West Chester, Pa (December 12, 2022) – Five Chester County historic organizations have been awarded more than $45,000 in total state funding through the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), state Senator Carolyn Comitta said.

The grants, which come through the PHMC’s Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program, assist the general operations of eligible museums and official county historical societies. They are as follows:

  • $16,956 for the Chester County Historical Society.
  • $10,454 for Historic Yellow Springs.
  • $7,789 for the Wharton Esherick Museum.
  • $6,231 for the Graystone Society Inc.
  • $4,000 for Historic Sugartown Inc.

“As one of Pennsylvania’s three original counties, Chester County has a long and rich history that’s being preserved thanks to the work of local historical groups and volunteers,” Comitta said. “These investments will continue to support that work so that important records are maintained, stories are shared, and future generations can learn about the history of our communities.”

Under the program, eligible museums must have an annual operating budget exceeding $100,000 (excluding capital and in-kind services) and at least one full-time professional staff person (or approved equivalent). Award amounts are determined using an equation based on a percentage of the eligible museum’s previous year’s operating budget. The maximum any museum can receive is $40,000. All official county historical societies receive a $4,000 minimum grant.

The grant funding comes as part of almost $2 million in total Cultural and Historical Support Grants awarded to 161 eligible museums and official county historical societies from 56 counties across the Commonwealth.

In addition, two other Chester County organizations – the Chester County Archives & Records Services and the Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance – will receive Historical and Archival Records Care (HARC) Grants to improve the preservation and accessibility of historically significant records maintained by local governments, historical societies, and academic institutions.

The Chester County Archives & Records Services was awarded $5,000 to digitally convert 1,351 sheets of microfilmed criminal indictment papers from the Chester County Clerk of Courts to PDF/A format for long-term preservation and accessibility. The papers range from 1907 through 1928. The criminal papers from 1681-1880 have been digitized and converted to PDF/A files.

The Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance was awarded $4,640 to create an archive at the Pennhurst Museum and to provide digital access to the information. The grant will pay for a comprehensive needs assessment that will support the work of interns and volunteers as they begin to preserve, organize, and create physical/digital access to the photographs and documents rescued from the deteriorating Pennhurst site.

That funding comes as part of $200,000 in total Historical and Archival Records Care (HARC) Grants to 37 organizations in 20 Pennsylvania counties.

HARC grants are administered by the Pennsylvania State Archives, a bureau within PHMC. Funding for the awards spans two years. The maximum award one institution can receive is $5,000. Collaborative grants were eligible for $5,000 per institution for a maximum of $15,000.

The grant awards were based on a competitive review of the applications by a subcommittee of the Pennsylvania State Historical Records Advisory Board. The board operates under federal regulations governing the National Historical Publications & Records Commission and serves as the central advisory body for historical records planning in the state.