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

The continuing success of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) is the result of the high level of public participation and support for history by the commonwealth’s citizens. Many of PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History destinations remain open because of dedicated volunteers and their willingness to take on unprecedented levels of responsibility for these treasured historic sites and museums.

The Pennsylvania Heritage Society (PHS), supported by growing numbers of new members, has assumed additional responsibilities for fundraising and project management for PHMC’s statewide initiatives and programs. these include management of the Pennsylvania Civil War 150 website, product development, and the Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show now touring the state. Participation in the Road Show involves host organizations, local volunteers, and attendees who have added their stories and created online scrapbooks. Less than halfway through the 2011 tour, more than twenty-two thousand visitors toured the Road Show at eleven stops, adding more than 4,000 scrapbook photographs and nearly 250 videos.

The State Museum store has reopened under the auspices of PHS and merchandising manager Ann Parrish Barnett in a newly refurbished and enlarged space. A new, consolidated online store,, is offering books, Civil War-related merchandise, and selected items representing the state Museum and our historic sites and museums, thanks to the leadership of PHS.

The State Museum store will participate in the annual Holiday Marketplace on Thursday and Friday, November 17–18, in the Commonwealth Keystone Building, adjacent to the State Museum. The popular event kicks off the holiday season and brings to one location many unusual gifts, including reproductions, old-fashioned and regional delicacies, and artworks offered by our historic sites and museums and other participating state programs.

PHMC welcomes new commissioners appointed by Governor Tom Corbett. These individuals bring passion and commitment to the mission of PHMC and its responsibilities for history and museums in Pennsylvania. Our new commissioners are John a. Barbour, Mars; Karen Dougherty Bucholz, Flourtown; First Lady Susan M. Corbett, Harrisburg; William V. Lewis Jr., Pittston; Jean Craige Pepper Victor, Erie; and Frederick C. Powell, Mechanicsburg. Andrew E. Masich, Pittsburgh, Ann Moran, Lewisburg, and Richard M. Sand, Laverock, await senate confirmation.

PHS also welcomes new board members J. Mickey Rowley, Philadelphia, newly elected president, and Franklin L. Kury Esq., Harrisburg. Mickey, who served as deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Economic and Community Development, heading up the Pennsylvania Tourism office, is committed to bringing his considerable experience in tourism and marketing at the state and national levels to PHS. He will be a tremendous asset to PHS in expanding membership and participation in historic sites and museums as visitors and supporters. Franklin, who possesses twenty-five years experience as a state official and who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and as a state senator, appreciates the importance of serving our diverse constituency.

PHMC’s Bureau for Historic Preservation (BHP) is working on the next five-year Preservation Plan for Pennsylvania, as required by the National Park Service as part of our state-federal partnership. In addition to surveys and completed listening sessions held throughout the commonwealth, BHP is asking Pennsylvanians to share photographs of their cherished historic places. through this campaign we hope to raise further awareness of the importance of preserving the Keystone State’s history and heritage and to compile a collection of photographs we can use to illustrate the Preservation Plan.

I invite you to support history through your participation as a volunteer, serving on a board, visiting historic sites and museums, attending programs, giving the gift of a PHS membership, purchasing gifts at museum shops, and making donations. Your participation will help make a difference.

Together we are preserving Pennsylvania’s legacy for generations to come.

Barbara Franco
Executive Director, PHMC