Visiting the Library

The Mercer Museum Research Library is a 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 880 manuscript collections, more than 12,000 images, and maps and other records. These items document not only local history, but the life and work of Henry Chapman Mercer and early American technology, culture and folk art.

Interested in delving more deeply into the collections? Explore our online catalogs here.

Admission to the Mercer Museum Research Library is included either in a museum entrance ticket or with a Bucks County Historical Society membership. BCHS 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.


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.

Archival materials are housed in secure storage and are brought out to patrons by a member of Library staff. Patrons will be given one archival item at a time.


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 Research 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 Assistant Collections Manager, Emma Falcon  (  or 215-345-0210 ext. 117). Please see our Photographic Rights and Reproductions page for more details.

Professional cameras, overhead photography equipment, and additional lighting are not permitted without prior arrangement. The use of personal flatbed scanners is not permitted.

Photocopies for research purposes can be made of most Research Library collections. Library staff reserves the right to refuse photocopying due to age and condition of collection items. Printed copies can be produced from microfilm. 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.

For more information please reach out to Head Librarian and Archivist, Alexandra DeAngelis ( or 215-345-0210 ext. 141.)


There are 44 rooms in Fonthill including 10 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms and 18 fireplaces.
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• The Mercer Museum will close early at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, 2023 for a private event.

• Fonthill Castle will close early on Saturday, September 30, 2023 for a private event. The final tour of the day will start at 2:00 p.m.

Full schedule and ticket information can be found here.