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​Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The health and safety of Pennsylvanians remains a top priority for the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. (PHMC).

In response to COVID-19, PHMC has implemented a variety of operational changes. Details about those changes can be found below.  Please check back regularly for updates.  

PHMC responds to Covid-19

Due to the Governor’s order regarding COVID-19, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) offices throughout the state are closed. We are continuing to work remotely and will respond to your email as soon as possible. PHMC’s historic sites and museums will remain closed until further notice.

Any changes affecting visitation or other PHMC operations will be communicated quickly via PHMC and affiliates’ digital and social channels. Visit PHMC online or follow us on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

For information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Pennsylvania State Archives

Message for Pennsylvania Agency Heads and Deputies:

The Pennsylvania State Archives needs to document your agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we need your help.  Future historians, as well as future staff of your agency, will benefit from the records you keep now. They will reveal how your agency communicated with the public and how you directed staff to continue their daily service to Pennsylvania citizens while remaining safe and healthy. The lessons you learned along the way may also assist your agency in planning for or responding to a future crisis. Many are looking back to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 to see how the government and citizens coped and handled a pandemic.  We are fortunate that many of our state agencies have preserved correspondence, photos and reports from that time in the State Archives. Future generations will thank you if you do the same thing now.

While maintaining your normal records according to state records retention schedules, keep in mind any unusual or out-of-the-ordinary methods of communication, either with staff or the public, related to COVID-19 should be scheduled for permanent retention. You might not collect or create all these types of documents be we suggest paying attention to record types related to the following functions:

  1. Agency Management: What memoranda, procedures, and other working records were created specific to the COVID-19 state of emergency? How have offices coped internally with the unique problems created by COVID-19?
  2. Asset Management: How has COVID-19 affected facilities and inventory management?
  3. Education: Are there courses or assessments that have changed, expanded, or been repurposed during the pandemic?
  4. Governance: Are you capturing the minutes of special sessions of advisory boards, commissions, task forces, and working groups?
  5. Research: Are you doing research or producing data related to COVID-19 and its impact on Pennsylvania? 
  6. Human Resources: What correspondence, memos, or training materials have you produced to keep your employees and the public safe?
  7. Legal: Are there COVID-19 related contracts, legal opinions, new precedents, or settlements that shed light on your agency’s response to the pandemic.
  8. Monitoring and Compliance: Have you provided assistance to other agencies, local government, or outside entities and individuals related to the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you created any special registries or permits
  9. Public Relations: What brochures, pamphlets, educational materials, or other materials have you created to communicate with the public? Are you receiving any comments, complaints, or petitions from the public that seem historically significant?
  10. Risk Management: Have you issued new alerts or created healthy and safety records as a result of COVID-19?
We appreciate your help in preserving the challenges and successes of Pennsylvania’s state government and its staff as we weather this pandemic.

State Records Management

Since many state, county and local government employees are working from home, the State Archives has prepared a guide to managing and protecting public records. While the COVID-19 pandemic is underway, managing and protecting public records is imperative for all teleworking employees.

This guide offers advice on where to keep public records at home, ways to keep records accessible to staff and the public (if required) and how to protect personal information and records from threats such as phishing.

Scholars in Residence

The Scholars in Residence Program for 2020 has been canceled.

Historical & Archival Care Grants

Please check the revised timeline for the Historical & Archival Records Care Grants.

Due to the governor's order regarding COVID-19, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission's offices are closed, through April 30, 2020. This includes the fulfillment center.  Without access to our stock of publications, we are unable to process and ship orders. Any unfulfilled orders in the system have been cancelled.  No credit cards have been charged. The website will be updated once the Governor's order is lifted and regular operations resume.

Keystone Summer Internships

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Keystone Summer Internship Program has been canceled until further notice.

Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO)

Community Preservation:
Our Community Preservation Coordinators remain available via phone or email to answer all your technical preservation questions.  We are aware that current restrictions are making it difficult to move forward with public meetings that may be necessary for work on grants and other projects.  We will update you as we can on how we will be addressing those issues.

All data entry and updating is progressing normally and we are available to answer questions via phone or email. Mapping may be a bit delayed.

Education & Outreach:
PA SHPO blog and newsletters will be maintained on schedule and PHMC website will be updated as needed.

Environmental Review:
The Environmental Review staff will continue to respond to your inquiries via phone and email. Staff are no longer making site visits but are available to attend meetings and consultations via conference call.  The PA SHPO continues to carry out Section 106 and the State History Code review responsibilities.  
New Projects:
Requests to initiate review of new projects continue to be accepted through the mail. We are working to put procedures in place to accept new projects via email and will notify you when that option is available.
Existing Projects:
Continued consultation on existing projects should be provided to the appropriate reviewer via an email. Please include the Environmental Review (ER) number and provide attachments in pdf format, no larger than 10 MBs in size.
Contact information for the reviewers is available on our website:

PHMC Grants staff is available by phone and email for grant related issues. Telework status is operational but there are limitations.

For Keystone Grants:
Applications submitted on the March 2, 2020 deadline are under review by Grant Review Panels. PHMC Grants staff sent a program status notification to all active grantees on March 17, 2020. We plan to hold panel meetings in late April/early May and submit funding recommendations for Commission approval at June meeting (as currently scheduled). Grant interim reports and invoices can be submitted and processed. Please contact Keystone Grant Manager Karen Arnold for assistance.

For Support Grants:
Grant award letters were sent to Grantees on March 4, 2020. PHMC sent a program status notification to all active grantees on March 16, 2020. We are mobilizing to start grant contract distribution over the next two weeks. If systems are operational, PHMC Grants staff can administer this by telework operations. Please contact Scott Doyle for assistance.

Historical Markers:
PHMC Marker staff is available by phone and email for marker related issues related to nomination process, program guidelines, research, dedication events and maintenance. Telework status is operational but there are limitations. Please note that marker dedication events are probably cancelled due limitations on public gatherings and we are evaluating if maintenance contractor can provide services under Governor’s “life-sustaining” business order. Please contact Marker Program Coordinator Karen Galle for assistance.

National Register:
The PA SHPO National Register staff is available via phone or email as we telework.  We are continuing to review requests for determinations of eligibility and draft National Register nominations.  The National Park Service is also teleworking, and has asked SHPOs to hold off on sending final nominations to them at this time.

You can submit materials to us electronically.  Please contact Elizabeth Rairigh to get a link to a One Drive folder where you can upload your submission.  Please be aware that there will be a delay if you mail in a hard copy, as our staff has limited capability to go to the office and scan materials.  At this time we are also working on contingency plans for our June Board meeting, but no decisions have been made.

Tax Credits:
PHMC Historic Tax Credit staff is available by phone and email for tax credit related issues. Telework status is operational but there are limitations.

For Federal HTCs
Staff is reviewing federal applications and working on a mail delivery protocol for once-a-week mail service to both receive new applications and send applications to National Park Service. Please note there will be delays due to the both PA SHPO and NPS staff working in remote locations and the need to transfer paper files and photographs with limitations of a once-a-week mail service. Please continue to submit new applications and contact Scott Doyle or Shawn Massey for assistance.

For State HTCs:
PHMC can accept Part 3 applications for completed projects and forward reviews to DCED. There is no status update on FY 2019 applications or if DCED and Revenue are processing Tax Credit certificates. Please contact Scott Doyle for assistance.