Resources for Education and Action for Community Health in Ambler (REACH Ambler) explores the history, environmental health, and community identity of Ambler, Pennsylvania, through a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine and the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation).
From the 1880s through the mid-20th century asbestos production was the cornerstone of Ambler’s local economy. In more recent years Ambler has grappled with its legacy of material production, including a Superfund site and piles of asbestos in various states of remediation, as well as changes in demographics and the local economy.
Through methods connected to oral history, public history, and science studies, the REACH Ambler project team has collected and contextualized diverse viewpoints and information from Ambler residents and institutions. This research has informed a variety of interpretive pieces that demonstrate how history can help a community define its present and shape its future.