Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Asks Pennsylvanians How Much They Value History

In order to more effectively carry out its mission, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) asked Pennsylvanians what they believe is important in preserving and interpreting the commonwealth’s rich history.

Penn State Harrisburg’s Center for Survey Research annually conducts a statewide poll for the commission. This year, the PHMC submitted questions based on the Pennsylvania History Bill of Rights.

The Pennsylvania History Bill of Rights, or PHBR, is based upon provisions of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and on the requirements of the History Code. The PHBR has been adopted as the guiding principles of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and about a dozen other organizations across the state.

Participants were asked to rank the importance of each provision of the PHBR on a scale from 1 to 5, one being “least important” and 5 being “most important.” The provisions, ranked in order along with the percentage of Pennsylvanians rating them with a “4” or “5” are as follows:

Current and future generations are assured that Pennsylvania’s historical resources are preserved for their enjoyment and use. 83.9 percent (1st)
Pennsylvania citizens have access to the current records of government and the permanently valuable documents which tell the history of the Commonwealth. 81.4 percent (2nd)
Students in Pennsylvania schools understand Pennsylvania’s history in the context of local, national and world events. 80 percent (3rd)
Pennsylvania’s communities retain the historic character and distinctiveness that are essential to attracting and retaining residents, businesses and visitors. 73.1 percent (4th)
Pennsylvania’s museums, historical societies and historic sites receive adequate public and private support to maintain high standards of stewardship and public access. 72.7 percent (5th)
Pennsylvania maintains a competitive position as a premier tourism destination for heritage travelers. 66.8 percent (6th)

The PHMC intends to use the results to provide a more “needs-based” approach to the business of history, to recruit partners in preserving history at the grassroots level and to engage in conversations with constituents and stakeholders.

Full Penn State Poll results are available online at

Visit the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission online at

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