From the Executive Director

For almost six years it has been my privilege and honor to serve as the executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC). This July I will complete my 50th year of public service as an educator, historian, museum director and preservationist. I can think of no better way to spend a life than in promoting and protecting America’s history and culture. It is very...
read more

From the Executive Director

As a trained historian who has devoted his life to the preservation and teaching of American history, I am embarrassed to admit how little I knew about my own family’s history—only a few bits and pieces passed down from my parents. I was told that our family settled in the old Northwest Territory before Ohio became a state in 1803 and that some of my ancestors came from Pennsylvania. I...
read more

From the Executive Director

You may have noticed some changes to the masthead in Pennsylvania Heritage. That is because in July Governor Tom Wolf appointed five new citizen members to the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC), as well as a new chair. Fourteen commissioners play a vital role in the governance of PHMC, but you may be unaware of what they do or how they are chosen. The composition of the...
read more

From the Executive Director

Wars should never be celebrated, but they must be remembered and commemorated. December 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the event that brought the United States into World War II, and in April 2017 the centennial of America’s entry into the Great War, later to be known as World War I, begins. With this issue of Pennsylvania Heritage, the Pennsylvania Historical...
read more

From the Executive Director

Over the past few months I have been spending time with visitors in the new Pennsylvania Icons exhibit at The State Museum of Pennsylvania (see “Pennsylvania Icons: State Treasures Telling the Story of the Commonwealth,” Winter 2016). There is a small but very powerful section of the exhibit entitled “Pennsylvania and the Nation.” It is a dramatic reminder of the close connection between...
read more

From the Executive Director

For many of us, spring is the traditional season to think about nature and the great outdoors, but here at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), we think about it all year long. It’s hard to separate Pennsylvania’s history from its natural history; in fact, PHMC is officially charged with “the conservation of Pennsylvania’s historic and natural...
read more

From the Executive Director

Imagine a Pennsylvania without historic buildings and districts. The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, federal legislation that has dramatically and positively impacted almost every community in the state. Today we take preservation for granted, but that wasn’t always the case. In post-World War II America it was easy to equate progress with concepts...
read more

From the Executive Director

Historical geography is the study of how geology, landforms and waterways have shaped the human experience. Is there a better place to demonstrate the power of geography in molding our history than in Pennsylvania? Our unique location linking the original 13 colonies in fact is how we came to be known as the Keystone State. But our history has been defined by more than location. It’s also been...
read more

From the Executive Director

On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2015, N.C. Wyeth’s 1913 painting The Wreck of the “Covenant” was exhibited at The State Museum of Pennsylvania for the first time in 50 years. In 1965 it had been featured in the museum’s opening show, N.C. Wyeth and the Brandywine Tradition, at the dedication, and now it was being loaned to us again by the Brandywine River Museum for another very special...
read more

From the Executive Director

Throughout 2015 the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of The State Museum and Archives Complex in Harrisburg, Dauphin County. As you might expect, we will do some looking back with a full schedule of programs and events, changing exhibits, and special articles in Pennsylvania Heritage to mark this important milestone. But an anniversary...
read more