Visitors to Doylestown’s Mercer Museum have experienced the institution’s collection in the same way since Henry Mercer founded the museum over a hundred years ago. With the help a Pew Center for Arts & Heritage grant, the museum plans to experiment with a new more intimate way to see their objects.
The $230,000 grant supports the Mercer’s “Plus Ultra: Awakening the Mercer Museum Core” initiative. Through this project, museum staff will redesign two currently empty rooms in the core of the castle. The reinvented rooms will serves as prototypes for new exhibit designs that are community-centric and emphasize active learning through objects.
Kyle McKoy, president and executive director of the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle believes the project will support Mercer’s original mission. “Mercer founded the museum in 1916 to house his collection of early American material culture, to encourage people to see beyond the mundane, and to view ordinary objects in extraordinary ways. Moving forward, we wish to preserve this awe-inspiring collection while exploring new, community created opportunities to engage with our objects in more personal ways, including multisensory experiences, live demonstrations by artists and craftspeople, as well as storytelling,” he said.
Ultimately, museum staff hope the project will provide an opportunity for the institution to engage more deeply with the local community.