From the Executive Director

Those who appreciate the beauty, simplicity and material honesty of Midcentury Modern architecture know, as with every style, there are good and bad examples, but only a few works are truly exemplary. Fortunately for PHMC, The State Museum and Archives Complex in Harrisburg is an exemplary work of Midcentury Modern design. In fact, in August, the complex was listed in the National Register of...
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From the Executive Director

In the long history of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission many knowledgeable historians, curators, archivists and writers have contributed to our greater understanding of Pennsylvania’s rich and diverse history and natural history. Few have brought to the task a greater breadth of knowledge about Pennsylvania than Michael J. O’Malley III, who served as the editor of Pennsylvania...
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Executive Director’s Letter

On Wednesday, March 19, Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan M. Corbett unveiled a portrait of Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671–1726) to hang in the Governor’s Office in the State Capitol with the Commonwealth’s early leaders and governors. This corrects an omission dating to the original furnishing of the Capitol in 1906. It also reflects the increasing scholarship about the proprietor’s...
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Executive Director’s Letter

In January I enjoyed my first opportunity to spend several hours modestly researching at the Pennsylvania State Archives. I donned white cotton gloves and searched through many boxes of postcards looking for images that would reveal to our visitors the Commonwealth’s rich diversity with minimal need for words or labels. This collection, Manuscript Group 213, spanning from the 19th century to the...
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Executive Director’s Letter

To this day I can distinctly remember the palpable excitement I felt as a child going up to the attic with my grandmother to explore all the wonderful old treasures secreted there. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and The State Museum of Pennsylvania have recently initiated a project to rediscover and examine the Commonwealth’s hidden gems that have long been stored away....
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Executive Director’s Letter

Anniversaries offer opportunities for us to collectively consider our past, and reflecting on the past inevitably helps us to consider the future. This fall at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) we are reflecting on two national anniversaries. The first is the nation’s commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. It’s an often overlooked conflict and one that’s...
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Executive Director’s Letter

In several months we will celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), organized in Philadelphia as the Pennsylvania Historical Commission on March 21, 1914. As I reviewed selected PHMC highlights of the timeline appearing in this edition (“PHMC Celebrates A Century of Service”), I was immediately struck by two themes. The first is the...
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Executive Director’s Letter

Historians frequently contend that each generation rewrites the record of the past. It’s rarely because they think early versions are incorrect or full of errors, though. Sometimes it is because new sources or records have come to light that change our understanding of events and individuals. But most often it’s because each generation looks to the past with a different set of questions that beg...
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Executive Director’s Letter

The commemoration of historical events and anniversaries is one of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s legislated responsibilities. The year 2013 will provide a number of opportunities to do so. For each of us these anniversaries provide a doorway to discovering more about Pennsylvania’s legacies. This year three notable anniversaries relate to the American Civil War. In January...
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Executive Director’s Letter

When Governor Tom Corbett and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) Chair Andy Masich approached me about leading the agency, I found it impossible to say no. Admittedly, they are both persuasive salesmen, but it is PHMC that proved irresistible. The Commission has long been viewed as a national leader and innovator, widely respected for the scope and quality of its services and...
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