Executive Director’s Message

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

It is always a special pleasure to report good and encour­aging news. Friends and long­time acquaintances of the Commission will, we hope, take heart at the vast number of new opportunities and program developments at the Commission. Since they are numerous, I trust our readers will excuse this serial listing:

1. Flagship Niagara. After years of slow deterioration at its present above-ground mooring in Erie, we have launched an effort to restore the flagship and place it back in the water at a new, protected site. This Com­mission initiative has led to the conceptualization and plan­ning of a major new develop­ment, “The Niagara Place Waterfront Complex,” which will bring tens of millions of dollars in investments and bene­fits to the city. Governor Dick Thornburgh and the General Assembly have authorized a capital project of $1 million for the restoration and relocation.

2. Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. The Commission has collected one of the larg­est collections of historic railroad rolling stock in America at Strasburg. Unfortunately, much of it has remained out of doors and subject to the effects of climate. With a capital appropriation of $625,000, we can now begin the planning and construction of the first of two sets of shed covers to protect the equipment. We hope to raise an additional $500,000 from the private sector to construct the second set of sheds.

3. Oral History. The Com­mission’s oral history program received a major boost when $150,000 of our budget was committed to begin an extensive documentary project on our General Assembly. The project plans for the collection of archival records and biographi­cal data on legislators, as well as interviews with retir­ing and retired members.

4. Local History Mini­-Grants. The General Assembly appropriated $30,000 to provide mini-grants of $750 to $1,000 to historians and local historical societies for specific research, exhibition and publication projects.

5. Local Government Records Survey. With a grant of $213,539 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the PHMC has had nine archivists working in county offices and courthouses surveying the condition of local government historical records. Results of this two-year project will enable us to design a perma­nent program to assist local governments in dealing with their historical and non­-current records.

6. Commonwealth Con­servation Center. With appro­priations from the General Assembly and an additional $100,000 from PHMC income, we are developing a com­prehensive conservation facility, scheduled to be fully opera­tional in early 1985. The Commission is cooperating with the Capital Preservation Committee to conserve the 300 battle flags in the state capitol.

All of these and other initiatives offer the citizens of the Commonwealth new opportunities. I trust that all who have a particular interest in any of the projects out­lined above will be able to take advantage of and personally benefit from our latest efforts.

Larry E. Tise
Executive Director