PHMC Highlights presents stories and information about PHMC programs, events, exhibits and activities.

Aweekend historical sewing workshop at the Somerset Historical Center in February taught participants how to create hand-sewn, eighteenth-century pockets for period clothing. Gail Smith, assistant curator, and volunteer Robin Cordek, helped plan the event and assisted participants. Curator Carrie Blough and her mother, local seamstress Giselle Blough, served as workshop instructors.


Louis M. Waddell, PhD, historian and associate editor of Pennsylvania Heritage, has written new day-by-day Pennsylvania history stories for the PHMC Web site.


Drake Well Museum in Titusville, Venango County, led by site administrator Barbara T. Zolli, and the Friends of Drake Well have raised nearly one million dollars to augment the current capital project for building renovations and new exhibits.


Each March the PHMC commemorates the anniversary of the granting of the charter for Pennsylvania by England’s King Charles II to William Penn in 1681. This year’s theme encourages the public to consider holding family reunions at the historic sites and museums along the PHMC’s popular Pennsylvania Trail of History. One of the Charter Week events, presented by the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum and the Scranton Iron Furnaces, was “Sharing Gifts of Heritage,” led by museum educator Ruth Cummings.


The American Sail Training Association, Newport, Rhode Island, named Captain Walter P. Rybka, administrator of the Erie Maritime Museum, Sail Trainer of the Year. The museum’s centerpiece, the U.S. Brig Niagara, is inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard as a sailing school vessel. Individuals can enroll in summer programs, including a three-week seamanship training course. The museum is also expanding its schedule of day sails.


The PHMC and the Pennsylvania Heritage Society welcomed nearly three dozen Penn Ambassadors to Harrisburg for Charter Week, held annually in March to celebrate the founding of Pennsylvania. Through the ambassador program, state legislators select citizens from their districts to participate in a full day of informative briefings and behind-the-scenes tours of the Pennsylvania State Archives and The State Museum of Pennsylvania. This year’s tour featured a visit to the PHMC’s Publications and Sales Division. Ted R. Walke, division chief, and staff members made informal presentations about the agency’s publications program, Pennsylvania Heritage, and the State Bookstore. Michael J. O’Malley III, editor of Pennsylvania Heritage, meets with Roseanne Bell of Washington Crossing, Bucks County, named an ambassador by State Representative Scott A. Petri, one of the newest members of the Commission.


The thirtieth annual Conference on Black History in Pennsylvania was held in mid-April at Lincoln University. Karen James of the PHMC’s Bureau of Archives and History (BAH) served as the agency’s key organizer. PHMC staff members attending the event included Karen L. Fisher, personnel analyst, and Jane L. Peyton, chief of personnel services. A keynote speech by Martin Kilson, noted African American scholar and Harvard University professor emeritus, and the dedication of a state historical marker commemorating Whittier C. Atkinson in Coatesville, Chester County, highlighted the conference. In memory of his father, Atkinson — the first African American president of the Chester County Medical Society — founded, in 1936, the Clement Atkinson Memorial Hospital, where the marker is located.