Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

Down Memory Lane

Thanks for the fascinating article on the WPA models [“‘Art with a Purpose’: Pennsylvania’s Museum Extension Project, 1935–1943,” by Curtis Miner, Spring 2008]. When I was a kid – more than forty years ago – I helped around our grade school in a little community near Chicago. I recall seeing several architectural models in a storeroom, which I’m sure must have been produced by the WPA. One model was my very favorite — it reminded me of a castle in England. Oh, how I coveted that castle! I’d lie awake at night thinking of that model and the battles I could mount against it with my toy soldiers and horses. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

Brian Farber
Reading, Pa.

I enjoyed Curtis Miner’s article about Pennsylvania’s Museum Extension Project (MEP). Thanks for including my photographs of objects in the Shippensburg University Archives. I want to make a slight correction and an addition to “Travel Tips” accompanying the article.

We do have most of our MEP models available for viewing on the upper level of the university’s Lehman Library, and there is also a display of models and plaques in our Franklin Science Center. We plan to add images of our posters and lantern slides. We are taking photographs of the MEP collection at the Shippensburg Historical Society so it can also mount an online exhibit as well. Thanks for including Shippensburg University Archives in your fine magazine!

Karen Daniel
Shippensburg, Pa.

Karen Daniel is archives and special collections librarian for Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.


Forty Fort

As chairwoman of the Forty Fort Meeting House Preservation Committee, I write to thank you and all of those involved in publishing the brilliant article about our treasured landmark [“Forty Fort Meeting House: The Architecture of a Union” by Vance Packard, Winter 2008]. We are grateful for the powerful exposure this article provides. Our efforts to “preserve, restore, and maintain” this historic site are the result of the ongoing commitment of many people, not the least of whom is Vance Packard, who spends countless volunteer hours working toward the completion of many projects related to our program. We are grateful for his expertise and generous monetary commitment to historic preservation.

I would like to take this opportunity to update information contained in the article. The building’s foundation had to be completely replaced, save for four corner stones. The three-foot foundation needed to be replaced with an eight-foot basement with concrete floor. This was determined by a study done by structural engineers. The first phase of the project has cost in excess of $198,000. Our original goal was to raise $300,000, with the hope of these funds covering all of the necessary restoration work identified by the study completed by John Milner Architects, Inc., in 2003. This, of course, will not be the case. We are now in the process of raising funds to cover an estimated $177,000 to continue our project. We do indeed hope to establish an endowment. However, it is for the completion of the present restoration project that we continue to seek funds. All of those who involve themselves in historic preservation know only too well the complexities of estimates and real costs. We send our sincere appreciation for the interest and support of PHMC toward this cherished landmark.

Lillian D. Smith
Dallas, Pa.