The Wharton Esherick Studio and Museum
A master woodworker’s creations, housed in his unique studio
Nestled in the woods near Valley Forge, the Wharton Esherick Museum is truly a hidden treasure. Esherick, called “the Dean of American Craftsmen,” built his studio/home himself in an organic, flowing style–even the roofline is curved–over a span of forty years.
He described the building as his autobiography, and walking through its unusual spaces, filled with his innovative furniture and pared-down sculptures in wood, you feel you’ve met a remarkable man. The massive, free-form spiral oak staircase, the sinuous built-in dining table, moveable hanging lamps and numerous other striking elements, each reveal the freshness of his imagination.
Trained as a painter, the Philadelphia-born Esherick (1887-1970) found his bliss working with wood and blazed a trail for the new generation of craft artists that followed. Family and friends have preserved this unique place, now a National Historic Landmark. Work by other artists in wood can be seen in the gift shop, along with reproductions of Esherick’s woodcuts, and books and related publications.
Open daily by reservation
Esherick never said no to an interesting piece of wood or other material. Watch for scrap wood incorporated in the dining room floor, chair legs made of hammer handles, even a mastodon tusk used as a stair railing.