Recipe for Disaster..I mean ADVENTURE!
A Baker’s Dozen of Donuts
Bagels & Cream Cheese
2 sets of Mapquest directions to the wrong address
4 Museum Professions Students
1 Phone GPS Lady who can’t even locate my car
Mix all of these ingredients together in a boat/car named Veronica and you end up with a beautiful scenic drive to the Mercer Museum and Fonthill in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Caution: Finished product may arrive 15-20 minutes later than planned.
I love fieldtrips and our trip for History and Theory of Museums to the Mercer and Fonthill was no exception. A VERY long story short, Bonnie was in charge of navigation. Bad idea. We just happened to go several exits past the one we wanted and ended up taking a much more scenic drive through NJ/PA along the Delaware River. It was a beautiful drive, freckled with quaint little towns, which I hope to go back and visit someday.
The Mercer Museum was created by Henry Mercer: tile-maker, antiquarian, artist, writer, world-traveler and archaeologist. This place is incredible! Mercer completed his museum in 1916 to provide a home to his large collection of everyday American objects. Mercer saw an importance in preserving the everyday objects at a time when industrialization was sweeping America. Their brochure invites you to see “dramatic displays,” DRAMATIC is probably the most appropriate descriptor. You’ll have to go see for yourself but it looks a little something like this…
There is literally stuff attached to ceilings and walls in random fashion. My fellow students and I quite enjoyed checking out the actual gallows they have, along with other interesting ‘death and crime’ instruments.
Fonthill is Mercer’s home located just miles away from the Museum. Imagine a castle: towers, terraces and all, completely adorned inside with hand-crafted tiles. My only regret is that I can’t stay there for a weekend simply looking at the walls. Personal favorite: in one of the home’s 44 rooms there is tile layout depicting Mercer’s travels to a cannibalistic colony. We museum people are known to have a bizarre sense of humor. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to tour through the tile works building, but that’s definitely on my list of things to do next time.
As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes the history of the museum is as interesting as the artifacts in it. The Mercer and Fonthill are definitely these types of museum and I recommend them to anybody traveling in or around Doylestown. Finney’s Pub on Main Street is also worth a try, they serve up a pretty mean cheese steak!
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