Executive Director’s Message

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

In the past two years, the Commission has undertaken many dramatic and exciting new initiatives – the Property Placement Program, the establishment of a statewide revolv­ing fund (the Preservation Fund of Pennsylvania, Inc.) and the redesign and presentation of Pennsylvania Heritage, to name a few. After many months of planning we are now ready to launch another initiative which promises much for the future growth of the multiple activities of the PHMC – the Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commis­sion. Many Pennsylvanians will soon learn of the Friends through the message contained in an invitational brochure:

The Friends was created to encourage both public and private support for public history programs carried out by the Commonwealth’s official history agency in each of Pennsylvania’s six1y-seven counties. Helping to pro­tect and preserve more than three centuries of Pennsylva­nia’s treasured heritage, art, culture and tradition is the major objective of the newly formed, tax-exempt corpo­ration and we need your help. We need your Friendship.

Your generous support of the Friends will enable his­torians, curators, preservationists, researchers, archi­vists, and museum and historic site administrators to keep history alive for Pennsylvania’s residents and visi­tors. Pennsylvania’s fascinating history also tells the story of a remarkable nation and your support, through a membership, will help underwrite the collection, docu­mentation, conservation, and interpretation of more than three hundred years of a distinguished heritage.

Current subscribers to Pennsylvania Heritage will be offered a chance to join this exciting, new organization with their renewals late in 1983. Our Friendship program is mutually rewarding. As a member of the Friends, in addition to Pennsylvania Heritage, you will enjoy a num­ber of benefits: a yearly pass good for unlimited free ad­mission to the Commonwealth’s 27 regional museums and historic sites on Pennsylvania’s “Trail of History”; a periodic newsletter featuring news of interest to all who share a common commitment to Pennsylvania’s history and culture; discounts on new and existing publications of the Commission; reduced registration fees on the Commission’s most popular seminars, conferences and forums; and invitations to exhibit openings, special events and activities, receptions and previews. Of course, the Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission operating exclusively for charitable and educational purposes as a sub-group of a publicly sup­ported institution, enjoys tax-exempt status.

In addition to promoting a wider understanding and keener appreciation or Pennsylvania’s exciting history. The Friends will actively participate in a number of highly rewarding and highly visible projects, such as the estab­lishment of an urgently needed conservation facility for the protection and preservation of endangered artifacts and fine an works. The Friends will encourage private and public support for the restoration of important American historic properties, including the Northumber­land home or Dr. Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), famous for his discovery of oxygen; the Flagship Niagara on the shore or Lake Eric; the early Cornwall Iron Furnace in Lebanon County; and the original Harmonist structures comprising Old Economy Village in Ambridge.

Other projects identified as priorities for the Friends are the restoration of famous art works such as Peter F. Rothermel’s impressive oil painting, The Battle of Gettysburg, which serves as the magnificent centerpiece of the State Museum’s military history exhibit. and the construction of an expansive train shed to house the roll­ing stock of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg. Under the auspices of the Friends of the Penn­sylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Com­mission can continue redeveloping and restoring Graeme Park near Horsham; the Delaware County complex, con­sisting of Old Chester Courthouse, Governor Printz Park, and the Morton Homestead; and our other historic sites and museums. The possibilities for the Friends are limitless but we need the support and commitment of Pennsylvanians who realize the value of preserving our past for the future. Can we call you Friend?

If you have ever thought seriously about your personal contribution for posterity, consider becoming a Friend. Think of your membership helping to promote and share a wider and more thorough understanding and apprecia­tion of local, state and national history. What greater gift could you possibly bestow on future generations than the legacies of art, culture, tradition and civilization span­ning more than three hundred years.

It is not How we leave our Children, but What we leave them. – William Penn

Readers of Pennsylvania Heritage are invited to continue and expand upon their already demonstrated Friendship to the Commission by joining the Friends. If you are interested, send $100 for a charter membership or $35 for a family mem­bership to Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Mu­seum Commission, P.O. Box 11466, Harrisburg 17108. We welcome your interest in and support of this most exciting initiative.

Larry E. Tise