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

You may have noticed some changes to the masthead in Pennsylvania Heritage. That is because in July Governor Tom Wolf appointed five new citizen members to the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC), as well as a new chair.

Fourteen commissioners play a vital role in the governance of PHMC, but you may be unaware of what they do or how they are chosen. The composition of the commission is defined in the Pennsylvania History Code as passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Four commissioners are legislators – two senators and two representatives appointed by the leadership of their respective parties – and one is the secretary of education. Nine are citizens appointed by the governor who serve until they are replaced.

Serving as a commissioner is much more than an honorary position. Commissioners advocate and promote PHMC and its many programs. They approve all Pennsylvania Historical Markers, museum and preservation grants, and various board appointments. They establish and approve PHMC policies. They contribute to and approve the strategic plan. They represent PHMC at public events, including historical marker dedications, public meetings and special events at historic sites and museums.

In addition, the commissioners hire, support and supervise the executive director, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank the outstanding commissioners who have just completed their service. They are John A. Barbour of Pittsburgh, Karen Dougherty Buchholz of Philadelphia, Ann Moran of Lewisburg, Richard M. Sand of Philadelphia, Jean Craige Pepper Victor of Erie and Susan M. Corbett, former first lady of Pennsylvania. I thank them for their steady support, sound advice and strong leadership. PHMC benefited greatly from their combined contributions.

I also want to thank Andrew E. Masich, president and CEO of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, for his service as chair of the commission over the past five years. His energy, enthusiasm and dedication set a high example for all of us. Dr. Masich will continue to serve on the commission along with William V. Lewis Jr. of Pittston and Frederick C. Powell of Mechanicsburg.

PHMC’s new chair is Nancy Moses of Philadelphia. A native of Pittsburgh, Nancy brings to the commission a wealth of museum and nonprofit experience as a consultant, author and former museum director. She is joined by new commission members Ophelia Chambliss of York, Robert Savakinus of Carbondale, David Schuyler of Lancaster, Kenneth Turner of Ellwood City and Phillip Zimmerman of Lancaster. Collectively they offer a broad range of knowledge and experience in history, art, preservation, archives and museums. As you meet our commissioners at various events I hope you will take the opportunity to introduce yourself and thank them for their participation and service as PHMC commissioners.

James M. Vaughan
Executive Director