Saturday, August 4, 2012

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax— Of cabbages—and kings"—and quilts!

 A few weeks ago, when I read Kathie of Inspired by Antique Quilts' post about her trip to the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA to see a collection of Mennonite quilts, I said to Dave, "Let's go!"  Ever up for a road trip, he agreed and that very day we drove down to Doylestown and discovered the wonderful resource that is the Mercer Museum.  Henry Mercer was a collector of Americana, particularly every-day objects and handmade tools that were used in daily life before the Industrial Revolution.  His collection reached 30,000 objects, so to house them, he build a concrete museum that was completed in 1916.

What a treasure trove!  The museum has six floors that surround a center space (you could call it an atrium, but it's crammed with stuff hanging from the ceiling and the columns, things like buggies and wagons and whaling boats (complete with harpoons!)

 Each of the floors has niches or rooms in which are displayed tools and equipment for every part of 18th and 19th century life in America.

 Although Mercer found objects at flea markets and auctions, one of his big purchases was the entire contents of the Feasterville, PA country store.  In this corner of the store are all the sewing and clothing items.

Sewing items

Match your needle to your machine!

I have a young friend who is starting a business teaching canning and preserving.  This room holds everything she would ever need if she wanted to do it the old fashioned way!  That big kettle in the back is for apple butter.

 The baking equipment hasn't changed much!

Madeleines, anyone?

Bowls, baskets and molds

 But sewing certainly has!  I'm glad I don't have to heat my iron on the stove or wash my clothes with a washboard (although we certainly had a washboard when I was a child and I remember using it for stubborn dirt!)

 This little beauty is only one of several sewing machines in the tailor's room.

 This is only a small selection of the rooms in the museum!

Mercer also collected painted Pennsylvania chests. Here are two beautiful examples.

 And cast iron stove fronts!

 Mercer was a ceramicist and made painted tiles.  This is a wall of tiles telling Bible stories.

 My favorite is Adam and Eve.

If you are at all interested in American History, I'm sure you would enjoy at trip to Doylestown and the Museum.  On the same campus is Mercer's home which is open to the public and the Michener Museum, and art museum named for the author.  We are definitely going to return to see what we missed!

 In my next post, I'll show you the gorgeous Mennonite quilts that led us to the Mercer Museum in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I would love to have gone with you! Very cool place.