From the Executive Director

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

I am thrilled to call myself a Pennsylvanian. I have lived in states up and down the East Coast, in the Midwest and overseas, but here in Pennsylvania I really feel like I am home. A resident for just over a decade . . . how can that be?

Pennsylvania is an easy place to belong. It reflects the complete American experience, from Native American settlement to the tech boom of today. The state’s varied geographies and rich natural resources created a wealth of landscapes and fueled the nation’s growth. You can find it all here — founding principles of the nation, early gateway to the West, haven of religious tolerance, home to immigrants and refugees, struggles for freedom, equality and dignity.

Despite being best known for its largest cities — Pittsburgh and Philadelphia — Pennsylvania is equally a commonwealth made up of small communities with strong identities. The state’s history illustrates the best of American traits — adventurousness, bravery, compassion, grit, open-mindedness and inventiveness.

As keeper of Pennsylvania’s history, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission holds the treasures of the commonwealth in trust for all its people. We help preserve important natural and cultural resources across the state so that communities can continue to appreciate their history and use that knowledge to shape their future. And we tell stories about the many faces of Pennsylvania so that people can better understand their place in the world and the human experience.

Pennsylvania Heritage magazine is part of that, resurrecting history and telling stories so that we can see both our individuality and the ties that bind us together, finding commonalities in what can seem like an increasingly divided world. History gives us the opportunity to see challenges that have arisen in the past, understand how we have solved difficulties with resourcefulness and courage, and identify a future we want for our children and grandchildren.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Pennsylvania stories, and I invite you to return to us often.

Andrea W. Lowery
Executive Director, PHMC