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Mercer Museum

A castle filled with pre-industrial tools and artifacts

Mercer Museum

The Mercer Museum, Doylestown, PA. Credit: J. Totaro

Description

The Experience

This towering castle, opened 100 years ago in 1916, is an imposing landmark in otherwise low-rise Doylestown, shelters a museum where the mundane becomes fascinating. Each themed room winding up the castle stairs has dramatic displays of tools, folk art and articles used in everyday life in early America — before mechanization.

Every craft is represented: there are cobblers’ tools and log sleds, leatherworking hammers and threshing machines, tinsmithing wares and a vast room of horn and tortoise-shell works. The more than 40,000 items are packed floor to ceiling; in fact, many hang from the ceiling of the four-story central court, including a Conestoga wagon, whaling boat and antique fire engine.

While you’re at the Mercer Museum, enhance your visit with audio guides, enjoy hands-on activities for kids and browse items available for purchase at the museum shop.

The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History

Dates: Through August 13, 2017
The Mary Schafer Collection traces the life and work of an important early collector, designer and popularizer of quilts and quilting traditions. The exhibit features 25 exquisite quilts that reflect Schafer’s varying interests. Also on view: The Sharon Holloway Dollhouse and Miniatures Collection.

For more information on The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History, click the button below.

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Centuries of Childhood: An American Story

Dates: September 16 – December 31, 2017
Children connect the stories of American history to their own experiences by learning about the lives of five historical children and their families. Each historical character is set within its own “play and learn” environment where children can paddle a canoe, ride a horse and carriage, explore an immigrant ship and hop on a covered wagon. For children 2-8.

For more information on Centuries of Childhood: An American Story, click the button below.

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History

Henry C. Mercer opened a museum in 1916 to contain his collection of everyday tools and artifacts associated with preindustrial trades, crafts, agriculture and domestic work. Mercer wanted to make sure that progress didn’t wipe out evidence of America’s early productivity.

Other Information

Open daily

Insider Tip

Don’t miss the old cigar-store statues dotted around the museum; you’ll see not only Native Americans, but Buffalo Bill Cody, too.

Great Kids’ Stuff

The Animals on the Loose permanent exhibit invites the museum’s youngest visitors (ages 3 to 8) and their families to join Henry Mercer’s favorite dog, Rollo, on a participatory adventure in search of “escaped” animal artifacts from the museum’s collection. Children will also enjoy visiting Dr. Mercer’s office in the Imagination Gallery to peruse his notebooks, read personal correspondence, view family photos, and enjoy puzzles, games, and books.

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Details

84 South Pine Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
(215) 345-0210
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