Less than an hour's drive from Philadelphia lies Fonthill Castle, a stunning structure completed in 1912 as a home for archaeologist, anthropologist and ceramist, Henry Chapman Mercer.
The Mercer Museum is a history museum of everyday life in America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Henry Mercer (1856-1930) gathered the collection of of tiles and prints and constructed the Museum.
Things to See & Do
- Take the guided tour of this establishment and see 44 elaborate rooms, 32 staircases, and ceilings, walls, and windows decorated with tiles, mosaics and stained glass.
- Explore the collection of some 40,000 objects documents the lives and tasks of early Americans through the tools that met their needs and wants prior to the Industrial Revolution, or about 1850.
- Most of the 55 exhibit rooms and alcoves display the tools or products of an early American craft, trade or occupation.
- Peruse 55 exhibit rooms and alcoves display the tools or products of an early American craft, trade or occupation
- Peer out one of the 200 windows surrounding the castle to see the beautiful countryside.
- Admire the handcrafted tiles within, many from Mercer's own facility, Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, and others collected from his worldwide travels.
Fonthill Castle and Museum Insider Tips
- Guided Tours only.
- Reservations strongly recommended.
- Henry Mercer loved dogs, and his favorite breed was the Chesapeake Bay retriever. He had many of these dogs, some of which were named Jack, Sailor and Larry. Mercer’s favorite at the time of the construction of the Mercer Museum was 'Rollo'. Mercer allowed Rollo to run through wet concrete in the newly constructed parts of the Museum. His enormous paws left equally large prints, which are still evident to Museum visitors on “Rollo’s Stairs” between the fifth and sixth floors today. Fonthill Castle also features “Rollo’s Stairs” – discover paw prints in the concrete stair treads in the Columbus Room.