The Mercer Museum, operated by the Bucks County Historical Society, announced its new major exhibit opens on Friday, Oct. 15 and runs through Sunday, April 10. “Found, Gifted, Saved! The Mercer Museum Collects Local History” will open in the Martin & Warwick Foundation Galleries at the museum.
The exhibit displays a staggering array of artifacts collected by the BCHS between the years of 2000 and 2021. These objects, images and documents help illuminate the people, history and culture of Bucks County.
The exhibit consists of a series of thematic groupings that connect diverse objects, images and documents in a meaningful and thought-provoking way. These groupings are intended to suggest themes that range chronologically and geographically across Bucks County’s past. The themes on display are:
Made in Bucks: Includes objects crafted, manufactured and marketed in Bucks County, from the 18th through the 20th centuries
The Way We Played: Features artifacts from the 19th and 20th centuries related to sports, games and children’s play in Bucks County
The Times of Our Lives: Includes items that accompany the stages of life – infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age; this group also includes important rites of passage and rituals, such as baptism, marriage and funeral customs
A Diverse People: Features artifacts, documents and images that illustrate Bucks County’s historical racial, ethnic and gender diversity, as well as those that document the arrival of immigrants to Bucks County
What We Wore: Includes a broad sampling of men’s and women’s head-, foot- and outerwear from different periods in Bucks County’s past
Thank You for Your Service: Displays objects, images and documents representing Bucks County residents in service to their country and community
Which Side Are You On? Politics & Social Movements: Features political campaign and election materials, labor union artifacts, and items connected with various social or environmental movements
The Way We Worked & The Tools We Carried: Includes a variety of items used or carried by local laborers, objects that represent various types of workplaces, and images depicting the working lives of Bucks County’s people
It Pays to Advertise!: Features numerous examples of advertising and commercial ephemera created to promote local businesses and industries
Going to School in Bucks County: Includes objects and images related to public and private education and students’ school day experiences in Bucks County
Wish You Were Here – Visiting Bucks County: Exhibits materials related to Bucks County’s long history of attracting tourists, day-trippers, artists, celebrities and seasonal visitors, especially in the 20th century
Collecting the Now: Materials in this segment reflect some contemporary events, issues and concerns, collected while these events were happening
Staff Picks: Mercer Museum staff have their own ideas about what local materials BCHS should collect and why; this regularly-changing segment of the exhibition will highlight artifacts or images that staff members find particularly interesting, relevant or evocative
“A huge challenge for museums collecting local history is to adequately represent – in objects, images and documents – the full complexity of a community’s past and the diversity of its people,” said Cory Amsler, BCHS’s vice president of collections and interpretation. “We hope this exhibit launches a conversation with visitors about what we have been able to capture, what we have missed, and whether the things we’ve acquired help tell the stories that are most important and relevant to us as Bucks County residents.”
Members of the BCHS are invited to preview the exhibit early at a dedicated Member Morning on Friday, Oct. 15, with reserved timed-ticket entry exclusively offered for members online.
“Found, Gifted, Saved! The Mercer Museum Collects Local History” is included with general Mercer Museum admission. In addition, the museum, located at 84 S. Pine Street in Doylestown, will host a slate of community programs related to the exhibit throughout the season. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. via timed-entry slots. Advance tickets are highly recommended. Visit mercermuseum.org for more information.