August 4, 2021

In the Commonwealth

With lawmakers at work but not in session until September, we are in a season of preparation in Harrisburg. With some uncertainty about the rise in cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant in a number of counties, state officials are cautiously working on Pennsylvania's recovery while simultaneously discussing ways to stop the spread of the virus. Some counties have already issued guidance to return to wearing masks indoors no matter what your vaccination status is.

Of interest to museums, Senator Phillips-Hill (R-York) introduced Senate Bill 822, a bill providing guidance to museums and history organizations for collections, on July 20. PA Museums supports this bill, and we may suggest our members express their support for this when the timing is right in the legislative process.

The American Rescue Plan

Some funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will flow through the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and we will share announcements of that opportunity as the information becomes available.

We encourage you to contact your county commissioners or city officials because some relief funding will pass through local governments. Nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive the funds, but it will be up to local officials to decide how the funds are invested in recovery efforts. Please click here for more from the National Council of NonProfits.

Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Aug. 9-13

The American Alliance of Museums' annual Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Week is coming up, and connecting with elected officials is more important than ever. As the world adjusts to new realities and ways of doing business caused by COVID-19, federal, state, and local legislators are eager to connect with the constituents and communities they represent across all available platforms and venues. Read more.
Digital exhibitions can offer unprecedented access to museum collections that might never be seen otherwise except by those with physical access. This module will explore how to build an online exhibition and introduce open-source and free software tools available to create exhibition narratives and layouts for online display.
Here is the schedule for these upcoming FREE live webinars:
Intro Session: Get Inspired
August 5 at 2pm ET
Technical Workshop 1: Virtual Exhibitions - Strategies, Project Workflow and Efficient Design 
August 12 at 2pm ET
Technical Workshop 2: Web-Based Curatorial Approaches
August 19 at 2pm ET
Tech Workshop 3: Exhibition Design in Virtual Environments 
August 26 at 2pm ET

Vogue Magazine featured a new exhibit at Philadelphia's Mutter Museum.

WTOV visited the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

PhillyVoice announced the retirement of Timothy Rub from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the challenges of interpretation at The Museum of the American Revolution.

PA Museums' Accessibility Excellence Project Manager Jenny Angell talked to BCTV.

Hyperallergic featured the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Tim Pierce, and the Post-Gazette explored public feedback around the reinstallation of that museum's diorama, Lion Attacking a Dromedary.

GoErie covered planning for 2026 with America250PA.

Econsult Solutions and IndigoJLD are building a program to provide augmented funding and turnkey project development and execution, all with emphasis on best practices in the museum sector. Strategies identified are in support of museums’ strategic planning, risk management, and capital masterplans. Operating cost reductions nearing $1.50/SF are achievable, as is the 20-40% extension of capital life on the essential equipment that protects the collections, staff and visitors. This program positions the museum to address climate justice and diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) issues, subjects on the minds of today’s donors and the visiting public.
Any staff in the organization can respond to the survey


Neville Vakharia, a professor of Museum Leadership at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, is conducting a national survey of small and mid-sized museums (operating budgets of $5 million or less), with an emphasis on art, science, and natural history museums. This important study seeks to understand how museums create, share, and manage their organizational knowledge.

The National Scenic Visitors Center’s Earthwalk Explorer is a travelling exhibit available to museums now.The 3-dimensional Earthwalk Explorer map is the first in NSVC’s Walkable Maps of America series. This 16-foot long map showcases the eastern US. Visitors explore hundreds of miles of terrain with each footstep.

Visitors to Earthwalk Explorer will experience projections of mountain ranges, forests, rivers and lakes, state borders, cities, trails, and cultural features. Putting their “feet to earth” they can trek across the spines of mountain ranges or follow river valleys. They can touch the highest point in the state with their fingers or point out their home towns with their toes. The exhibit features colorful Geoshows projected onto the map to tell stories that combine geography, history and culture, such as the two current Geoshows about the Native American presence in Pennsylvania. One focuses on the network of native trails that later formed the foundation of America’s modern highway network. The other animates the rich legacy of the Lenape and Susquehannock tribes, focusing on petroglyphs found throughout Pennsylvania.

To book Earthwalk Explorer for your museum contact Visit to hear about future touring dates and the latest news as new phases of the Earthwalk experience are developed. 

The Independence Seaport Museum is looking for a Grants Officer. If your organization is looking to fill any open positions, please send us your announcements.

PA Museums' will open nominations for our annual awards and issue a call for session proposals for our 2022 conference soon. Please consider participating in these programs.


Roadside America, which recently closed, was the subject of an opinion piece in the Washington Examiner.

Remember VeeJays? Philadelphia's WXPN has been celebrating the anniversary of MTV, and it's been fascinating.