Executive Director’s Message

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

One of the most exciting developments for the Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission was the recent pledge of one hun­dred and ten thousand dollars from Mellon Bank to purchase a new tractor trailer for the agency’s Mobile Museum! One of the Commission’s most popular – and far-reaching programs – the Mobile Mu­seum carries our rich heritage to all parts of the Common­wealth. The new vehicle’s first traveling exhibit will commem­orate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.

The current Mobile Mu­seum, in operation since 1967, has logged more than one hundred thousand miles and has been visited by more than fifty thousand people each year. “Pennsylvania Lost, Pennsylvania Found,” the present historic preservation exhibit, will continue through December of this year.

Several years ago it became apparent that the Mobile Mu­seum was wearing and the tractor trailer would have to be replaced if the program was to continue. The newly orga­nized Friends undertook the replacement of the Mobile Museum as its first major fundraising project. And it has been the Friends’ most suc­cessful venture to date.

Mellon Bank, with more than three hundred offices throughout Pennsylvania, was approached. Much to every­one’s delight, the institution not only agreed to assist in the effort, but decided to fund the entire cost of purchasing and outfitting the new vehicle. In true community spirit, Charles H. Fletcher, senior vice presi­dent and head of the bank’s community affairs division, said: “Mellon Bank Corpora­tion is pleased to support this traveling museum, which carries important exhibits not only to metropolitan areas, but to small towns and areas where museums are not easily accessible.”

A wonderful and much­-needed educational tool, the Mobile Museum has enabled curators, historians and educa­tors to truly share the great history of this Commonwealth with the people of Pennsylva­nia. The museum, staffed by an educator of The State Mu­seum, offers a first-hand look at the Commonwealth’s signif­icant people and events. Originally scheduled to meet the needs of school groups, the museum has become ex­tremely popular with both Pennsylvania residents and visitors. In fact, it has served as the centerpiece at many community events, including fairs and festivals, dedications, house and walking tours, historic marker unveilings and anniversary celebrations.

Thanks to the generosity of Mellon Bank – which has reit­erated the Commonwealth’s tourism campaign slogan, “You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania” – the Pennsylva­nia Historical and Museum Commission, through the Mobile Museum, can continue educating and enlightening the vast audience scattered throughout our sixty-seven counties. While being a genu­ine “friend” to history, Mellon Bank has also helped the Com­mission in its much publicized role of “Making Sure Our Past Has a Future.”

Thank you, Mel1on Bank. Thank you, friend.

Larry E. Tise
Executive Director