December 21, 2022


2022 – A Look Back

PA Museums Special Achievement Awards program recognized 15 institutions and 3 individuals with awards from our association for outstanding projects and professional work.

Our Annual Conference attracted 122 attendees who spent 456 hours attending 15 programs April 25 – April 29, 2022.

PA Museums’ Accessibility Excellence Project, made possible by a National Leadership Grant for Museums through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), completed its third phase with the October launch of helpful tools to assess and address museum accessibility challenges.

We made changes to one of our member services, our very popular job postings page, and we also see the changes as an additional benefit to our members. We now require salary information to be shared for all positions we post. Members may send us job postings at no charge; there is a small fee for non-members.

PA Museums worked to bring our membership back into line after having seen a dip over the last two years. Membership stands at 368, an increase over the year of about a dozen members.

Our associations’ advocacy work in 2022 was very successful at the local, state, and federal levels, and PA Museums worked with members, statewide partners, lawmakers, and other associations who share in that success. Funding remained in the PHMC's budget for the Cultural and Historical Support grants, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) was directed by lawmakers to establish a grant program for museums from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, and federal agencies received more funding to support museums. Local governments supported museums and historical organizations with ARPA funds. Advocacy is not always only about funding, and PA Museums worked in support of legislation to help museums manage collections, to assist PHMC in its work, and to keep Pennsylvania’s museum community at the table.

PA Museums received an IMLS ARPA grant in 2021 to conduct an internship program in 2022 with the goal of placing people of color in paid positions with museums doing meaningful work. Over the summer our four IMLS-funded interns performed a combined 1,132 hours of work at Landis Valley, Germantown, Allentown Art Museum, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

2023 – A Look Ahead

The last time PA Museums published a look ahead at the coming year was 2018, and a lot has changed since then. Here’s our watch list:

Harrisburg (Who is in charge around here, anyway?) – The Shapiro/Davis administration is being established; this is the first transition in many years that is within the same political party. The PA House of Representatives is in the midst of a lamentable power struggle that threatens to cripple any efforts to accomplish anything of note. It is too soon to tell how much and how soon the administration’s priorities will be felt, and the end is not in sight for the battle over which party holds a majority in the PA House. 

The Pennsylvania Budget – Pennsylvania will head into its next fiscal year with optimism around its surplus and healthy revenue collection. The presentation of the first Executive Budget for Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro will provide information about the new administration’s priorities. PA Museums will be looking closely at that budget presentation, which will probably be on March 7. Please click here if you are unfamiliar with Pennsylvania’s budget process.

America250 – In 2018 we asked if it was too soon to obsess about 2026, and now that 2023 is about to ring in, the question is still on our minds. PA Museums has monitored the national effort, and we credit the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) with doing a very good job of leading the way around its potential for museums and history organizations. We are also watching both the statewide effort, America250PA, and Philadelphia250. Will there be federal funding? Will there be state funding? Will I learn to say Semiquincentennial naturally?

The Pennsylvania Arts and Culture Recovery Program – The DCED’s grant program to support arts and cultural organizations will provide some additional ARPA support to some museums in 2023. The application deadline is February 28, 2023, and at a recent webinar, DCED program managers suggested grant recommendations could be approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority board in July 2023. Given that piece of knowledge, we think the funding itself will reach organizations in late 2023. We also heard that the DCED expects this program to attract a lot of applicants, and until they have an idea of how oversubscribed the program will be, the funding formula cannot be developed yet. It is PA Museums’ hope that museums will receive meaningful grant amounts and that there is an equitable distribution of funds to the different types of organizations that are eligible.

Museum Jobs - PA Museums posts somewhere around 300 jobs in Pennsylvania museums every year. The job market has changed with the shift in workers’ expectations in terms of flexibility, and some job descriptions we see now reflect that. Requiring salary information on job postings is now an expectation for job candidates as well. PA Museums continues to see seasonal trends in the job market, but other trends are more difficult to identify as organizations change staffing to adapt to institutional needs. Recent research from PA Humanities suggested only 11% of Pennsylvania’s museums are back to pre-pandemic operational capacity so this is one to watch.

Opportunities to Advocate – PA Museums will stand ready to advocate for museums and history organizations along with our cultural community partners in 2023. We will continue to advocate for the PHMC’s budget and the funding for its grant programs. We will be on the lookout for new bills to be introduced like the ones that improved Pennsylvania’s History Code during the last legislative session. PA Museums urges you to be a part of the museum advocacy effort; it is easy to think our association is doing that for you. You can be much more effective than we are. Lawmakers listen to voters in their districts. Please make advocacy part of your work.

PA Museums Programs – PA Museums has a developing calendar of programs for 2023, and we hope you will plan to support our programs with your registration, attendance, or sponsorship. We are currently building a schedule of webinars around our Accessibility Excellence project and webinars to feature some of our members’ work. We are planning a statewide museum conference as an in-person event in April, and you will be hearing more about that soon. Our 2023 Special Achievement Awards program will combine our well-received social media campaign with a live awards ceremony at our conference. We hope you will enjoy our programs, and we look forward to seeing many of you again.

Rusty Baker, Executive Director, PA Museums


The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are thrilled to share that Museums for All  – a cooperative agreement between IMLS and ACM – has surpassed 1000 participating museums, spanning every state and every discipline. Museums for All is an access program that encourages people of all backgrounds to visit museums by removing financial barriers from museum participation.


Join staff from IMLS and ACM on January 26 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time to learn more about how and why museums of all kinds participate in the program. To register, please click here.


The AASLH Leadership in History Awards recognize excellence and innovative achievements in projects, programs, exhibits, publications, and people in state and local history. The AALSH are now accepting nominations for the 2023 awards. They welcome nominations from all, including organizations of any size or budget, including all-volunteer organizations, ad hoc groups, and those who are not AASLH members. Learn more and submit a nomination.


The Philadelphia Tribune covered new funding from the City of Philadelphia to help the Marian Anderson Museum.

ErieNewsNow took a look at what it takes to prepare the U.S. Brig Niagara for winter.

WJACTV reported on the PHMC's PA Military Museum as they marked the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor alongside the guns from the U.S.S. Pennsylvania.

ABC27 featured the Northern York County Historical and Preservation Society's acquisition of a Civil War soldier's letters home.

The Philadelphia Inquirer had the story about workers' efforts to unionize at Eastern State Penitentiary.

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum of the Senator John Heinz History Center will mark the anniversary of Franco Harris' Immaculate Reception, according to the Herald Times. Steelers legend Franco Harris passed away today.

The PHMC issued press releases announcing its Cultural and Historical Support and Historical and Archival Records Care grantees as well as a new batch of approved state historical markers.


The Friends of Drake Well, Inc. is looking for an Executive Director. If your organization has a job to post with PA Museums, please review our guidelines and contact us. You can also complete and submit your job posting on our new, easy-to-use form.

Maybe you found your current position through our job postings. Perhaps your organization received support after we shared a funding opportunity. Does this regular newsletter communication keep you in the know? These are all reasons to renew or join. Thank you for being part of PA Museums!


The Vatican is trying to set a good example with the return of Greece's Parthenon marbles.

Happy Winter Solstice! The Ursid Meteor Shower is helping us celebrate the longest night of the year.

The Center for the Future of Museums shared a resource to help museums understand and serve neurodiverse people and their needs.

HyperAllergic got museum people talking about when selfies are okay in museums.

Join PA Museums Today
Support PA Museums' Operations with a Donation
Facebook  Twitter