Research & Learning Center

A new hub for hands-on learning and homegrown innovation.

Rendering of the Research & Learning Center with proposed addition @ JacobsWyper Architects (2023)

Designed to keep knowledge about Northeastern Pennsylvania in the region and working for it, the Research & Learning Center will transform how Eckley educates and serves the public. By cultivating talent alongside pride of place and a sense of connection to our industrial past, the Center will foster a generation of local leaders who are rooted in our anthracite communities and boldly rethinking their futures.

Renovation plans, made possible through investments by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and the Appalachian Regional Commission, reimagine the 1861 home of Eckley cofounder Asa Foster as the anthracite region’s premier space for interdisciplinary training. When complete, the 2,900-square-foot Center will leverage the shared strength of our region’s colleges to create learning opportunities and pathbreaking research addressing Northeastern Pennsylvania’s rich history, present challenges, and ongoing evolution.

As a journalist and publisher, mine engineer and inventor, amateur beekeeper and naturalist, Asa Foster embodied the spirit of unbounded curiosity that the Center will nurture. In turnkey wet labs, workspaces, and classrooms – not to mention the 100-acre outdoor classroom that Eckley’s campus offers – academic researchers will think across disciplinary lines to tackle our most vexing questions. There is perhaps no better microcosm for examining the environmental, economic, and demographic changes that shape our modern world than the Pennsylvania Coal Region, and Eckley’s Research & Learning Center will serve as an incubator and clearinghouse for critical, emerging knowledge.

Asa Foster House @ Tara Kavanaugh (2021)

The Research & Learning Center will also welcome students, lifelong learners, and the broader community to participate in programs and events. Mentorships will pair local high school students with academic researchers in fields including archaeology, geology, geography, historic preservation, ecology, and new energies, boosting the college and career readiness of our region’s students. Researchers’ findings will inspire new programs and exhibits at Eckley, advancing our mission and ensuring that the museum remains at the forefront of industrial heritage preservation and interpretation.

Research & Learning Center floorplans @ JacobsWyper Architects. Click to enlarge.

Head over to our “Support” page to learn more about the project and how you can help us claim a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities grant to make this vision for the Coal Region Research & Learning Center a reality.

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