Whether you live in Reading, PA or you’re just visiting, there are always plenty of interesting things to check out. Reading features wonderful attractions such as the Pagoda, nature trails, and multiple museums. One of the best museums to check out is the Berks History Center!
The Berks History Center is the number one place to learn the 300 plus years of history surrounding Berks County. Their main goals are education as well as building a sense of community and inspiring that community to keep growing in the years to come. The museum was originally founded in 1869 as the Historical Society of Berks County by citizens of the county that came together in order to share the history of Berks County, with the first president being William M. Hiester. It wasn’t until 1898 when President Albert G. Green called for the organization to begin collecting objects that could be shown in the eventual museum.
In 1904, the organization purchased their first building from the Reading Gas Company. At the time they only had around 150 members, meaning the building was big enough for their purposes. Fast forward 10 years and the group had become so large that they quickly realized they needed a larger space. The cornerstone for that new location was placed in 1928 and a year later construction was completed. An addition was added in the 1980s when they once again needed more space for offices, displays and storage. In 2005, they purchased the M&T Bank building located behind the main building, which became their premier research facility in 2008.
As for what’s actually inside the museum, visitors can find a large collection of photographs, microfilms, currency, sheet music and much more, such as newspapers dating back to 1796. You can also find over 20,000 historical objects such as art created by Jack Coggins and even larger collections such bicycles, wagons and street cars.