The Berks History Center was recently honored with a special achievement award from PA Museums, Pennsylvania’s statewide trade association serving museum professionals and institutions.

PA Museums presented BHC with an Institutional Award of Merit for its ‘Berks History for Victory’ exhibit, which promoted food security in the community through the revitalization of historic victory gardening.

The idea for the exhibit was conceived by former BHC Associate Director, Alexis Campbell, who wanted to provide historical context and practical information for home-scale food production during a period when food scarcity was making headlines.

BHC staff and volunteers diligently worked to produce a digital learning experience and demonstration garden that served as a living exhibit on the museum grounds.

The project also included giving away starter kits to help Reading city residents start their own victory gardens. BHC gave away over 1,000 plants, thanks in large part to a $1,330 donation on behalf of The Friends of Reading Hospital.

“It’s an honor that the Berks History Center has been recognized for this achievement,” said Campbell.

“In addition to having the opportunity to serve the direct needs of our community during the pandemic, we were able to demonstrate, in a very tangible way, the importance of historical knowledge and how our shared history can light our path forward. This project was a double-win: first for our community and second for the power of local history. We couldn’t have accomplished this huge effort without the support of The Friends of Reading Hospital, as well as the City of Reading Victory Garden Task Force and all its members, the Reading Public Library and Muhlenberg Greene Architects, Ltd.”

Since the 1980s, PA Museums has invited nominations from its membership and chosen institutions, projects, and individuals to be recognized.

This year, seven organizations from every region of Pennsylvania have won Institutional Awards of Merit. Two organizations are receiving PA Museums’ prestigious S.K. Stevens Award, and three individuals are being honored for their contributions to the field with Individual Awards.

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