Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation

The Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation (PHF) is a non-profit partner of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC),[1] the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Established in 1983 to support the work of the PHMC in the preservation of Pennsylvania's history, the PHF is governed by a 15-member, volunteer board of directors,[2][3][4] and operated on a day-to-day basis by two paid staff members who participate in administrative, community engagement, charitable giving and/or grants management activities.

Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation
PredecessorFriends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Formation1983; 40 years ago (1983)
PurposeSupporting the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
  • Commonwealth Keystone Building
    400 North Street
    Harrisburg, PA 17120-0211
    (717) 787-2407
ProductsPennsylvania Heritage magazine
FieldsHistory and historic preservation
Mary M. Hull
Special Projects Coordinator
Jodie Dodson


Initially launched with 14 members as the Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation was officially established in 1983, and provided grants management, membership coordination, and program direction services to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), as well as assistance with retail operations in order to facilitate the work of PHMC archivists, historians, preservationists, and other staff in safeguarding 237 million documents and other archival items, 5 million objects, and 24 historic sites statewide, thereby ensuring access to the state's rich heritage for generations of present-day and future Pennsylvanians. The PHF also helped to improve awareness of and access to Pennsylvania heritage items for educators and students statewide through its early 21st century support of the PHMC's Teaching American History initiative.[5]

In November 2018, the PHF was awarded a grant of $19,567 by the U.S. National Archives under its Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives grant program to "support the work of the Pennsylvania State Historical Records Advisory Board, including the annual Archives and Records Management Seminar, the development of six to eight YouTube videos designed to increase public support for and awareness of historical records programs, creating and distributing 10,000 bookmarks advocating for the importance of preserving electronic records, and the Archives Without Tears (AWOT) workshops, which will be offered throughout the state."[6] Prior to this, the PHF had also received National Archives funding in 2013 and 2014 for support of its Archives Without Tears workshops.[7]

According to the PHF's website, the foundation had a roster of more than 2,000 members as of early 2019. Its staff continue to render assistance to PHMC personnel via community engagement, charitable giving and grants management,[8] and member support assistance, and are also active in supporting the History Relevance Campaign,[9] a nationwide initiative which has been bringing together public history professionals across America since 2012 to raise awareness about the ways in which the study and practice of history contributes to a stronger and more engaged citizenry.[10]

In 2019, the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation continued its collaboration with the State Museum of Pennsylvania on the state's annual art exhibition, "Art of the State." Operating for the 52nd year, the exhibition featured current work by, and awarded cash prizes to, 103 emerging and established artists from 35 Pennsylvania counties working in a variety of media, including painting, paper, photography, and sculpture.[11]

Mission StatementEdit

The mission statement as presented on the PHF's website reads as follows:[12]

"The Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation is the non-profit partner of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Governed by a volunteer board, PHF helps preserve the Commonwealth’s rich heritage through charitable funding, membership, grant management, and community engagement."


The PHF publishes Pennsylvania Heritage® magazine four times per year in partnership with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). According to the organization's website, "The magazine is intended to introduce readers to the Keystone State’s rich culture and historic legacy, to educate them on the value of preserving that legacy, and to entertain and involve them in such a way as to ensure that Pennsylvania’s past has a future."[13][14][15][16] In its 2021 Annual Report, PHMC noted that Pennsylvania Heritage was in its 47th year of publication.[17]

PHF personnel have also penned articles for outside scholarly publications, including Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies.[18]


  1. ^ "State Museum of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation invite artists to enter Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2019 Juried Exhibition." Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Free Press, February 6, 2019.
  2. ^ "Gene Barr" (profile). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, retrieved online February 14, 2019.
  3. ^ "Donna L. Fisher, Partner" (profile). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pepper Hamilton LLP, retrieved online February 14, 2019.
  4. ^ "Alison T. Young," in "Who's Next in Politics: 19 young people making a difference in Philly." Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Billy Penn, November 22, 2016.
  5. ^ "Mission & History." Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, retrieved online February 14, 2019.
  6. ^ "National Archives Grants - November 2018: Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives". Washington, D.C.: National Historical Publications & Records Commission, National Archives, November 2018 (retrieved online February 14, 2019).
  7. ^ "Popular Archives Without Tears Workshop Comes to Drake Well Museum," in Erie Yesterday. Erie, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Erie County, May 13, 2014.
  8. ^ "Bykofsky, Stu. "Dying to do the right thing, he gets a tax bill." Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Inquirer, August 16, 2018.
  9. ^ "Value of History." Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, retrieved online February 14, 2019.
  10. ^ Grove, Tim. "What is the 'History Relevance Campaign?'" Indianapolis, Indiana: National Council of Public History, October 25, 2013.
  11. ^ George, Joseph and Barrie Ann. "Art: 'Art of the State' celebrates Pennsylvania arts." Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Sentinel, July 17, 2019.
  12. ^ "Our Mission." Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, retrieved online February 14, 2019.
  13. ^ "Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine." Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, retrieved online February 14, 2019.
  14. ^ Keith, Patt. "'Streamliner': Altoonan pens story of industrial designer Raymond Loewy." Altoona, Pennsylvania: Altoona Mirror, November 18, 2018.
  15. ^ Weeks, Linton. "The Sad, Happy Life of Harry Whittier Frees." Washington, D.C.: NPR, January 6, 2016.
  16. ^ Litvak, Anya. "Natural gas, coal have defined Pittsburgh's history." Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 17, 2014.
  17. ^ "Preserving and Sharing History for All Pennsylvanians: Annual Report, 2020-2021." Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
  18. ^ Stetler, Christina M. "The 1918 Spanish Influenza: Three Months of Horror in Philadelphia," in Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Vol. 84, No. 4, pp. 462-487. University Park, Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, Autumn 2017.

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