The Bucks County Commissioners today broke ground on the planned site of the African American Museum of Bucks County’s permanent location in Middletown Township.
Plans to convert the historic Boone Farm property into a functioning museum have been inching forward since 2020 when the Commissioners agreed to lease the site to AAMBC for $1 per year.
"At this time of year when we're supposed to be giving thanks, I am truly so thankful to see this project continuing to move forward," said Commissioner Vice Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia.
"The African American Museum of Bucks County does a tremendous job educating Bucks County residents about history that far too often goes overlooked,” she added, “and I'm so excited to see the work they can do once settled in their permanent home."
Established in 2014, AAMBC has existed solely as a “mobile museum,” displaying exhibits and artifacts at schools, libraries, senior centers and other locations throughout the county.
PHOTO: Commissioner Vice Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, addresses a crowd during a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of the African American Museum of Bucks County in Middletown Township. Behind her, from left, is AAMBC President and Executive Director Linda Salley, Bucks County Project and Diversity Officer Bernard Griggs and Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo.
In recent months, the project to renovate the existing farmhouse – located at the southwest corner of Core Creek Park – took major steps forward when the Commissioners approved a $2.39 million contract with L.J. Paolella Construction, Inc., for restoration work and a separate $201,000 contract with Hirschberg Mechanical to perform plumbing and fire protection work at the site.
When work is complete, the museum will have a safe, usable facility to outfit as it needs.
Built in the early 1700s, the property operated as a farm until the mid-20th century, and was a source of employment for many African Americans who moved to the area during the Great Migration.
PHOTO: The Bucks County Commissioners together with representatives, supporters and sponsors of the African American Museum of Bucks County joined with local and state elected officials Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the future site of the museum's first permanent home.
Rehabilitation of the farmhouse was an aspiration of the late Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick during his time as a county commissioner. The extensive upgrades it required, however, left the effort on indefinite hold.
Site improvements are likely to begin in the next few weeks, with building renovations expected to start sometime in the new year. Construction work is estimated to take about 12 months.
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