Skip to main content

Mission & History

Our Mission

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 Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation (PHF) was created in 1983 to support the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). This public-private collaboration began as the Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, who counted D. David Eisenhower among its first board members. The Friends counted fourteen charter members and 1,000 additional members that first year. 

Over the next 35 years, the Foundation provided needed assistance in grant management, membership coordination, program direction, and retail operations. Through private contributions, PHF has helped PHMC protect and provide access to PHMC’s 24 historic sites and museums, 5 million objects, and 237 million archival items.

In the early 2000s, the Foundation worked with PHMC on the Teaching American History program. This program gave teachers additional education in Pennsylvania history to assist them in their classrooms.

The Foundation consistently accepts grants on behalf of the various PHMC bureaus. PHF works closely with the bureaus to determine how to best manage their grants and provides the required financial oversight.

PHF’s membership program boasts of a membership of over 2,000 members, who have the opportunity to visit all the Pennsylvania Trails of History, while providing funding to PHMC where it is needed most. These members are also strong donors to the Foundation, knowing their contributions will continue the PHMC’s ability to protect, preserve, and interpret Pennsylvania history.

The Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation currently is overseen by a 15-member Board of Directors, with two paid staff members. PHF manages the Foundation membership program, PA Heritage Magazine subscription, as well as The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s affiliate membership program. Grant management continues to be a strong component of the Foundation’s responsibility for PHMC and its bureaus. Event and exhibit sponsorship, as well as event coordination is provided by PHF when needed.

Powered by Firespring