The Mercer Museum is a six-storey reinforced concrete castle designed by Henry Mercer (1856-1930), completed in 1916. Henry Mercer was a child of Doylestown who, having started his professional life as a lawyer, went on to become an archeologist, historian, avid collector, dog lover and a successful tile-designer.
By 1897, Mercer realised that handmade objects were being discarded in favour of new machine-made ones, and felt the need to collect and preserve them, and with them, parts of the daily life in America before the Industrial Revolution. He gathered almost 30,000 items ranging from hand tools to horse-drawn vehicles and, in 1913, began working on plans to build a museum to house his huge collection and share it with the world.
Among the oldest artifacts in the Mercer Museum are a 2,000 year old whale oil lamp and Native American implements dating to 6,000-8,000 BC.
Tip: if you visit on a chilly day, leave your coat on! I think we were the only ones that used the cloakroom, not realising the building is so drafty, we might as well have been outdoors.
February 16th, 2020