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Remembering Jim Vaughan  JIm Vaughan

Jim Vaughan (May 27, 1943 – April 23, 2020) became executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission just when it needed him most. His deep experience in historical institutions allowed him to speak with authority. His political acumen enabled him to balance the needs of competing constituents. His high emotional intelligence gave him the insight to identify and cultivate talent and motivate staff to achieve their personal best.

I came to know Jim well through our biweekly calls. We talked over the matters he was dealing with and the bigger picture of Pennsylvania government. He taught me important lessons about leadership: leading by example, guiding rather than commanding, listening carefully, and asking questions.

Jim didn’t have to come out of retirement to become executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, but he did. Perhaps it was because he saw this job as a calling. I know I speak for all commissioners in saying his steady hand and open heart will be sorely missed. 


Nancy Moses, Chair
Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission