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

Being a gardener, I can’t help thinking of winter as an ideal season for planning. Shorter days bring dreams of gardens that will blossom in the spring, and the new year offers an ideal opportunity for both reflection and preparing for upcoming projects. This winter, at the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, we are also planning for the future with several exciting initiatives.

In 2020 we will be moving forward with our new Pennsylvania State Archives building in Harrisburg. This facility will provide a state-of-the-art storage environment for the commonwealth’s most important historic documents. It also will support PHMC’s continued digitization efforts, allowing us to bring ever-increasing numbers of documents directly online to all Pennsylvanians, wherever they may be. For our new neighbors and for those who choose to continue to travel to the city for on-site research, the new archives facility will be a welcoming place to discover Pennsylvania history.

In December, we are beginning a master-planning effort at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. This project will take a holistic look at how we serve the public and share the historic objects we hold at the museum. We will examine everything from visitor amenities and experiences to the stories we tell and the representation of diverse voices in our exhibits and programs. The plan will result in a museum that promotes a broad understanding of Pennsylvania history in a vibrant, inclusive and accessible environment. We will be holding stakeholder engagement and listening sessions across the state to hear about the history that matters to you, so stay tuned.

Another major initiative is our PA-SHARE project. With this effort, we will be digitizing all the documents held by the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, including archaeological and aboveground survey reports, historic and archaeological resource forms, National Register of Historic Places nominations, and tax credit applications, making them more widely available. PA-SHARE will also be a modernized and efficient platform for interaction with the preservation office, streamlining the review process for those who are engaged with us there.

We are excited about these big plans for the coming year and we hope to see you at our sites and events across the state in 2020.

Andrea Lowery
Executive Director, PHMC