pennsylvania’s history and museum community in all deliberations and programs of our agency.

Field trips made by our Commissioners last fall reminded me of their dedica­tion to preserving the Commonwealth’s rich heri­tage. We spent two full days in October visiting historic sites administered by the Commis­sion, including the Daniel Boone Homestead, Cornwall Iron Furnace, Conrad Weiser Homestead, and Ephrata Cloister. We also took a driving tour of the picturesque Oley Valley Historic District in Berks County, one of the country’s largest and best­-preserved historic districts.

Only a month later, Commission members undertook an equally ambi­tious schedule in western Pennsylvania. Destinations on this tour included Old Economy Village, Fort Pitt Museum, and Bushy Run Battlefield. We also toured the structure that will house the Pittsburgh Regional History Center, an exciting new facility being planned by the Histori­cal Society of Western Pennsylvania (see “Homeward Bound: An Interview with David McCullough” in the summer 1994 issue), and the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter, an archaeological site with evidence of more than fifty periods of occupa­tion and use spanning more than sixteen thousand years.

At every stop in our journeys, members of the Commission had an opportunity to meet the professionals and volunteers whose collec­tive efforts make possible the preservation and interpreta­tion of the Keystone State’s exciting history. Our Commis­sioners came away from these meetings with a renewed respect for the unique partner­ships that have been forged at the historic sites and muse­ums, as well as for the role the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission plays in encouraging such mutually rewarding partnerships.

Members of boards and commissions are too often undervalued as being merely “ceremonial.” This is definitely not true of our Commissioners. Naturally, our monthly meetings include a fair share of routine business, but there is always much substance. Commission members are truly engaged in the busi­ness – and vision – of our agency. They are creative and resourceful individuals who offer years of expertise and experience in many fields.

Since I have directed the agency, I cannot think of an occasion when a member has not been available to represent the Commission – whether it has been for a dedication of a state historical marker or a presentation made on behalf of the governor. This remarkable spirit of commitment has been true of former members of the Commission as well. Nearly one hundred individuals have served as Commissioners since the creation of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1945. I invite all those who care about Pennsylvania’s history and heritage to join me in expressing our appreciation to these individuals for their selfless service to the Com­monwealth.

Brent D. Glass
Executive Director