Central Pennsylvania African American Museum

119 North 10th Street
Reading, PA 19601


Mission:To establish, preserve and maintain a collection of objects, artifacts, arts, papers, books, photographs, etc. that document and describe the history and culture of African Americans in the new World, with an emphasis on our local and regional (Reading, Berks and surrounding counties) African American history and culture, and to create an appropriate environment for exhibition of the collection, to foster understanding of the history and culture of Africans in the New World, and to encourage education and research.  The mission of the museum also includes the preservation of the Underground Railroad located on the lower level of the Old Bethel A.M.E. Church in Reading, PennsylvaniaVision:The vision of Frank Gilyard, Sr., a local historian is the impetus behind the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum.  For over 30 years, Frank has collected and catalogued the art, documents, court records and books which focuses on local African American history in the Reading and Berks County area.  It has long been a dream of Mr. Gilyard to establish an African American Museum in the city of Reading.  His collection is a journey through the last 177 years and a critical, but undiscovered chapter in our community's development.Reading's 250th Anniversary organizers, Mr. Gilyard, Leadership Berks representatives and various Community members have been working since the end of 1997 to establish a home and an organization to house and manage the museum. The Central Pennsylvania African American Museum is a valuable cultural asset to the community, a wonderful birthday gift to the City of Reading during the 250th Anniversary Celebration.

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