Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) Requests
Before Filing a Request
Before filing a Right-to-Know request, consider these options:
Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
SHPO has a research room and individuals can make appointments to review files and conduct a more targeted search. View information on the PA SHPO research room including file request procedures and hours. You may access these files without submitting a Right-to-Know Law request.
Pennsylvania State Archives
The Pennsylvania State Archives are accessible without a Right-to-Know Law request. Documents within the State Archives may be examined in the Archives Search Room, which is located at Third and Forster Streets, Harrisburg, PA. The Search Room is open to the public Wednesday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Saturday (microfilm only), 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, excluding State holidays. You may also visit the Pennsylvania State Archives online catalog. No fee is charged to review materials, and no appointment is required to review manuscript materials; however, advance notice is required to access audio and video collections.
Many of the records at the State Archives may be used for genealogical research. For an overview, please consult the Pennsylvania State Archives website. Also, The Guide to Genealogical Sources at the Pennsylvania State Archives by Robert M. Dructor is another resource, which is available in many large libraries. Genealogy inquiries submitted by postal mail must be made through the Mail Reference Order Form (PDF).
To obtain access to PHMC records under the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law (RTKL), you can complete the standard Right-to-Know form (PDF), and submit it by emailing the PHMC Open Records Officer, or faxing it to 717-783-9924, or mailing it to the Agency Open Records Officer:
Cynthia Bendroth, Agency Open Records Officer
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
350 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0090
RTKL requests must be addressed to the PHMC's Open Records Officer.
The regular business hours of PHMC are 8:00 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. Any RTKL request received by the Agency Open Records Officer after the close of regular business hours shall be deemed to have been received by that office on the following business day.
While PHMC may fulfill verbal requests, the requestor cannot pursue the relief and remedies provided under the RTKL unless the request is in writing. RTKL requests are for public records, unless subject to an exemption from disclosure under the RTKL. In the event of an appeal to the Office of Open Records (OOR) from PHMC's denial of a RTKL request, the OOR may consider the request, the appeal and any other records to be public.
Pursuant to Section 504 of the RTKL, the agency abides by the PHMC Right-to-Know Law Policy, and complies with the policies set forth in Management Directive 205.36, Right-To-Know Law (PDF).