Federal Grant Opens the Window to Additional Care for Mercer Museum Collection

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Image via Simon at Creative Commons

A $40,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, is enabling the Mercer Museum to ensure its curated items aren’t in danger of being harmed by streaming sunlight or dripping rain. 

The funding will support the herculean task of surveying all 256 windows, dormers, and skylights located in the original 1916 National Landmark Mercer Museum building in Doylestown. 

Starting this month, a hydraulic lift will be used to survey exterior conditions for all the Mercer Museum’s upper-level windows, dormers and skylights – unreachable otherwise from the ground. The lift work will be followed by additional examination of the exterior of the museum with the aid of an aerial drone to access the castle’s highest windows. 

As the condition of these windows has deteriorated over time, water penetration has threatened certain vulnerable exhibition areas. Museum staff want to ensure that the collections of hand tools, folk art, musical instruments, metalwork, pottery, and a variety of other artifacts remain safe. 

The Bucks County Historical Society’s Vice President of Collections and Interpretation Cory Amsler said, “The architectural marvels left to our community by Henry Mercer – the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle – require an extraordinary amount of care. They are continually threatened both by time and the elements. 

“This project will help us to prioritize and plan our future preservation efforts.” 

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