Executive Director’s Message

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

Much to my satisfaction, but also with profound gratitude for many hardworking members of our staff, the confidence of the Commission and the volunteered services of many citizens of Pennsylvania, the PHMC property placement pro­gram is moving toward an extremely successful conclusion. We are closing in on establishing the proper future uses for the last of the thirty-one properties officially designated by the Com­mission last December for inclusion in the placement program. Readers of Pennsylvania Heritage will recall that the place­ment program was devised as a strategy to return a number of Commission properties and museums, which have for many years been without full-time staffs, to full and productive uses, either under management agreements with local historical organizations or under lease agreements with individuals or groups from the private sector.

In order to keep readers and friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission abreast of those groups who have already agreed to manage sites and museums with some funding assistance from the Commission, there follows a list of properties currently under management arrangements:

David Bradford House – Bradford House Historical Association
Curtin Village – Roland Curtin Foundation
Nathan Denison House – Friends of the Denison House
Fort Augusta – Northumberland County Historical Society
Fort LeBoeuf (Museum) – Edinboro State College
Fort Loudon – Fort Loudon Historical Society
French Azilum – French Azilum, Inc.
Robert Fulton Birthplace – Southern Lancaster County Historical Society
The Highlands – The Highland Historical Society
Judson House – Waterford Historical Society
McCoy House – Mifflin County Historical Society
Old Brown’s Mill School – The Franklin County Retired Public School Employees Association
Old Mill Village – Old Mill Village Associates
Peace Church – Friends of Peace Church
Searight’s Tollhouse – Uniontown Area Historical Society
Tuscarora Academy – Juniata County Historical Society
Warrior Run Church – Warrior Run – Fort Freeland Heritage Society

In addition, a number of properties are currently under lease arrangements to be used for a variety of purposes, including some utilization as agricultural lands:

Cashier’s House – Erie County Historical Society
Old Custom House – Erie Art Center
John Brown House – American Cancer Society
Johnston Tavern – Raymond Liposky
Sodom Schoolhouse – Gail M. Dunlop

Although this aggressive property placement program to revitalize many of our under-utilized properties is not without its costs, the plan has already demonstrated that it will result in both direct and indirect savings for the Commission and, in turn, the Commonwealth. Moreover, it will enable the Com­mission to concentrate its efforts on other programs also in need of revitalization and allow us to achieve the highest degree of efficiency and excellence possible.

For the success of the placement program to date, a great deal of credit must go to our property placement officer, Frank Schmidt, and to the external committee of historians who conducted the initial evaluation only twelve months ago.

Larry E. Tise