Get Some Culture at These 3 Galleries and Museums
Located in southwest Pennsylvania, the Sinking Spring area is steeped in history and culture. Visitors can still notice the footprints of its past as the center for heavy industry and Victorian wealth. To delve deeper into the history and culture of the area, check out these three museums.
The Reading Public Museum
The Reading Public Museum (RPM) is the center for tactile learning, founded by Dr. Levi W. Mengel over a century ago. As a high school teacher in the early 1900s, Dr. Mengel brought his personal anthropological materials and antiques to class so that his students could have a direct contact with history. He was passionate about giving children a chance to see and touch the things they studied in order to enhance the learning experience.
In 1907, the third floor of the Reading School District administration building became a museum for students. It displayed Dr. Mengel’s collection and items from the St. Louis World’s Fair. By 1913, the museum’s collection expanded significantly, and the museum was opened to the public.
Today, the RPM holds over 300,000 pieces of art and antiques as well as cultural and scientific artifacts from all over the world. The museum’s interactive exhibits offer visitors a unique sensory experience, whether it’s facing an Egyptian mummy, uncovering Mayan treasures, or exploring paintings by Degas or Rodin.
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
At the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, aspiring and established artists can experiment, explore their talents, and polish their skills. The center used to be a factory that manufactured safety equipment such as optical lenses and goggle, hence its name GoggleWorks.
As an art community center, GoggleWorks has several large studios where artists can work or study. All year round, the center holds community classes and workshops for artists of all caliber ages 7 and up. Their After School Arts Program, for example, is free for residents of the Reading School District.
The GoggleWorks’ galleries combine traditional and experimental exhibits from local, national, and global artists. Throughout the year, the center hosts a wide range of events, including monthly Spotlight Nights and the annual Arts Festival Reading. GoggleWorks’ industrial chic makes it an appealing and popular venue for wedding celebrations, parties, and community events.
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum (MAAM) is a specialty history museum with the mission to preserve the history of aviation and to develop public awareness about it. The museum’s collection is devoted to a general history of aviation, with a special emphasis on the influence that the Mid-Atlantic region had on it.
The museum’s aircraft collection is properly restored and displayed in a historically appropriate context, which depicts evolutionary changes in culture and technology. The MAAM offers a variety of public programs and engages communities with entertaining, educational, and imaginative exhibits as well as demonstrations and lectures. It holds regular air shows and takes visitors on airplane rides. Visitors are invited to delve into history during the MAAM’s annual World War II Weekend.
Whether you are a visitor or native to the Sinking Spring area, take advantage of its rich history. You are sure to enjoy one of these museums no matter if you are a history buff or not.