Executive Director’s Message

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

I am pleased that the diligent staff of the Pennsyl­vania Historical and Museum Commission has worked long and hard to develop and implement an award-winning statewide public history and cultural program for the Commonwealth of Pennsyl­vania. We have all worked patiently to build and, where necessary, rebuild the Commission’s varied programs to better serve both residents and visitors. It appears that several of the well-conceived programs may well become models for other organizations and institutions throughout the nation! And we’ve captured a few presti­gious awards in the process.

Pennsylvania Heritage has been recognized in its brilliant and colorful new format as one of the outstanding magazines being published by a cultural institution. Awards of merit for the spring and summer 1984 editions were recently presented by the American Association of Museums (AAM) through its annual Museums Publication Competition. Only four entries in the national competition were given awards of merit and of these Pennsylvania Heritage garnered two! The magazine was joined in this category by the publica­tions of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Illinois Historical Society, Chicago.

Another popular Commis­sion program that is generat­ing awards on the national level is National History Day. A program encouraging students in grades sixth through twelfth to enter the annual competition with papers, projects, perfor­mances or media presenta­tions, the National History Day competitions are held on the local, regional and state levels and involve thousands of students, teachers and history professionals each year! During the national competition this year, Pennsyl­vania students received more awards than those from any of the forty-five participating states. Of the twenty-four statewide competition winners entered in the national contest, nine were included in the final round and four received top national awards. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has been the prime sponsor of History Day in Pennsylvania since its inception six years ago and it is heartening to know that, not only are our students awards winners, but they are vitally interested in our great and rich heritage. Their awards reflect great dedication.

As executive director of the Commonwealth’s official history agency, it becomes my special pleasure to bask in the glory of the hard work and dedication of many outstand­ing members of our staff. But it is also a joy to see the fruits of our joint labors.

Many Pennsylvanians have let me know how much they enjoy the new contents and format of Pennsylvania Heritage. By the’ same token, I cannot fully share with these words the joy I feel each year in seeing the handiwork, pride and excitement of those students who participate in History Day. Both programs have helped us all learn more about the great people, events and values of our common history. It is truly an honor to serve as a public historian and witness all these things come to pass.

Larry E. Tise
Executive Director