Since its founding in 2014, the African American Museum of Bucks County has functioned as a traveling museum. The museum will soon have a permanent, physical home on Boone Farm in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania.
Earlier this month, the Bucks County board of commissioners approved a contract to lease the farm to the museum for one dollar per year through 2030. The decision to house the museum in the farm is mutually beneficial. Late US Representative Mike Fitzpatrick had long aimed to restore Boone Farm when he served as county commissioner, however the cost of the project put it on indefinite hold. With the museum moving in, renovations on the farm will once again move forward. Officials estimate that construction needed to adapt the farm for the museum will cost less than $300,000.
Boone Farm is also an important part of Bucks County’s African American history. Museum President Linda Salley explained how she learned about the property while teaching an elderly group of women quilting. The women told her that they had moved from the south to seek better opportunities and worked on Boone Farm. “They often talked about Boone Farm and how they came up north in the middle of the night leaving the Southern states looking for work. That is when I realized they were a part of the great migration,” Salley said. The museum plans to tell this and many other stories of the local Black experience.
The African American Museum of Bucks County plans to open to the public in the second half of 2021. Its current exhibit “Building on the Dream: From Africa to Bucks County” is on view at the Bucks County Visitor Center through October 1.