Visiting the Library

The Mercer Museum Library is the major research center for local and family history related to Bucks County and the surrounding region. With its roots in the founding of the Bucks County Historical Society in 1880, the Library houses over 20,000 books, periodicals and pamphlets, 2,500 feet of county government archives, over 800 manuscript collections, more than 12,000 images, and maps and other records that document not only local history, but the life and work of Henry Chapman Mercer and early American technology, culture and folk art.

Admission to the Mercer Museum Research Library is included either in a museum entrance ticket or with a Bucks County Historical Society membership. Members get unlimited free admission to the Library in addition to the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle. 

Current library hours are listed below:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE

Researchers must sign in at the Reference Desk at the beginning of each visit. 

For collection security, personal belongings such as briefcases, purses, laptop cases, and jackets are not permitted in the Reading Room. Cubbies, lockers, and coat hangers are provided to store those items until your research is complete. 

Researchers are permitted to bring note-taking material only into the Reading Room, which includes laptops, iPads, notebooks, folders, and pencils. For collection preservation, the use of pens, markers, sticky notes, and metal fasteners are not permitted. 

Patrons may help themselves to books shelved in the Reading Room but are asked to leave books on carts to be re-shelved by Library staff. Call slips are available to request collection items from closed storage and must be filled out in order to view them. Patrons will be given one archival item at a time.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTOCOPIES

Digital photography — including the use of cell phone cameras — is permitted in the Reading Room for a daily use fee of $5.00. Please request an “On-Site Photography Permission Form” and return to Library staff prior to photography. Items not permitted to be photographed are visual and graphic materials and items too fragile to be handled. 

Images from the Mercer Museum and Library, and Fonthill Castle collections may be requested for personal use, research purposes, and both commercial and non-commercial forms of publication. Requests for graphic materials must be directed to the Collections Assistant (curasst@mercermuseum.org or 215-345-0210 ext. 117). Please see our Photographic Rights and Reproductions page for more details. 

Professional cameras, copy-stands and additional lighting are also not permitted without prior arrangement.

Photocopies for research purposes can be made of most Library collections. Copies on 8.5 x 11 inch paper are $0.50 per page; copies on 11 x 17 inch paper are $0.60 per page. Payment for photocopies can be made by cash or check. The library cannot accept credit cards as payment. Copies can be produced from microfilm. Library staff reserves the right to refuse photocopying due to age and condition of collection items.

For more information about the library, call our reference desk at 215-345-0210 ext. 141.

ROLLO'S FACTS

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.
Rollo's Fact 7

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Please note that Fonthill Castle will close early on Friday, October 1, & Saturday, October 2 for private events. On both days the last tour will take place at 2pm. Please see our mask recommendations here.
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