PHMC Receives Grant for New Research and Learning Center at Eckley Miners’ Village

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC)

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) has received a $48,400 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create an interdisciplinary research and learning center at Eckley Miners’ Village.

The center will be housed in the restored home of Eckley cofounder Asa Foster and will provide classroom, laboratory, conference, and office space for place-based scholarship and educational programs in several fields, including archaeology, anthropology, geography, public history, and ecology.

This center will encourage collaboration between Eckley’s academic partners and residents of the Coal Region, generating research that brings new perspectives to the historic village, its collections, and the greater anthracite region’s social, cultural, and environmental legacies. The center will also offer local K–12 students hands-on research experience and provide workshops for area educators to engage with emerging scholarship.

The NEH’s Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Program supports the development of facilities for humanities activities and stimulates local investment in the humanities. The NEH will double the impact of nonfederal donations by awarding Eckley a dollar-for-dollar match for funds raised to support research and learning-center planning through June 2024. PHMC is one of 24 organizations nationwide to receive funding through this program.

“PHMC is very pleased that federal agencies recognize the unique and important history of Northeast Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Region,” said PHMC Executive Director Andrea Lowery. “With their support we will be able to continue to provide educational leadership and partnerships that foster Pennsylvania history and promote it to a wide and diverse audience while encouraging economic development through preservation and reuse of significant historic structures.”

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The NEH grant will complement another federal grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to revitalize Eckley through the adaptive reuse of its historic structures. The Eckley Miners’ Village Strategic Plan will guide the site’s redevelopment and will continue to be refined as the site’s needs and programs evolve.

Eckley hired Dr. Chris Stokum to oversee this project in 2021. A Pennsylvania native, Stokum joined the museum after receiving his Ph.D. from Boston University, where he specialized in 19th-century labor and education history in the American & New England Studies Program.

Eckley Miners’ Village, located in Weatherly, Luzerne County, is one of 23 historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History. The village preserves and shares the story of anthracite coal mining, the history of patch towns and their residents, and the evolution of regional culture. The Eckley Miners’ Village Associates, a nonprofit community-based organization, actively supports the village. For more information, visit Eckley Miners’ Village online.

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission is the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Learn more by visiting PHMC online.

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