Reopening to the Public

The Berks History Center will be reopening in phases over the next few weeks.  First, our team will be returning to work on site to determine how to operate under the restrictions that remain in place during Pennsylvania’s Green Phase.  Next, our volunteers, who have been so anxious to come back, will learn the new protocols that everyone must follow to keep us all safe and get reacquainted with their projects.  

The library and museum we closed earlier this year will not be the same when we reopen. There is still much work to do behind the scenes as we prepare our facilities to welcome you back. Here are some of the changes you can expect:

  • When we reopen, the team at the Berks History Center will be wearing masks to protect your health and we will require that you do the same for us.  
  • Public visitation hours for both the Berks History Center’s Henry Janssen Library and the museum will be Wednesday through Saturday from 9 AM to 3 PM, and appointments will be required. No walk-ins will be permitted.

We will begin to accept appointments beginning the week of July 20 for the following week.  Only members will be able to make appointments for our opening week, where our first day of operation will be Wednesday, July 29.  Non-members can schedule appointments for the following week, beginning on Wednesday, August 5.  To make an appointment call 610-375-4375.

The appointment system is necessary to manage the capacity restrictions that have been mandated by the state, particularly in our research library.  Additionally, there is a 72-hour quarantine for materials used by researchers.  Appointments will help the staff at our library manage research materials in a way that is efficient and safe for our visitors. 

Plan Your Visit

Before you visit the Berks History Center, please review the checklist below:

  • Schedule Your Appointment by Calling 610-375-4375

  • Arrive at Your Pre-Scheduled Appointment Time

    • Arriving on time will to help ensure maximum access for all of our visitors as well as everyone’s safety

    • Parking is Available at 160 Spring Street

  • Wear Your Mask Properly Before Entering the Museum or Library Building and Be Prepared to Wear It for the Duration of Your Visit

    • Don’t worry, we have extras available on site
  • Prepare to Maintain Appropriate Social Distance Whenever Possible

    • Pleased maintain 6 feet between you and others

  • If you are sick, have a cough or fever, have any health conditions that might make you susceptible to illness or are considered high-risk, we ask that you please stay home. 

Special Considerations For Researchers:

  • Please take some time to discuss your research needs with our archival staff prior to your visit. We will ask that you provide this information when you schedule your appointment. 
  • Please wash your hands before handling research materials. Hand sanitizer will be available. However, we ask that you DO NOT touch archival materials after using hand sanitizer. 

Health & Safety Protocols

Disinfection Procedures

The entire building will be decontaminated and disinfected with museum-appropriate cleaning materials prior to reopening, and after opening in accordance with best practices. Hand sanitizers will be available throughout the building.

Cleaning Protocols

Once open, staff will perform enhanced cleaning throughout the day to ensure healthy and safe conditions in the building.

Personal Protection Equipment

Face coverings will be required for all visitors older than age two inside our building, including employees. Face coverings will be made available, without charge, to anyone requesting them. 

Facilities Still on Pause

During our initial reopening period, some spaces may be closed. Our Hands on History Room will be closed until further notice. The auditorium will reopen when our onsite public programming resumes, with social distancing protocols in place.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is required and will be enforced; parties may remain together; children must stay with adults at all times. 

We encourage you to limit handshakes, hugs and close contact with one another while visiting the Berks History Center. We also ask that both visitors and staff practice the everyday actions that help to prevent the spread of an illness, which include the following:

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. Do not sneeze into your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a 60% or higher alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g. countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes)

Posters have been placed in common areas to remind everyone of these important guidelines. Be Smart, Stay Safe: An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. Please observe the precautions above!

Reopening Timeline

June 26-July 20 – Closed to General Public

  • Phase 1: Staff Implements On Site Protocols for Pennsylvania’s Green Phase
  • Phase 2: Volunteer Protocol Orientation 

Week of July 20 

  • Phase 3: Open for Appointment Scheduling
    • Call 610-375-4375

Week of July 27

  • Phase 4 : Open to Members by Appointment Only
    • Wednesday through Saturday, 9AM-3PM

Week of August 3

  • Phase 5: Open to General Public by Appointment Only
    • Wednesday through Saturday, 9AM-3PM
Berks History Center has completed the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s “Best Practices for Re-Opening” Certificate Program