REACH Ambler

Penn State University Archives.

Enter the exhibition: From Factory to the Future in Ambler, Pennsylvania

Ambler is a vibrant commuter town 20 miles from Philadelphia, with an idyllic main street, a close-knit community, and a history intertwined with the legacy of asbestos manufacturing.

Discover Ambler’s stories and join us in imagining its future.

REACH Ambler - Manufacturing Ambler

Video by Jabari Zuberi


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.

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.


REACH Ambler - From Factory To Future

Video by Jabari Zuberi


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.

From Factory to the Future in Ambler, Pennsylvania, the project’s online exhibit, includes an interactive map, oral-history clips, a select archive of historical material, and resources for using REACH Ambler in middle-school, high-school, and university classrooms.


REACH Ambler - Imagining Ambler

Video by Jabari Zuberi

Enter the exhibition: From Factory to the Future in Ambler, Pennsylvania

REACH Ambler was funded through a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health.