Nestled outside of downtown Reading, you find the Reading Museum. When visitors first hear about the Reading Museum, they don’t expect much. But this little museum is actually quite a hidden gem.
The Reading Public Museum was the product of a local teacher Dr. Levi Mengel. Dr. Mengel was a strong believer that sensory learning in sciences was important and over the years he collected a number of exhibits for his science classes. In 1904, Dr. Mengel purchased over 2,000 items from the World’s Fair in St. Louis and decided to open a small museum for his students three years later. In just a few years, the number of artifacts outgrew the space, which lead to the opening of the Reading Public Museum in 1913. Mengel didn’t stop collecting pieces and added some artwork to his collection. His overgrown collection resulted in a final move to the current building in 1929.
The building remains the same as it did in the 1920s, but has a few new editions such as a gift shop and is up to date with ADA requirements.
On the first floor of the museum, you will find the entrance and the gift shop. There is also a small area that is dedicated to its founder, Dr. Levi Mengel. There is even an animatronic Mengel who welcomes visitors.
On the second floor, you will find the museum’s cultural and scientific collections. In the World Cultures Gallery, you will find a vast collection of items from Asia, Africa, and Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, in the Ancient Cultures Gallery, you will find items from Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
The top floor is split into two different areas. The one side is dedicated to the museum’s permanent art gallery. The other side of the third floor is reserved for temporary exhibits, that rotate out about every three months.