Mercer Museum, Doylestown

4.6
#1 of 13 in Things to do in Doylestown
The Mercer Museum is a museum located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, United States. The Bucks County Historical Society operates the Mercer Museum, as well as the Research Library, and Fonthill Castle, former home of the museum's founder, archeologist Henry Chapman Mercer. The museum was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was later included in a National Historic Landmark District along with the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works and Fonthill. These three structures are the only poured-in-place concrete structures built by Mercer.HistoryHenry Mercer was a gentleman anthropologist. On a cruise up the Ruhr in early adulthood, Mercer was impressed by the eclipse of artisanal culture by industrial production, and resolved himself to preserving artifacts of preindustrial life. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mercer collected pre-industrial hand tools and other implements of the past. He believed that the story of human progress and accomplishments was told by the tools and objects that people used and saw these time-honored crafts slowly disappearing from memory.Mercer personally designed plans for a museum to house his collection, six stories tall and cast of poured-in-place concrete. Mercer's museum was completed in 1916. In addition to tools, it displays furnishings of early America, carriages, stove plates, a gallows, antique fire engines, a whaleboat, and the Lenape Stone. The Spruance Library, which houses the Bucks County Historical Society's archive of historical research materials, is located on its third floor. In June 2011, construction was completed on a new, extensive visitors center at the front of the museum.
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Mercer Museum Reviews
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  • If there ever were a zombie apocalypse, I would get to the Mercer Museum as fast as possible! One could easily stay holed up in the concrete structure and have every tool to stay self-sufficient. Each...  more »
  • Mercer was definitely an eccentric - and this museum houses his collection of tools. He was attempting to record all the tools the different trades of the day used. Many of these trades are gone - lik...  more »
  • This place is an under-rated jewel right around the corner from most Bucks/Mercer County residences. This amazing structure, built by Henry Mercer in 1916, is a breathtaking example of a very early "p...  more »
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  • Great way to spend a couple hours looking at the tools that were once used by each trade. They have each trade separated into different rooms, then all the tools used for that specific trade. The building itself was probably my favorite as it's unique and maze like towards the top.
  • This is a marvelous place..... a great chapter in American history. So happy I stopped here. Doylestown had fabulous eateries & shops. A perfect day.
  • Unfortunately my visit to the town was during a holiday week, so I didn't get to enjoy the inside. However the entire town seemed to be very relaxing and historical and I love to come back for the real experience next time!
  • Amazing collection! A solid snap shot of turn of the century life! Don't forget to climb to the top to see the gallows! Really interesting stuff in there; a must for any history buff!
  • The Mercer Museum is and architectural marvel, created entirely of fast concrete and packed with all the ephemera of past ages. It's historical and fascinating, like time travel to the past.

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