For each of the past several years, PHMC has selected a theme to focus research and programming. Our 2008 theme underscores the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal in Pennsylvania.
The historical lessons of the New Deal are many. It was a period during which both state and nation faced extreme economic hardships and people worked together to overcome adversity. Although New Deal projects were funded through national programs, many of them were strongly rooted in local and regional identity. State histories described local points of interest and customs, and the Index of American Design recorded unique regional folk arts. In Pennsylvania, Governor George H. Earle III, a friend of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and an ardent supporter of FDR's New Deal, crafted a series of innovative programs for economic relief which earned it the appellation "Pennsylvania's Little New Deal."
Among the greatest legacies of the New Deal are an appreciation for local history and the significance of the experiences of ordinary individuals. As PHMC commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal, we celebrate the legions of people--millions across the Commonwealth and the country--who, working shoulder to shoulder, helped bring not only a sense of normalcy, but also one of belonging, to their lives.
Barbara Franco, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Download The New Deal Poster
A Common Canvas: Pennsylvania's New Deal Post Office Murals
The poster features the artwork "Steel Industry" by Howard Norton Cook, 1936. This mural currently resides in the United States Post Office & Courthouse, Pittsburgh, Pa., and is provided courtesy of the General Services Administration, Fine Arts Program.