Allentown, PA—Board members and staff of the Allentown Art Museum gathered in the New American Galleries on Thursday, November 3, to hear the announcement from Sen. Pat Browne (R-16th District) that the Museum, which began offering free admission to all visitors beginning on August 27, would be receiving a second round of funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Sen. Browne confirmed that he has secured a grant of $700,000 for the Museum for additional capital-improvement needs.

Michelle Stringer, Board of Trustees Chair, welcomes Sen. Pat Browne to Trexler Gallery on Nov. 3

As Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Browne last year secured a $400,000 Keystone Communities Program grant for the Museum that is being used to fund important building upgrades and infrastructure needs, including a new HVAC system to help protect the Museum’s extensive art collection.

But not all of the pressing capital repairs on the Museum’s list were able to be addressed by the Keystone Grant.

“We are incredibly grateful that Senator Browne has been able to secure for the Museum this significant funding for essential upgrades to our facility,” says Max Weintraub, Allentown Art Museum President and CEO. “The Senator’s dedication to the sustainability of this organization and to the vitality of all the cultural institutions of this city and to the community we serve is wonderful.”

“While the rebirth and renewal of Allentown’s commercial corridor continues, we must also continue to invest in the cultural assets that make our city a tremendous place to live, work, and play,” Senator Browne said. “In many ways, our arts community is the heart of Allentown. I am proud to secure these funds to help further the Art Museum’s mission and ensure that they continue to play their vital role in our region.”

Sen. Pat Browne, at podium, announces a second round of funding for the Museum as AAM President and CEO, Max Weintraub, listens in

The Museum has been in its current location, at 31 North Fifth Street in downtown Allentown, for more than six decades, and over the years the building’s aging operational systems have become less efficient and more challenging to maintain. These funds will allow for major upgrades to the oldest sections of the building, including replacement of the decades-old lighting system and other major renovations in Kress Gallery, which houses some of the Museum’s greatest artistic treasures, including the celebrated 1632 Rembrandt painting Portrait of a Young Woman.

“This money ensures that the Allentown Art Museum and the community we serve will benefit from Senator Browne’s tremendous support for decades to come,” says Max Weintraub. “The Kress Gallery is named after Samuel H. Kress, a native son of the region who appreciated the importance of community and of ensuring public access to our artistic and cultural heritage. I think Kress definitely has a kindred spirit in Senator Browne.”

The improvements at the Museum will begin to be seen by visitors over the next year.