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

This issue of Pennsylvania Heritage showcases star players from Pennsylvania – Christy Mathewson, whose prowess shone on the baseball diamond, and the Barrymores of Philadelphia, whose stage and screen performances delighted generations of audiences. David Lembeck’s article on New Deal murals in Pennsylvania focuses on artists and their works for post offices under the auspices of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts. Philadelphia artist George Biddle suggested the idea of installing art in federal buildings and Pennsylvania received eighty-eight of the twelve hundred commissions.

David’s article continues a series of projects that underscore PHMC’s annual theme for 2008 marking the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal. His article is a preview of an exhibit on post office murals opening in November at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Post office murals will also be the subject of a Pennsylvania Heritage Society® tour this autumn, which will enable participants to see them in the context of the main streets and small towns that hallmarked Pennsylvania in the 1930s.

Visit The State Museum this summer and savor recent works by some of the Keystone State’s most talented artists selected for exhibit in “Art of the State®: Pennsylvania 2008.” Radius, the museum shop operated in partnership with Harrisburg Area Community College, offers quality Pennsylvania crafts at affordable prices.

I invite you to reduce your carbon footprint by exploring the Pennsylvania Trails of History close to home this summer — and PHMC’s Web site is a great place to start. Enjoy the Bark Peelers’ Convention at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Potter County on July 5–6 and learn how lumberjacks stripped logs before floating them downriver to sawmills. It’s a great reason to visit the “wilds” of the northern tier and discover the distinctive lumber towns along U.S. Route 6. For the 250th anniversary of Pittsburgh, see the improvements underway at Point State Park and learn about the city’s founding at the Fort Pitt Museum. You can begin by previewing a newly released DVD featuring PHMC’s Military History Trail. Our online bookstore provides a new way to shop for a growing selection of titles on history, culture, and art. It’s also a convenient way to renew or upgrade your Pennsylvania Heritage Society membership.

Whatever your interest, Pennsylvania offers fascinating places to explore. This season presents a great opportunity to get to know the people, places, and events that make the Commonwealth a great destination and an even greater place to live. With the spiraling price of gasoline, the Pennsylvania Trails of History are a remarkable value. There’s never been a better time to immerse yourself in your history.

Barbara Franco
Executive Director, PHMC