Centuries of religious artifacts in a modern castle
It’s hard to beat the setting of Glencairn, a neo-Romanesque castle situated amid the rolling hills of Montgomery County. Today, the former home of Raymond Pitcairn and his family – dating back to 1928 – serves as a museum of religious art and history.
The Glencairn Museum offers visitors the chance to explore beliefs and practices through renowned art collections, including those from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, as well as from medieval Christian, Islamic, Asian and American Indian backgrounds. Pitcairn possessed a large body of medieval stained glass and sculpture, a collection that’s considered to be one of the country’s finest.
To dive deeper into the history behind the grand historic property and the works that lays inside, jump on a 90-minute interactive highlight tour, which invites you to view both the family chapel and the master bedroom and bath.
During the Depression, Raymond Pitcairn, an attorney and scion of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company fortune, built his dream house, a castle whose tower rises nine stories above the Montgomery County countryside. It was constructed as both a home for his wife and nine children and as a keepsake for his collection of medieval art. A religious man, Pitcairn was a member of The Church of the New Jerusalem (which is on adjacent land) and his collection spans many faiths and centuries.
Glencairn Museum is a member of the Bryn Athyn Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.
Family-Friendly Insider Tip
Schedule the “Time Travelers” tour if kids are a part of your museum trip. The one-hour tour includes hand-on activities with hieroglyphs, coins and compasses, and is designed to bring a sense of adventure as you delve into the Glencairn’s history.
Tours are offered on various days throughout the week and reservations are strongly recommended because space is limited.
Note that the tower will not be included on tours until April of 2016 while the elevator is undergoing renovations but walking tours are still available.
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