Awaken ______: An Experimental Exhibit

In 2019, the Mercer Museum, operated by the Bucks County Historical Society, received a $230,000 grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to support a major initiative over a period of two and a half years entitled, “Plus Ultra: Awakening the Mercer Museum Core.”

Inspired by the Latin motto Plus Ultra, or “more beyond”, the Mercer Museum’s founder Henry Mercer spent his life as an archaeologist, historian, tile maker, storyteller, collector, and advocate for human ingenuity.

This experimental, capacity-building project, the first of its kind for the organization, allows the museum to prototype and transform various empty rooms in the original historic core of the Mercer Museum castle into intimate spaces designed for meaningful experiences through the power of objects.

Supported by a vast collection of historic artifacts, the project is a new framework for creating Mercer Museum exhibits that engage the community. It is experimental in nature – a project that builds capacity on how to plan exhibits in the future and learn more about the communities the museum wishes to engage.

Awaken ______:  An Experimental Exhibit offers visitors a reimagined and awakened Mercer Museum experience, reinventing unused museum spaces into areas in which to engage more deeply with the collections and one another. It will reintroduce the Mercer Museum in a fresh, unexpected and exciting way. These exhibits are meant to be working prototypes, not polished exhibits in the traditional sense, and are designed to offer “mini-excursions” adjacent to the larger experience of the Mercer Museum core.

This project will offer visitors three prototypes to explore over the next two years:

  • Prototype A:  April-End of 2021
  • Prototype B:  2022 Exact Dates TBD
  • Prototype C: 2022 Exact Dates TBD

Learn more on our exhibit website

Awaken ______: An Experimental Exhibit has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.



There are 44 rooms in Fonthill including 10 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms and 18 fireplaces. Completed in 1910 Fonthill boasted modern conveniences- 2 dumbwaiters, an Otis elevator, an intercom buzzer system and phones to communicate within the house.

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Please see our mask recommendations here. Please note that the Mercer Museum will close early for a private event on Friday, December 10, and Saturday, December 11, 2021. The last time slot on both days will be 1:00 p.m – 3:00 p.m. Fonthill Castle will close early on Tuesday, December 14, and Wednesday, December 15, 2021, for private events. The last tours on both days will take place at 2:45 p.m. For weekend tickets to Fonthill Castle in December, please visit our Holidays in Fonthill Castle webpage.