The BHC was founded in 1869, and is composed of a museum and research library (named the Henry Janssen Library) dedicated to preserving and sharing Berks County, PA’s unique cultural heritage. We showcase local history through a vast collection of artifacts and documents, educational programs, workshops, and community events. We also publish a quarterly publication called “The Historical Review of Berks County,” a historical journal featuring articles from a variety of contributors and historians.
The BHC museum has a vast and diverse historical object collection exceeding an impressive 20,000 items. Ornate folk art, clocks, furniture, and tools from Pennsylvania’s Americana Region come to life in over a dozen carefully curated galleries and exhibits featuring our county’s rich and industrious past. The museum also houses a large transportation collection, including bicycles, a rare horse drawn streetcar, a Conestoga Wagon, and a Duryea automobile.
The Henry Janssen Library is the center for genealogical and historical research at the BHC. Our organization’s archival holdings have grown extensively since its founding in 1869. Included within the Henry Janssen Library Collections are over 17,000 photographs, personal and family papers, church and cemetery records, records of local businesses, census reports, blueprints, land deeds, and newspapers dating from the 1790s to the 1940s.