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National Canal Museum, Easton

(4.1/5 based on 75 reviews on the web)
The National Canal Museum is a history and technology museum located in Easton, Pennsylvania.It is run by Hugh Moore Historical Park & Museum, Inc., which is also responsible for Hugh Moore Park, The Emrick Technology Center, Locktender's House Museum and the canal boat ride, Josiah White II.The National Canal Museum resides in Hugh Moore Park, located just west of Easton.HistoryThe National Canal Museum opened in 1970 as a joint cooperative effort between the City of Easton's Hugh Moore Park Commission and the Pennsylvania Canal Society. Sitting at the fork between the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, this small Museum was intended to highlight and operate Hugh Moore Park.The Museum had been a destination for people interested in the canal, as well as school trips looking for information about transportation. In 1978 with the addition of the Josiah White, the canal boat ride became a distinctive part of a visit to the National Canal Museum.In 1982 The Museum's Exhibits were redesigned to make the museum a National Museum of the towpath canal era. This redesign also acted as a catalyst for the expansion into the industrial heritage of the Lehigh Valley.During this period, the National Canal Museum began hosting several major events, including the annual Canal Festival and annual Canal History and Technology Symposium, the latter being held at Lafayette College. By 1985, the Museum was realizing the ability for a complete collection and archival ability of important artifacts of both the canal era and the industrial revolution.In 1996, the National Canal Museum moved to downtown Easton into Two Rivers Landing in an effort to revitalize the downtown district. Since that time, Two Rivers Landing receives an average of 250,000 visitors each year. Beginning in 2002, the Museum began a campaign to recreate the museum to add hands-on activities to the existing exhibits. A proposal to the National Science Foundation(NSF) resulted in a grant of $1.4 Million, later supplemented to $2 million for the creation of exhibits based on their proposal "Science and Technology of Canals and Inland Waterways."
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  • I visited this museum with 3 kids (2, 7, 9) and all of them had fun. Little one because she liked playground outside and mules, oldest enjoyed all day there. A ride on canal boat pulled by mules was s...  more »
  • Far away from the screaming machines and people, this venue offers a snail's pace ride. Our sons found it entertaining and were able to recall lots of facts later. They were unaware of heating with co...  more »
  • Went during the end of summer. You take a ride on a canal boat pulled by mules. This was the way they carried the coal on the canals. The guide was very informative and answered all your questions. Th...  more »
  • We signed up for a dinner cruise on the canal boat, and it was a great time! Our tickets also included admission to the museum. We boarded the boat at 5:20 pm, and we left the dock promptly at 5:30 pm. The mules pulled us to lock #47 while a speaker shared the history of Bethlehem Steel and the canals. After we exited the lock and they turned the boat around, they started serving dinner, and the entertainer played live music. We arrived back at the dock at 8 pm. A note about dinner. You sit on benches on the top of the boat covered with a canopy. Dinner is served buffet-style down below. You walk down the steps, get a cafeteria tray, plastic plates and silverware, drinks, and dessert. The caterers were Culinary Experts from the Allentown Fairground Markets. The theme of the dinner was Eastern European since that was the ethnicity of many of the canal boat operators. The food was excellent! The menu included the following: Pepper Slaw, Stuffed Cabbages with Rice and Ground Beef and Tomato Sauce, Chicken Paprikas with Buttered Egg Noodles (All White Meat Chicken Breast), Hungarian Potato & Cheese Pierogi Sautéed with Butter and Onions, Broccoli Florets in Butter Sauce with Fire Roasted Peppers, and Assorted Kiffles. After you have your food, you walk back up the stairs, sit on your bench with the tray on your lap, and eat. They provide assistance if you can't do the stairs and it is BYOB. It's a little crude, and they want it that way so that you can see that this was not a glamorous life living and working on a canal boat. Next time, we'll bring a cooler with our own water. Since it was so hot, we wore shorts. Reservations and prepayment are required, and it books up fast. We were there on a 100 degree August evening, and it was steamy! It is a rain/ shine event. If there is lightning or stores, they will not take the boat out and will move the event inside the museum.
  • Very friendly people. Great displays. A lot of interactive things for kids.
  • My children love playing here. So calm and quiet.
  • I was there on Halloween... And it was a very cool history experience.