Polish American Cultural Center of Pennsylvania
On October 2, 2003, Alvernia University dedicated the Polish American Cultural Center in honor of Helen Monkiewicz Kubacki. Helen and her husband, Dan, had been supporters of the Bernardine Community and Alvernia University since the 1940’s. Her indomitable spirit, her caring but take-charge attitude, and her strong belief in education channeled her background in nursing into countless endeavors. One of the closest things to Helen’s heart, and the one she was most proud of, was her Polish heritage. Helen worked hard to promote awareness of the wonderful traditions in the culture of the Polish people within the community.
The Polish American Cultural Center houses a collection of over fifteen hundred Polish language books in many subject areas. The strongest concentrations are in the areas of literature, religion, and history. Although no new items are being added to this collection at the present time, it is fully cataloged and accessible through the Alvernia University online catalog. In addition to direct borrowing by the Alvernia community and residents of Berks County, all of the books in this collection also circulate through interlibrary loan.
The Center also includes a collection of a variety of Polish folk art. On
display are such items as:
· Decorative wood art
· Pysanki (decorated eggs)
· Dolls in Polish folk dance costume
· Weaving and textiles
· Inlaid straw art
· Decorated containers
In addition there are samples of religious icons, commemorative souvenirs of the millennium celebration of Christianity in Poland and items related to Pope John Paul II. A highlight of the room is an original painting of the Corn Poppy, the national flower of Poland, by local artist Leona M. Szpak.
Access to the Polish American Cultural Center is available whenever the Franco Library is open.