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Chester County History Center Receives Institutional Achievement Award

Chester County History Center Receives Institutional Achievement Award

April 8, 2024

West Chester, PA – The Chester County History Center has been recognized with an Institutional Achievement Award by PA Museums, the state-wide museum association, for its Celebrating Juneteenth: Commemorating African American History programs in 2023. 

The Juneteenth programming curated by the Chester County History Center was welcomed by the community and encompassed a diverse range of events and activities to honor African American history and contributions to our society. This recognition highlights the History Center's commitment to promoting education, awareness, and celebration of Juneteenth and African American history. Among the standout initiatives were: 

1. WALKING TOURS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY: The Underground Railroad tour explored historic sites that served as a backdrop for the stories of the brave people who helped freedom seekers as they passed through West Chester on their journeys toward freedom. The Uptown West Chester tour explored the very center of town as we shared stories of early 20th-century African American entrepreneurs like James Spence and followed in the footsteps of Bayard Rustin as he grew into an activist in his hometown. 

2. FROM WHENCE WE CAME: FINDING BLACK ANCESTORS IN HISTORICAL RECORDS focused on African American Genealogy. The program guided participants on how to trace their ancestry and overcome the unique hurdles that Black history presents. 

3. A CELEBRATION OF BAYARD RUSTIN & AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY. An evening event that celebrated Bayard Rustin, his remarkable past, and how his work continues to transform the present. The event featured Illuminating Rustin, a powerful performance by People’s Light Theater, the virtual commentaries of awarded actor Colman Domingo, who portrays Bayard in Netflix’s film Rustin, and a conversation about Bayard Rustin led by author Michael Long and Prof. Tonya Thames-Taylor. 

"We are deeply honored to receive this award in recognition of our Juneteenth programming," said Conor Hepp, president of the Chester County History Center. "At the heart of our mission is a dedication to preserving and promoting the rich tapestry of African American history, and this recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, volunteers, and community partners." 

The Chester County History Center extends its sincere gratitude to all those who contributed to the success of its Juneteenth programming, including sponsors, collaborators, and attendees. Special gratitude to TD Charitable, Aqua America, Voices Underground, The PA Abolition Society, and Peco for their support. This award serves as both validation of past efforts and inspiration for future endeavors in advancing the cause of historical preservation and cultural understanding.

The Chester County History Center is a leading institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and sharing the rich history and heritage of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Through engaging exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach efforts, the History Center aims to inspire curiosity, foster learning, and foster an appreciation for the past. 

Attached Photos (Photo Credits: Sergio A. Cabral): 

Juneteenth_001 – Walking Tours 

Juneteenth_002 – People’s Light during Illuminating Bayard 

Juneteenth_004 – Colman Domingo during his video participation 

Juneteenth_005 – Michael Long & Prof. Tonya Thames-Taylor

Additional Info

Media Contact : Pachy Banks-Cabral, 610.692.4800

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