The Schuylkill River National Heritage Area celebrated two important events recently, the October grand opening of the River of Revolutions Interpretive Center and the completion of a short-form documentary that is airing on public television stations nationwide.
The River of Revolutions Interpretive Center, located at 140 College Drive in Pottstown, was completed over the summer and celebrated its grand opening on October 22nd. The event was attended by Congressman Jim Gerlach, state and local officials, and a multitude of partners, stakeholders and the interested public. The Northeast Region of the National Park Service was represented by Barbara Pollarine, Chief of Interpretation, Education, and Partnerships who has been an advocate for the area since her time as Deputy Superintendent at Valley Forge National Historical Park. A result of six years of development, the new interpretive center will serve as an anchor for the planned Schuylkill River Academic and Heritage Center, a unique educational partnership between the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area and Montgomery County Community College.
The new center shares space with the Schuylkill River Greenway’s (SRGA) offices, the management entity for the heritage area, and engages visitors with interactive stories about the region’s critical role in the American, Industrial, and Environmental revolutions. The offices and interpretive center are located in the Schuylkill River Center, a sustainably-redeveloped structure built in 1911 as a switching station for the Philadelphia Electric Company and now the centerpiece of the 30-acre municipally-owned Riverfront Park.
The Schuylkill is also featured in an educational documentary produced by American Milestones focusing on the area’s history, environment, and recreational opportunities. The producer was able to shoot boaters enjoying the annual Schuylkill River Sojourn this past summer including views of the restored canal lock in Mont Clare, and they captured footage of hikers along the Schuylkill River Trail. The film also includes many interviews with historians and key stakeholders. This project received funding from some of SRGA’s key funders and partners: the William Penn Foundation, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
A one-minute segment was aired November 19-25 nationally and a variety of networks presented it during prime time throughout our region. The full film is currently showing on public television stations around the country.
Photo above shows PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources Deputy Secretary John Giordano congratulating the NHA on its success. NPS Division Chief, Barbara Pollarine, is to the right.