Museums, Plant Tours, Avant Garde Arts Give Visitors Lasting
Memories And Family Fun
When it comes to arts & culture
and pop art, few states match the collection found in
Pennsylvania. From east to west, galleries and museums can be
found in almost every major city or town. In smaller towns, rustic
regional art galleries, historic homes and museums provide
visitors with lasting memories and positive impressions.
Museum junkies may choose to visit the
classic, eclectic and accessible in Americana (Zippo, Harley
Davidson), archeology & history, art & sculpture, food
(chocolate, mushrooms, pretzels, etc.), music (guitar, vocal
groups) and much more! Entrance to museums range from free and
"suggested contributions" to fees from $5-10. Here is
just a sampling of what’s available.
Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum -- a
tribute to railroad work and workers. Interactive exhibits,
rolling stock, model trains and gift shop; it’s the best
train-watching stop in North America.
Andy Warhol Museum -- America’s largest
one-artist museum. Seven floors of the Pittsburgh native’s
paintings, drawings, sculpture, and personal archives.
The Mattress Factory -- Founded in 1977, it
is a six-story warehouse where mattresses were made at the turn of
the century, and has commissioned work by more than 70 artists
from around the world. The Mattress Factory has developed an
international reputation as a contemporary museum where artists
are invited to live and work in residency at the
Brandywine River Museum -- peerless
collection of Wyeth family art, includes works by N.C., Andrew and
Jamie -- all in a 19th-century gristmill.
Mummers Museum -- opened in 1976, this
museum houses a collection of Mummers’ costumes and memorabilia.
Philadelphia’s world-famous Mummers Parade dates back to the
1800’s and started as a neighborhood celebration. Display and
exhibits explain its traditions.
Phillips Mushroom Museum -- Pennsylvania’s
leading crop is mushrooms. Exhibits explain the history and
growing of mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms available.
Rodin Museum -- the greatest Rodin
collection outside of Paris. The museum houses 124 sculptures,
including bronze casts of The Thinker.
Wharton Esherick Studio -- although he died
in May 1970, the studio looks like he just stepped out for a
stroll through the woods. A national historic site, the studio
reveals Esherick’s nonconformist creativity through handcrafted
doors and hinges, light switches, stairs, walls, cabinets and even
ceilings -- very hands-on.
In addition to the host of art museums in
Philadelphia, visit the surrounding region. The Barnes Foundation
houses one of the finest private collections of early
Impressionist, post-Impressionist and modern paintings in the
The Foundation houses approximately 2,500
art objects, including more than 800 paintings, among them 180
Renoir, 69 Cézanne, 60 Matisse, and works by Picasso, Manet, and
Van Gogh. The Barnes Foundation took some 80 paintings on a
seven-city world tour to record-breaking attendance from April
1993 - October 1995 to raise funds to restore the Gallery. Advance
Pulitzer-prize winner and author James
Michener left his mark with the James A. Michener Art Museum,
featuring permanent displays chronicling his life and exhibit
space for the works of regional artists. Across the street are
"must-sees" from Renaissance-man Henry Mercer. The
Mercer Museum leaves visitors awe-struck with a fascinating
collection of early-American antiques displayed in a castle-like
museum -- more than 50,000 items are on display.
Next door, the Fonthill Museum’s 44 rooms
are chock-full of decorative tile from 2,000 BC Babylonian clay
tablets to Delft, Persian and Mercer’s own hand-made tiles. Some
tell stories of Columbus, Bluebeard and Dickens.
The Hershey Dutch Region offers a variety of
museums for groups of all ages. The National Toy Train Museum in
Strasburg has five huge operating layouts with hundreds of
locomotives and cars on display. In addition to the trains, there
are video presentations, a reference library and a gift shop. For
more information call 717-687-8976.
In Biglerville, guests can learn everything
they wanted to know about the apple. The National Apple Museum,
offers exhibits, tours and a relative apple history. For museum
hours call 717-677-4556.
Guest’s can go "hog" wild in
York at the Harley-Davidson Inc. Motorcycle Museum-Plant Tour. The
museum tour features the heritage of America’s motorcycle
classics, while the plant tour shows the final assembly of the
famous Harley. Also in York, guests can learn how to bulk up at
the Weightlifting Hall of Fame. Visitors can learn about Olympic
lifting, power lifting, bodybuilding and strongmanism. For more
information call 717-767-6481.
The Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania
is home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s most widely acclaimed works.
Seven scenic miles connect his famous house on the waterfall,
Fallingwater, and Kentuck Knob, his extraordinary home on the
These buildings reflect the innovativeness
of the 1930’s and exemplify the unification of nature and man.
Fallingwater is considered one of the most architecturally
significant buildings in America. For tour hours call
Kentuck Knob, both dramatic and serene,
stands some 2,000 feet above sea level just below the crest of the
hill and appears as though part of the mountain itself. Advance
reservations required for both houses. For more information call
For history buffs, a trip to the Johnstown
Flood Museum is an excellent learning experience. Permanent
exhibits recreate the shocking story of America’s most infamous
disaster that happened 110 years ago. For museum hours call
The Pittsburgh region offers plenty of
diversity with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Museum
of Natural History, which has dinosaurs, mummies, 11 million
different insects and a world-class collection of birds; and the
Carnegie Museum of Art with its impressive array of French
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings by Matisse, Degas,
Van Gogh, Casset and many more. For more information on both
attractions call 412-622-3131.
The Carnegie Science Center features 250
hands-on exhibits, OMNIMAX Theater, interactive planetarium, WWII
submarine, children’s discovery areas, miniature railroad
display, gift shop and restaurant. Call 412-237-3400 for
information on all exhibits.
For more information about Pennsylvania
museums, plant tours and family attractions call 1-800-VISIT-PA to
receive your free copy of the Pennsylvania Visitors Guide, highway
map and the current Events Guide.
In addition to calling 1-800-VISIT-PA,
Pennsylvania’s travel and tourism website (www.state.pa.us/visit)
provides web surfers with detailed information on attractions
throughout the state as well as an updated Events Calendar.
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