Attraction

Mercer Museum

A castle filled with pre-industrial tools and artifacts

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Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia
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Overview

This towering castle, opened in 1916, is an imposing landmark in otherwise low-rise Doylestown.

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 at the Mercer Museum: there are cobblers’ tools and log sleds, leather-working hammers and threshing machines, tinsmithing wares and a vast room of horn and tortoise-shell works.

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 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.

Don’t Miss

More than 40,000 items are packed floor to ceiling in this towering castle.

The old cigar-store statues around the Mercer Museum include not only Native Americans but Buffalo Bill Cody, too.

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 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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