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[graphic header] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
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[graphic] Mercer Museum


[photo] Mercer Museum
Photograph by Sue Pridemore


[photo] Interior of Mercer Museum
Photograph from the National Register Collection
The Mercer Museum is built entirely of reinforced concrete and is one of the earliest and most impressive examples of this method of construction. Designed by Dr. Henry C. Mercer, anthropologist, antiquarian, artist, writer, tile-maker, and leader in the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts movement, this large concrete building was constructed to house his collection of tools and Americana. The museum contains his vast collection of tools, machines, and implements--everything from grist mills to whaling ships are present in the museum. The Museum resembles a medieval castle, with dovecotes, towers, and turrets. All floors, walls, and window frames are concrete; even more remarkable, the roof is constructed of reinforced concrete. The building is 115 feet high and contains 297 windows. The interior rises around a well, or court, by way of a ramp that winds upward from the ground floor. As the visitor moves along the ramp, 70 alcoves or rooms, which exhibit the tools of 40 crafts, many associated with the nation's history, are presented in an informative manner. In Progressive Architecture, October, 1960, Ilse Reese stated, "Though the effect is often weird and theatrical, this building, with its unique spatial plan and its frank and bold construction techniques should establish Henry Mercer as one of the most important forerunners of the Modern Movement." The log cabin built c.1799 is noteworthy as an example of a building technique seldom seen so well preserved and furnished in the state. The process of moving the cabin to its present location in 1911 was a pioneering method of restoration for the time. The library, which was the first building constructed in 1904, is a fine example of Georgian Revival architecture. The Mercer Museum was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985. The museum is owned by the Bucks County Historical Society, as are the other buildings on this site, and is open to the public.

The Mercer Museum is located at 84 South Pine St., Doylestown. From I-95 take exit 30, follow Rte. 332 to Rte. 413 around New Town to Buckingham, take 202 South to Doylestown and do not take the bypass. Once in Doylestown, take a left on Ashland St., and then a left on Pine St. The Mercer Museum is open Monday-Friday, 10:00am to5:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm to5:00pm, Tuesday evenings 5:00pm to 9:00pm. The Mercer Museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day . There is a fee, please call 215-345-0210 or visit the website for more information.


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