A castle filled with pre-industrial tools and artifacts
This towering castle, 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.
The Martin & Warwick Foundation Galleries in the museum’s Great Hall feature changing exhibits which engage the entire family.
While your 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.
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.
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.