2016 & Older Past Exhibits


MM_AAlogo_cropped (2)January 30, 2016  – June 12, 2016
Mercer Museum

What did it take for early American settlers to survive in their New World environment?  This  fun and challenging exhibit, based on the experiences of the first Jamestown colonists in  1607-08, immerses visitors in a harrowing ordeal to survive for one year.  Wind your way  through a series of interactive experiences, set within a 2500 square foot maze, and see if you can make it through without “perishing” along the way!  This fun and educational role-playing adventure is designed especially for children, families, and school and other youth groups, and features a zip line, rock climb and many other hands-on, minds-on activities. Created by Seattle-based Minotaur Mazes and the Virginia Living Museum, American Adventure blends history, science, nature and fortune in an exciting interactive environment.

Generously sponsored by:
Visit Bucks County


Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag

Flag_B (2)

July 2, 2016  – November 6, 2016
Mercer Museum

Among the most recognizable icons in the world today, the American flag has enjoyed a long history of graphic renderings and artistic reinterpretations.  Although the Continental Congress agreed in 1777 that the United States flag should be comprised of stars and stripes in red, white, and blue, more than a century passed without formal design regulations, yielding a wealth of exuberant and unbridled creative manifestations of the national banner.

From Civil War-era flags and Native American moccasins to political campaign buttons and original flag art, “Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag” assembles thousands of American flag-related objects and artifacts from the private collection of Kit Hinrichs, one of the world’s leading graphic designers and a partner in the international design firm, Pentagram. Together, the range of objects and memorabilia presented comprise their own genre of folk art and are a unique part of American heritage.

Designed and produced by Kit Hinrichs and the Stars and Stripes Foundation.

Generously sponsored by:
Visit Bucks Count
Mr. & Mrs. Alex Gorsky
Bucks County Republican Committee
Susan E. Kane
Curtis and Carolyn Cowgill
Intercontinental Development

House and Home

HouseJanuary 24, 2015 – March 15, 2015
Mercer Museum

What makes a house a home? Throughout American history, people have lived in all sorts of places, from military barracks and two‐story colonials to college dormitories and row houses. The exhibit embarks on a tour of houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present, to explore the varied history, and many cultural meanings of the American home through film clips, construction materials, domestic artifacts, and photographs

This exhibition has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has been adapted and is being toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance. House & Home was organized by the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., and curated by Sarah Leavitt. Additional support was provided by the Home Depot Foundation.

Generously sponsored by:
Drexel Metals
Raphael Architects
AIA Bucks County – A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects
Eiseman Construction – Roofing and Exterior Renovation Contractors
Happ Contractors Inc
Tom Thomas

Re-Discovering Bucks County Fraktur: Recent Acquisitions

Fraktur BirdFebruary 14, 2015 – April 12. 2015
Mercer Museum

In 1997, the Mercer Museum presented a major exhibit featuring the Pennsylvania-German color drawings and decorated manuscripts known collectively as Fraktur. Though this folk art form was produced nearly everywhere German immigrants settled in America during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the museum’s exhibit focused on those created primarily in Bucks County. This winter, in conjunction with other exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Mercer will mount an exhibit featuring Fraktur pieces acquired by the museum since 1997. These embellished manuscripts were executed by schoolmasters, itinerant scriveners, ministers, and others skilled with pen and brush. On view will be decorated birth and baptismal certificates, student penmanship models and copybooks, rewards of merit, devotional texts, bookplates, and more.

“To Save Our Fellow Citizens”: Volunteer Firefighting, 1800–1875


April 25 – September 7, 2015 

Mercer Museum

For more than 100 years, firefighting was the responsibility of every neighborhood and citizen. The city’s fire companies fervently believed that fighting fire was a community responsibility, best performed by virtuous and heroic men. Paid fireman finally replaced volunteers in 1871, signaling a change in beliefs about public service.

The Mercer Museum’s engaging exhibition will include more than 175 historical firefighting artifacts including tools, colorful parade regalia, apparel, artwork, photographs, fire engines and fire equipment, and other unique items from the Museum’s permanent collection. The all-ages exhibit will also feature hands-on activities for children. The exhibit is included with museum admission.  Visit the Events Calendar to learn about Firefighting exhibit-related programs and craft activities.

Generously sponsored by:
Visit Bucks County
Bucks County Foundation
Tilley Family & Tilley Fire Equipment Company, In Memory of Don Tilley’s Commitment to Volunteer Firefighting
William & Laurie Schutt
Susan E. Kane
Brian & Louise McLeod
Mission Appeal Donors-2014 Cocktails at the Castle Gala
Adopt-An Artifact Campaign Contributors

LEGO® Castle Adventure

High Res Lego KnightOctober 3, 2015 – January 18, 2016
Mercer Museum

Builders of all ages are invited to the Mercer Castle to construct their very own castles using one of the greatest building materials of all time−LEGO® bricks!  Produced by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in cooperation with LEGO Systems, Inc. LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group © 2015 the LEGO Group.  All rights reserved.

For more information on the exhibit, visit our LEGO Castle Adventure Events page.

For more information about special themed birthday parties inspired by the LEGO Castle Adventure exhibit visit our Children’s Birthday Parties page.

Generously sponsored by:
Penn Color
Visit Bucks County
The Meek Foundation
Doylestown Health

Step Right Up! Behind the Scenes of the Circus Big Top, 1890-1965

CircusJanuary 25, 2014-March 16, 2014
Mercer Museum

In an era spanning the early 20th century, through depression-ridden times, a dust bowl, and the Red Scare, one form of revelry thrived – the circus. The Big Top was a thrilling spectacle that burst into towns along the American road and railways. Traveling from coast to coast, rail cars packed with canvas, exotic animal menageries, strongmen, fat ladies, and roustabouts brought a much-needed relief to millions of Americans. Step Right Up! Behind the Scenes of the Circus Big Top, 1890 – 1965 explores a history fraught with intrigue and majesty and gives viewers their chance to run away with the circus. In collaboration with the Tegge Circus Archives, Step Right Up! takes viewers behind the scenes of the circus, exploring the dramatic pageantry, colorful past, and living presense of this grand American theatrical tradition. On display are dozens of colorful posters, costume artifacts, photographs and oral histories from past performers. The exhibit is being traveled by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Generously Sponsored by:
Bucks County Foundation
Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
Eric Geoffrey

Playing Together: Games

Playing-TogatherJanuary 25, 2014 – May 11, 2014
Mercer Museum

Hands-on exhibit invites kids of all ages to explore and play games from around the world and across the centuries. As visitors play together, they not only have fun, they also learn cooperation, build skills, gain knowledge, and share memories. Included are games of strategy, math, luck and physical coordination. The focal point of the exhibit is an oversized chess board with giant playing pieces. Also included is a “House of Cards” play area, where visitors can try out a variety of other board games while enjoying the exhibit. Accompanying the interactive portion of the exhibit is a display of original board games from the 1800s and early 1900s, from the Judy and Bud Newman Collection. These early games feature stunning color lithography, interesting playing pieces, and intriguing content. Playing Together: Games was designed and built by the Children’s Museum of Memphis for the Youth Museum Exhibit Collaborative.

Generously sponsored by:
Judy & Bud Newman
Susan E. Kane

America’s Road: The Journey of Route 66

America-RoadMay 31, 2014 – August 24, 2014
Mercer Museum

This exhibit takes visitors on a geographical and historical tour of the iconic highway, from the highway’s opening in 1926, up to the present day. Graphic displays, props, artifacts, interpretive text, and interactive experiences – including a drive-in theater and a period radio show – help deliver the story. Themes include American migration, the evolution of automotive travel, roadside architecture, and technological and cultural innovation. Included, too, with the exhibit is a photo essay created by photographer and author Russell Olsen. Olsen researched and photographed 75 classic service stations, motor courts, restaurants and other sites along Route 66. The Mercer Museum will augment the exhibit with vintage automobiles and other items of automotive culture. On display, will be a 1969 Mercedes 600 (short-wheelbase), once owned by Elvis Presley. Route 66 is produced and traveled by NRG! Exhibits of Kirkland, Washington.

Generously sponsored by:
Visit Bucks County
Fred Beans
Glenmede Investment and Wealth Management
Goldman Law Offices
David & Doree Wickman

For All the World to See: Visual Culture & the Struggle for Civil Rights

LifeSeptember 6, 2014-October 26, 2014
Mercer Museum

The exhibit examines the role that visual culture played in shaping and transforming the struggle for racial equality in America from the late 1940’s to the mid-1970’s. Through a compelling assortment of photographs, television clips, art posters, and historic artifacts, For All the World to See traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern civil rights movement and jolted Americans, both black and white, out of a state of denial or complacency.  Also on view, the companion exhibits: The Negative Imagery of Race: 100 Years of Stereotyping and A Selection of Quilts by Linda Salley in Honor of the African American Museum of Bucks County.

Exhibit is made possible through NEH on the Road. Adapted from an original show organized by The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.

Generously sponsored by:
William Penn Foundation
Tom and Patti* Thomas
Brian & Louise McLeod
Honorable Clyde W. Waite & Verna Hutchinson

Support for programming provided by: The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Pennsylvania Abolition Society, Melissa V. Bond, Attorney, Ceile E. Hedberg, Norman & Inez Bing, Joyce A. Hadley, Yvette E. Taylor-Hachoose and On Demand! Programs and Events.

Line Drives and Lipstick: The Untold Story of Women’s Baseball

BaseballJanuary 26, 2013 – March 17, 2013
Mercer Museum

This winter, as baseball fans anxiously await spring training and the opening of the 2013 season, they can get a good early dose of America’s national pastime in this exhibit featuring the history of women in the sport. While the 1992 film, A League of Their Own, introduced contemporary audiences to the WWII-era All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, women’s baseball actually began with the creation of the Vassar College team in 1866. Women were paid to play ball less than a decade later, and a surprising number of women were included on 20th-century men’s teams. Linedrives and Lipstick documents this forgotten side of America’s pastime with 48 images and 15 objects selected from one of the nation’s largest collections of women’s baseball memorabilia. Linedrives and Lipstick is a program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The exhibit was generously sponsored by: Visit Bucks County.

Turning Points: Civil War, 1863-1864

Civil-warApril 26-August 25, 2013
Mercer Museum

One hundred and fifty years ago, America was deeply divided and embroiled in a Civil War. Though the conflict pitted North against South, even communities above the Mason Dixon Line were not unified in their outlook on the Civil War and its aims. The Mercer’s new exhibit examines how local citizens in Bucks County and the nearby Delware Valley navigated the war’s most pivotal years. The 3500 square foot exhibit contains more than 300 artifacts, documents and images from the Mercer’s collection that tell the story of citizens like Benjamin “Big Ben” Jones, a freedom-seeking former slave who settled in Bucks County. Visitors can participate in the exhibit by casting a vote in the 1864 Lincoln-McClellan election, exploring a camp tent to see how soldiers lived, and trying on period reproduction clothing.

We are extremely grateful to the following sponsors who have provided vital funding to make this extraordinary exhibition possible.

County of Bucks, Office of Commissioners
Penn Color, Inc.
Mission Appeal Donors-2012 Cocktails at the Castle Campaign
Adopt an Artifact Campaign Contributors
The First Niagara Foundation
David and Doree Wickman
Friends of the Bucks County Historical Society

Mystery of the Mayan Medallion

MysterySeptember 21, 2013 – January 12, 2014
Mercer Museum

An archaeological team has mysteriously disappeared from a dig site in Palenque, Mexico! They had been investigating a long-standing rumor that a priceless jade medallion is buried in the temple there. However, something horrifying has scared them off. Luckily, in their haste to escape, they managed to leave behind a video with clues and a warning to all who come after. Now, young archeologists must uncover the mystery of the dig site and find the priceless treasure. The Mystery of the Mayan Medallion invites families and school groups to learn more about the sophisticated Maya civilization, recognized for its advanced writing and mathematical systems, and knowledge of astronomy. In this immersive exhibit, visitors translate glyphs, discover which rainforest animals are poisonous, learn how the Mayans recorded dates, make rubbings from a sarcophagus, and interpret a “battle” mural. Exhibit components include archeology, biology and astro-mathematics field stations, an observatory and a tomb.

The Mystery of the Mayan Medallion has been developed by the Arkansas Discovery Network, a statewide museum partnership operated by the Museum of Discovery, Little Rock, Arkansas. The Arkansas Discovery Network was established through a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Mystery of the Mayan Medallion was generously sponsored by:
Millham Insurance Agency
Brian and Louise McLeod
The Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia
The Mexican Cultural Center
Cesar Viveros, Artist


Apron Chronicles: A Patchwork of American Recollections

ApronOctober 6, 2012 – January 13, 2013
Mercer Museum

Aprons don’t hold us back, they take us back.  This nostalgic, thought-provoking traveling exhibit combines vintage aprons with powerful photographic portraits, and a series of poignant personal narraties about aprons and those who wear them.  The diverse storytellers include a 111-year old mother and her only child, a Holocaust survivor, a biology professor from Mali, Africa, and a preteen and her grandmother.  Curator, EllynAnne Geisel and award-winning photographer, Kristina Loggia have used the apron as a symbol, recognized by everyone, to create an exhibit more about life than about fabric.  Organized by Grassroots Royalty, LLC.

The exhibit was generously sponsored by: Visit Bucks County


Stitches in Time: Bucks County Needlework Samplers

StitchesSeptember 8, 2012 – November 15, 2012
Mercer Museum

Stitches in Time examines over 50 samplers from the Mercer Museum’s permanent collection, many of which had never been exhibited before. The exhibit also contained borrowed pieces from premiere private collections and prestigious local museums. The exhibit featured 18th and 19th century Quaker samplers, exploring how they were influenced by the English.

The exhibit was generously supported by:



 The Hunt for Treasure!

HuntJune 22-September 23, 2012
Mercer Museum

This interactive exhibit explores the intrigue and thrill of treasure and treasure hunting.  Hunt for Treasure!  invites visitors to learn more about shipwrecks, pirates and other treasure seekers, and the tools and methods used in treasure hunting – past and present. Organized by NRG! Exhibits.

 Bold Patterns, Bright Colors: Graphic Pennsylvania Quilts, 1850-1915

GraphicMay 5, 2012 – July 29, 2012
Mercer Museum

More than twenty stunning quilts from the collection of Paul and Rita Flack displayed. Selected for their vivid colors, and dramatic graphical elements, the quilts are particularly expressive of Pennsylvania-German textile traditions, especially those of the Mennonites. The assembled textiles represent some forty years of collecting for Flack. Textiles were supplemented by quilt-related artifacts from the Mercer collections.

 Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow: Living with the Atomic Bomb, 1945-1965

AtomicApril 6, 2012 – May 28, 2012
Mercer Museum

The dropping of atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 served as the closing chapter of World War II. For most Americans, the immediate reaction to the atomic bomb was relief: it had ended the war. But as the United States celebrated, it also braced itself for the uncertain future of the Atomic Age. For the next two decades, the looming threat of Atomic war dominated American society and culture. Through period artifacts, graphics, and audio and video recordings, “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” explores the ways in which Americans experienced the Atomic Age and atomic threat as part of their daily lives. A Program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


ToytimeDecember 17, 2011 – April 1, 2012
Mercer Museum

Folk toys have been a part of our heritage for centuries.Take a journey back to a time when play was just plain FUN! ToyTime, the first traveling exhibit to open in the Mercer Museum’s new state-of-the-art exhibition gallery, showcased life-size versions of some of the most popular action folk toys from around the world. Crafted entirely of wood, the sixteen interactive toy stations let visitors explore the fun and mechanics behind the Amazing Acrobat, Bouncing Bird, Jacob’s Ladder, Pecking Chickens, Tightrope Walker, Twirling Tops, Tumbling Toys, Walking Wonder, Whimmy Diddle and more.

The exhibit is provided by Museum Productions LLC.

ToyTime was generously sponsored by:
Bucks County Conference & Visitors Bureau
Bud & Judy Newman
Bucks County Foundation

 A World of Things: The Mercer Museum A-Z

Mercer-MuseumJune 18, 2011 – November 27, 2011
Mercer Museum

The Mercer Museum’s first exhibit in its new, state-of-the-art exhibition gallery, A World of Things: The Mercer Museum A-Z, offers a fresh look at the museum, its collections and its history. The exhibit features a diverse sampling of the museum’s renowned collections and includes “S is for Shoes that Speak” as several pairs of shoes narrate their life stories. Visitors then get the chance to tell the story of their own shoes in the activity, “Your Show of Shoes.” A “Design Your Own Mousetrap” activity looks at the process of invention and innovation while the “Create A Castle,” interactive lets visitors put together photographs of Mercer’s concrete castle buildings in different and creative ways.

Support for this exhibition was generously provided by:

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
County of Bucks
Bucks County Conference and Visitors’ Bureau
Warwick Foundation of Bucks County



“Lucy” the horse was part of the work crew that built both Fonthill and the Mercer Museum. She hoisted the loads of mixed concrete up to workers.
Rollo's Fact 5

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• 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.

• The Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle will open at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 5, 2023.

• Fonthill Castle will close early on Saturday, October 7, 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.