DOYLESTOWN, PA – Five hundred artifacts from the Mercer Museum’s historic 1916 central courtyard will be cataloged, inventoried, cleaned and appraised thanks to a grant to the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS).
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded the Mercer Museum a matching grant of $111,907 through its Museums for America grant program, which will support the museum’s goal of preserving and providing access to collections entrusted to it.
The grant will allow the museum to conduct a full inventory, clean, catalog and assess the condition of the objects that are freestanding and suspended from the ceilings and mezzanines of the museum’s historic central courtyard.
Starting this month, a hydraulic elevator will be used to inspect the artifacts suspended in the heart of the Mercer Museum, otherwise inaccessible from the ground. The survey is expected to be completed in 2024.
In the meantime, the grant project team will photograph artifacts and collections, assess lighting conditions, and conduct historical and contextual research to inform future planning for the museum and enhance the knowledge of museum staff and guests. .
In the future, Central Court artifact data could improve visitor engagement through an online catalog, as well as in person at the museum.
Henry Mercer’s unusual display of artifacts “wowed” visitors in 1916 when the museum opened, and Mercer’s vision continues to evoke surprise, awe, and curiosity in modern visitors. By documenting and gathering historical information about the approximately 500 artifacts at the heart of the museum, this project aims to satisfy that curiosity and fill any gaps in knowledge about the artifacts.
“This project will allow the museum to more fully document the collections in the central courtyard, perform comprehensive up-close photography, and steer us toward new creative methods of delivering this content to future guests,” said the Vice President of collections of the Bucks County Historical Society. and Acting Cory Amsler.
The Mercer Museum project was one of 120 projects nationwide funded by IMLS’s Museums for America grant program in 2022. Of those 120 grants, only eight were for projects in Pennsylvania. The matching portion of the Mercer Museum grant, $112,504.00, is funded by community contributions and museum operating funds.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for libraries and museums nationwide. They advance, support, and empower museums, libraries, and related organizations in the United States through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities.
The project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.