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

“Pennsylvania Memories Last a Lifetime.”

A new tourism marketing campaign offers many opportunities and a new approach to call attention to the Keystone State’s rich and varied histori­cal and cultural assets. Pennsylvania’s amazing array of memorable places gives travelers a deeper appreciation of our national heritage while providing an enjoyable family experience. An itinerary that includes the Liberty Bell, the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour in Scranton, Ephrata Cloister, the State Capitol, Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, Fallingwater, the Forks of the Ohio at Pittsburgh, and the U.S. Brig Niagara berthed at Erie (my personal favorites) takes in nearly every major theme in American history. The visual and intellectual impact of visiting these places is, in a word, unforgettable.

Authenticity and integrity are the hallmarks of our historic attractions. Real history happened here – nothing is fabricated or contrived. The dramatic events of Pennsylvania’s political, military, religious, cultural, social, and economic history occupied our nation’s center stage for more than three cen­turies. Much of this history has been preserved intact because the National Park Service, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), local governments, and many historical organizations and preservation associa­tions have done a remarkable job in caring for and making accessible to the public a stunning inventory of architec­tural landmarks, historic downtowns and neighborhoods, and cultural landscapes. Even artifacts of our prehistoric past, reflecting nearly twenty thousand years of human activity, have been meticulously con­served and intelligently interpreted by museums and historical societies throughout the Commonwealth.

The task of promoting Pennsylvania’s tourist destinations – historic, scenic, recreational, and natural – belongs to the state Department of Commerce. For the new tourism campaign, the department has created an interagency team of eighteen agencies, boards, and commis­sions, including the PHMC, to analyze a number of issues and address such subjects as information technology, infrastructure, and private-public partnerships. Every medium of commu­nication – print, broadcast, and electronic networks – will be saturated to reach targeted markets outside the Commonwealth and to convince Pennsylvanians to spend more leisure time visiting destinations in the state.

My hope for the success of this campaign is driven partly by self-­interest. More visitors to our historic sites and museums will mean addition­al – and much-needed – revenue for financially strapped public and private institutions. Creating a positive experi­ence for visitors will depend on a strategy of reinvesting in visitor centers, exhibitions, and amenities. Recognizing the connection between capital spending on infrastructure and a successful tourism initiative is imperative. r also expect that a tourism campaign promot­ing our heritage will result in a greater knowledge of this priceless legacy and lead to a greater awareness of the need to preserve such a fragile inheritance.

Brent D. Glass
Executive Director