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Tapestry Newsletter
December 6, 2017



Governor Wolf is likely to kick off the 2018-2019 budget discussions with his Executive Budget presentation on February 6, 2018. The Governor has also talked about his intentions to run for a second term next year. The field of candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor is an expanding universe with Speaker of the House Mike Turzai and York Senator Scott Wagner sparring for the Republican nomination for Governor. Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack is now facing a challenge from Braddock's Mayor John Fetterman
The Senate Appropriations Committee held a meeting off the floor on Monday, October 23 and voted the Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Act out of committee. In June the bill needed a few changes, and two very small changes were added on Monday to clarify language. The bill will now return to the Senate for final consideration. We will be keeping our eyes out for this bill on the Senate calendar. If you have not done so already, we invite our members to contact their Pennsylvania Senators to ask them to support the bill when it is considered. 
The American Alliance of Museums is organizing Museums Advocacy Day in Washington, DC to bring its members together with U.S. House and Senate offices. Museums Advocacy Day is a unique opportunity to join with other museum professionals and supporters to make the case for museums. PA Museums is a proud supporter of Museums Advocacy Day. The 2017 event brought together over 380 advocates in Washington, D.C. Save the dates, February 26-27, 2018. Registration is open!   


The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) announced that it will be awarding just under $2 million in grants to qualified museums and official county historical societies under the Cultural and Historical Support program. The grant program uses funds placed in PHMC's operating budget by the state legislature and is restricted for this purpose only. Working in concert with legislative leadership to determine the best way to distribute these limited funds, applicants must meet organizational eligibility requirements and awards are based on a calculation that uses the operating budget from the most recently completed fiscal year.


*    Museums located in Pennsylvania with annual operating budgets exceeding $100,000 (excluding capital and in-kind services) and at least one full-time professional staff person (or approved equivalent) and that are not supported by other state agency funding programs.
*    Official County Historical Societies. If the operating budget is less than $300,000, the organization must apply as an Official County Historical Society. Official County Historical Societies with operating budgets in excess of $300,000 must apply as a Museum.


*    Strengthen the Pennsylvania museum community
*    Provide general operating support to museum and official county historical societies that are not supported by other state agency funding programs
*    Provide financial support as unrestricted operating support to address primary needs of museums
*    Allow applicants to determine and describe how they will use funds
*    Keep application process fair and simple
*    Determine award amounts using an equation based on a percentage of the previous year's operating budget
*    Achieve geographical balance in the distribution of grants

APPLICATION DEADLINE - February 9, 2018 (application system opens on January 2, 2018)

APPLICATION PROCESS - For FY 2017-2018, PHMC is using a new electronic application system.

PHMC is pleased to announce all PHMC grant program applications are transitioning to DCED's Electronic Single Application for Assistance system. Your organization may need to register as a First Time User for a new User Name and Password. You can access the application system here on January 2, 2018.

Once you register and log on to the new system, the easiest way to begin a new PHMC Cultural and Historical Support grant application is to:

*    Create a Project Name such as "My PHMC museum support grant"
*    Select "YES" for "help selecting your program"
*    Click "Create a new application"
*    Select "PHMC" under the Agencies heading and click SEARCH
*    Click "Apply" next to the Cultural and Historical Support Grant program

Applicants are not required to mail a hard copy of the application and supporting documents.
For additional assistance with the Electronic Single Application for Assistance system, please contact DCED's Customer Service at: 1 (866) 466-3972,
Much more information is available at the PHMC's website.


For the last few years we have been publishing a list of what to watch in the year ahead. This annual December exercise has been both fun and humbling because no one knows what will really happen in 2018. Organizations like the Center for the Future of Museums, devoted futurists, probably have it easier when it comes to predicting the future in a more general, "20 years from now" kind of way. While we are all still waiting for flying cars and cures for the common cold, here's what PA Museums is looking at in its crystal ball:

The Pennsylvania Budget - Pennsylvania has been wrestling with serious budget problems, and the 2018-2019 budget process will be colored by many of the same debates we have seen in the last few years. There are significant elections coming up in 2018, too.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission - We will be watching Pennsylvania's official history agency, its budget, and its programs all across the commonwealth. Its Cultural and Historical Support grants provide a lifeline of operational funding to around 150 organizations, and the expansion of the PHMC's agency budget and its budget for grants have the potential to lead the way for our member organizations.

New Museums - New museums open every year. Will a museum be part of the restoration of the First Bank of Philadelphia? Will there be a Hammerstein Museum? When was the last time an art museum opened in Pennsylvania?

Diversity Initiatives - We may see more diversity initiatives in Pennsylvania aimed at including more people from more communities in the work of museums. A museum may work to add people of color to its board of directors or interpret its collection differently. This is on trend nationally, and we expect to see more museums engaging in these activities.

New Museum Technology - Somewhere out there in a garage or their mother's basement, someone is making something that will be in a museum trade show exhibit soon. Is there a robot waiting to do your job? Personal devices and apps seem to have reached a plateau, and virtual reality is getting less expensive. It is definitely still a thing. What will be next?

Political Fatigue - Our advocacy efforts at PA Museums will continue in 2018, and we are sensitive to the fact that our members may be experiencing some fatigue around political issues, politicians' behaving badly, and the fact that advocacy is not always exciting. The word advocacy makes your eyes glaze over? We encourage your activism with us around museum issues. We may just stop calling it advocacy.

Special Events - Special events can certainly drive attendance and revenue, and we have been notified about many events at member institutions that we imagine are a lot of fun. Pennsylvanians will be sure to have their fair share of Beer Fests and Whiskey Tasting events at museums and historical organizations in 2018.

Professional Development - Professional development for museum workers is an expanding universe. Specialization in the field and loyalty to organizations like ours that present opportunities for professional development have crowded the calendar with webinars, workshops, and conferences. At the same time, museum budgets for professional development have never been large. Combine these ideas with the influx of hungry young minds entering the field. Are you coming to our 2018 conference or are you listening to a podcast? You can do both!

The Periphery - Out on the fuzzy edges of the crystal ball's lens there are any number of things that could be the next BIG thing. The tourism industry's fortunes, activities in historic preservation, the changes in the economy, and social movements like #MeToo around sexual harassment all have the power to push museums in a new direction.


Programs with the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)  
December 7
Cost: $40 members/$65 nonmembers
Designing for Outrage: Inviting Disruption into Exhibitions 
The American Alliance of Museums
December 14 , 2017, 2 p.m.
Watch and Talk Live Event 
Interactive Mechanics - 219 Cuthbert St. #402, Philadelphia, PA 19106
V iolent murders, rampant xenophobia, homophobia, racism, and gender and economic injustices vibrate around us. Is there a way that exhibitions can create spaces that authentically address these issues in all of their moral messiness without rushing to feel-good emotions, harmony or even empathy? Can there be space for outrage? An exploration of four sites that are innovating to startle, puzzle, enrage, delight, surprise, and evoke outrage will offer critical examples and challenges for creating exhibits that invite marginal, subversive, or fragmented narratives and that give visitors an opportunity to explore a full range of issues and emotions. Find out how you can design for outrage in your institution. 

To register or learn more, please click here.

Save The Date! 
Find Your Centre: Cultivating Community Connections 
PA Museums Annual Statewide Museum Conference
Centre County
April 15-17, 2018
We are also actively seeking sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers for our conference.

Annual Meeting and Museum Expo
The American Alliance of Museums
May 6-9, 2018
Phoenix, AZ



Dave Heltzel, PA Museums' President, published an Op Ed in the Scranton Times-Tribune encouraging readers to visit Pennsylvania's museums.
The Andy Warhol Museum was among a handful of museums named as recipients for a groundbreaking series of grants designed to diversify museums.
One of the Franklin Institute's oldest exhibitions is back on display.
The World War 2 exhibit "We Can Do It" is travelling to the Elwood City Historical Society next.
The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office will conduct its first study of important African American sites.
Carnegie Mellon University may open a museum to preserve robots.    

The Morning Call explored Bethlehem's connections to Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and other figures and events in American history. 

Centre Furnace Mansion Winter
Check out the PA Museums directory for all member museums and historic sites to get ideas for i nteresting activities at home or away and be sure to spread the word!  If your institution is not on our list, please let us know
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