Friends of BCHS

Friends of the Bucks County Historical Society

The Friends of the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS) is a group of community members with a shared interest in history, culture, and the arts.  Formerly known as the Women’s Committee, the group was founded on May 11, 1967, as a volunteer auxiliary group with a commitment and dedication to support the mission of the Mercer Museum and Library & Fonthill Castle. The group officially changed its name to the Friends of the Bucks County Historical Society to better reflect its growing membership.

The Friends of BCHS provide educational programs four times a year at no charge to the public.  Presentations have focused on topics of local and national interest, as well as many visits from first-person interpreters.  Beyond programs, the Friends of BCHS have sponsored a variety of fundraising events over the years, including bus trips, masquerade balls, card parties, tavern nights, musical performances and more.

For additional information or to join the Friends of the BCHS, please contact Kerriann Ruane, Fundraising Special Events Manager, at 215-345-0210, x132, or email

2023 Upcoming Programs

Bass Reeves: First Black U.S. Marshall West of the Mississippi

Monday, March 20, 2023
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Mercer Museum – Learning Center
Free – Advanced Registration Required – Tickets may not be available at the door.

Join the Friends of the Bucks County Historical Society and historical interpreter Keith H. Henley as he brings the story of Bass Reeves to the Mercer Museum.

Discover the life of legendary lawman Bass Reeves, one of the first Black men to be named deputy U.S. Marshall in 1875.

In this living history presentation, actor Keith H. Henley shares the amazing story of Bass Reeves by exploring the traits and characteristics that made Bass a hero to so many.

Bass Reeves was born in Arkansas in 1838. He escaped slavery and lived with the Cherokee, Seminole and Creek Indians. He learned the skills and languages of these tribes and was appointed a US Marshall in 1875. He served as a Marshall for 32 years. Bass retired in 1907 at the age of 68.

Keith H. Henley is an actor, choreographer, playwright, entrepreneur, and designer. Henley was raised in Camden, NJ and educated in the Camden school system. Presently, Henley works as an historic Interpreter for his company J.O.Y. Productions, as well as Historic Philadelphia Inc., and American Historic Theatre Inc. of Philadelphia.

His love of history led him to create and produce the Black Heritage History Series which is dedicated to the accomplishments of African Americans and their impact on American history. He serves as Artistic Director for Transformation Theatre Productions of Camden, NJ. He is also the host of “Story Time with an Alpha,” a channel on YouTube that is dedicated to childhood literacy.

Keith serves as the director of the Theatre Ministry at First Nazarene Baptist Church. When he is not performing, he loves to cook and bake.

Register for Bass Reeves: First Black U.S. Marshall West of the Mississippi – Click here to register.

Previous Programs:

Friends of BCHS Quarterly Meeting – March 15, 2021
Virtual Lecture: The Private Henry Mercer

This multimedia presentation by BCHS Vice President of Collections and Interpretation Cory Amsler touches on some of the lesser-known aspects of Henry Mercer’s daily life at Fonthill Castle – his intimate and personal relationships, his interactions with household staff, his political and social positions, and his private concerns and passions.



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