Follow us on social

Get to know blendnewyork




blendnewyork seo robot

Show some love!

Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle

Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle

Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle: Two treasured castles in the heart of Bucks County, PA. Yes, we have two castles! They are located one mile apart in the heart of Doylestown, PA, and you will need to buy a separate ticket for each. At the moment, we cannot offer a combination ticket.

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.

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 features local and national traveling exhibits, as well as a core museum collection of over 17,000 pre-Industrial tools. It is famous for the unique way that artifacts are displayed throughout its Central Court as if suspended in mid-air.

By 1897 handmade objects were being discarded in favor of new machine-made goods. Historian and archaeologist Henry Mercer (1856-1930) recognized the need to collect and preserve the outmoded material of daily life in America before it was swept away by the Industrial Revolution. Mercer gathered almost 30,000 items ranging from hand tools to horse-drawn vehicles and assembled this encyclopedic collection in a system of his own devising. To enhance the collection’s educational value, and to share it with the public, Mercer decided to design and build a museum to display the artifacts.

In 1916, Mercer erected a 6-story concrete castle. The towering central atrium of the Museum was used to hang the largest objects such as a whale boat, stage coach and Conestoga wagon. On each level surrounding the court, smaller exhibits were installed in a warren of alcoves, niches and rooms according to Mercer’s classifications — healing arts, tinsmithing, dairying, lighting and so on. The end result of the building is a unique interior that is both logical and provocative. It requires the visitor to view objects in a new way. Henry Mercer donated the building and his collection to the Bucks County Historical Society.

The Mercer Museum has made major advances in collections management and care, exhibitions and interpretation following contemporary museum standards while, at the same time, respecting the historical integrity of the site. The Mercer Museum is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

There are 44 rooms in Fonthill including 10 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms and 18 fireplaces. Fonthill has over 200 windows all of varying sizes!

Fonthill Castle was the home and showplace of Henry Mercer. The castle serves as an early example of reinforced concrete architecture and features forty-four rooms, over two hundred windows and eighteen fireplaces. Fonthill Castle’s interior features Mercer’s renowned, handcrafted ceramic tiles designed at the height of the Arts and Crafts movement. Fonthill Castle is not recommended for those with limited mobility, issues with stairs, those who cannot stand for long periods of time, or those with concerns about small spaces/claustrophobia.

Built between 1908-1912, Fonthill Castle was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramicist, scholar and antiquarian, Mercer built Fonthill Castle both as his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints. The first of three Mercer buildings in Doylestown, Fonthill Castle served as a showplace for Mercer’s famed Moravian tiles that were produced during the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Designed by Mercer, the building is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and is significant as an early example of poured reinforced concrete.

Upon his death in 1930, Mercer left his concrete “Castle for the New World” in trust as a museum of decorative tiles and prints. He gave life rights to Fonthill Castle to his housekeeper and her husband, Laura and Frank Swain. In accordance with Mercer’s Will, Mrs. Swain resided in the house and conducted occasional tours until her death in 1975.

Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle Locations:

MERCER MUSEUM: 84 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA 18901

FONTHILL CASTLE: 525 E. Court Street, Doylestown, PA 18901