From the Executive Director

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...
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From the Executive Director

People often think of history as events in the distant past, so it’s perhaps natural that visitors to our PHMC sites look for objects from Pennsylvania’s earliest historic periods. Our collections do not disappoint. If you wander through The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, you’ll find fluted projectile points from the Shoop archaeological site in Dauphin County that date to the last...
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From the Executive Director

The Year of the Woman. How many times have we heard that? 1975. 1992. 2018. Yet, this year is a momentous one for Pennsylvania women. June 24, 2019, marks the 100th anniversary of the commonwealth’s ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment, which would give women the right to vote, was adopted on August 18, 1920, making this a full year of celebration....
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From the Executive Director

Spring is field trip season here at the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Each year, we welcome approximately 90,000 schoolchildren to our museums and historic sites, with most of them visiting between March and June, when classroom schedules have a little more flexibility and teachers are anxious to help students burn off a little of their spring fever. Many of the students who...
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From the Executive Director

One of the things I love best about being executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission is sharing our commonwealth’s history with other Pennsylvanians. Although this letter is appearing in the winter issue of Pennsylvania Heritage, I am writing it on one of the hottest days of 2018. Earlier today, I had just come out of a series of meetings related to agency work...
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From the Executive Director

With the arrival of fall, you can find festivals everywhere in Pennsylvania. Celebrations of harvest range from the National Apple Harvest Festival in Arendtsville, Adams County, and the Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, Chester County, to old-country inspired Oktoberfests from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. Many are established traditions with local origins — Stahlstown in Westmoreland County...
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From the Executive Director

As the state’s history agency, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission holds historic objects and documents in trust for the people of Pennsylvania. The breadth of these collections is staggering. Within the Pennsylvania State Archives, we preserve some of the oldest documents in the state, such as William Penn’s 1681 Charter, the 1682 Great Law of Pennsylvania, and 33 deeds starting...
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From the Executive Director

Why do we tell stories? And why do we read them? Of course, they may be interesting, but how do they inform our lives today? Within this issue of Pennsylvania Heritage, you will find stories illustrating the best of human spirit — determination, curiosity, resourcefulness, bravery, loyalty and generosity. The Pennsylvanians featured in this issue — Charles Willson Peale, the Pennsylvania...
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From the Executive Director

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...
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From the Executive Director

For almost six years it has been my privilege and honor to serve as the executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC). This July I will complete my 50th year of public service as an educator, historian, museum director and preservationist. I can think of no better way to spend a life than in promoting and protecting America’s history and culture. It is very...
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