These collections, held in museums, libraries, and historic sites across the state, are vast in scope, richness, and diversity. They demonstrate the breadth of the state’s history, preserve the stories of individuals and events, and provide a powerful asset to help us understand and connect to our past.
Unfortunately, many of these fragile collections are at risk, while the tools and resources available to arts and cultural institutions, large and small, are shrinking. Save Pennsylvania’s Past celebrates Pennsylvania’s world-class collections and encourages us all to become a part of the movement to save our cultural heritage.
Advocacy refers to a broad range of activities aimed at getting the attention of public officials and influencing how they shape public policies that affect small and large organizations. Busy officials and their staff need to know what you do, what you contribute, and what support you need to achieve your long term preservation goals—and they also need to know what’s at stake.
Advocacy requires action by you, your staff, and constituents. Only you can showcase your institution and make the case to potential supporters for the resources you need. You are the best advocate for your organization.
The advocacy process includes conversation, phone calls, letters, active engagement, testimonials, demonstration of program results, participation in regional and national events, tracking of relevant legislative action, and mobilization of allies, members, partners, and supporters. An advocacy plan includes public acknowledgement and thanks for the support you do receive, with periodic follow-ups about your continuing efforts and successes.
You have the right as well as the responsibility to speak up and make known the significant asset you represent. The eight parts of the Save Pennsylvania's Past Collections Advocacy Toolkit guide you through the basic steps of an advocacy plan.
The Save Pennsylvania's Past Consultant & Specialist Database lists consultants, specialists, and vendors that can assist institutions in all areas of collections care-related activities, from archival processing to disaster response to conservation treatments. It is searchable by service category and geographical location.
In 2012 and 2013, to prepare staff to address the challenges threatening Pennsylvania’s collections, CCAHA presented six training programs in eight regions, a seventh program in four regions, and two statewide conferences on disaster planning and environmental management. View or download the program brochures for more information:
Published in August 2009, Imagining Our Future: Preserving Pennsylvania’s Collections provided an in-depth analysis of the conditions and needs of Pennsylvania’s artistic and historic collections. The report found that more than 25% of Pennsylvania’s collections are in unknown condition, while inadequate storage, lack of emergency planning, and dwindling financial resources have left nearly half of those that are in known condition in urgent need of care.
Imagining Our Future laid out a detailed five-year preservation plan to improve collections care throughout the state. Save Pennsylvania’s Past sets this plan into motion.
Access the entire plan on our Special Projects pages.
As Save Pennsylvania’s Past project leader, CCAHA has partnered with a creative coalition of arts, cultural, educational, government, and historic organizations from all across the state: the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC), PA Museums, and LYRASIS.
The initiative is supported by an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Connecting to Collections Statewide Implementation Grant, by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and by the Arthur Ross Foundation, Inc.