Simple Machines

The Mercer Museum is a six-story reinforced concrete castle designed by Henry Mercer and completed in 1916. Today, it is one of Bucks County’s premier cultural attractions and a Smithsonian affiliate.

The museum complex features local and national traveling exhibits, as well as a core museum collection of over 50,000 pre-Industrial tools. This permanent collection offers visitors a unique window into pre-Industrial America through sixty different crafts and trades, and is one of the world’s most comprehensive portraits of pre-Industrial American material culture.

The history behind humanity’s development and use of tools was at the core of Henry Mercer’s original interests, and was central to his collecting and research. The Mercer Museum’s collection of everyday objects offers numerous practical examples of the physical and mechanical principles that served as the building blocks of modern technology. A visit to the Mercer Museum reveals essential early American tools on display that demonstrate how simple machines made pre-industrial life easier.

The Mercer Museum education team offers special elementary-level school programs for group visits that are focused on simple machines.

Simple Machines (Grades 3-5, 25-30 students per group, 10 student minimum, 1-hr program)
Inspired by the museum’s collection of pre-Industrial hand tools, students investigate six simple machines, explore how these machines make work easier, and work together to build a Simple Machines mobile. Students are encouraged to make connections between the program and their visit to the museum, where they encounter the tools and machines that met the wants and needs of 18th– and early 19th-century Americans.

Simple Machines One-Hour Program:
$50 program fee, plus $5 per student.
Mercer Sampler Program (sampling of two/three school programs in a condensed format):
$50 program fee per program, plus $5 per student.

Simple Machines School Group Information

To learn more or to book your visit, please email Dan Miller, Program Manager of Reservations & Group Tours, at


The Research Library of the Mercer Museum houses over 20,000 books, 2500 feet of county archives, over 12,000 images and more!
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