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BKM Guide to Museums in Lancaster County: Home

Learn about the many museums Lancaster county has to offer, including some you can visit for free with a pass from your local library!

National Watch & Clock Museum

The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Historic Rock Ford

Wright’s Ferry Mansion

Boehm's Chapel

Cocalico Valley Historical Society

Conestoga Area Historical Society

Ephrata Cloister

Hands-on House

LancasterHistory.org

President James Buchanan's Wheatland

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society

Lancaster Science Factory

Landis Valley Museum

North Museum

While we normally have fifteen passes that can be checked out by patrons, as indicated in the "Museums List," there are only a few currently available. To view them in the catalog, click on the blue links. For instructions on how to place online holds, see the tab "Creating and Account & Placing Holds Online." Information about each pass is listed below. Please note that museum passes are for two weeks only and are not renewable. They must also be checked out by an adult and must be used during the museum's open hours. Calling ahead before visiting with your pass is recommended. 

 

This guide will help you learn about all the wonderful museums Lancaster County has to offer. It will also let you see which are currently open and which have a museum pass that can be checked out for free entry. All images are from lancastercountymuseums.org, where you can go for more info about these museums. For information on how to how to place holds online, see the tab labeled "Creating an Account & Placing Holds Online."

Museums List

Museums with passes that can be checked out from the library have an asterisk (*) at the end of their description. See the "Museum Passes" box for information on the passes currently in circulation. 

Boehm's Chapel was the first church built in Lancaster back in 1791. It is a popular site for weddings and is open for tours.

Cocalico Valley Historical Society is the site of both a museum and a research library, but is currently closed to the public.

Conestoga Area Historical Society is both a museum and a collection of historical buildings, including a log home built in 1733, a stone house and tavern from 1748, a blacksmith shop from 1880, a tannery from 1812, and a broom-making shop. It is open Sundays from 1 to 4 pm May 2 through November 28.

Ephrata Cloister was established in 1732 as a monastic settlement and became known for its art, music, and publications. Its buildings were used as a hospital for soldiers during the Revolutionary War. It is open Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 12 to 4.*

EPAC (Ephrata Performing Arts Center) Theatre is not a museum but a lively source of local entertainment. Some of their shows that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home.*

Hands-on House is a museum designed for young children (2-10) to explore learning via play. It features STEM activities and classes as well as interactive exhibits and is currently open. Pre-registration before visiting is encouraged.*

1719 Hans Herr House and Museum features the oldest home in the county and the oldest Mennonite meeting place in the North America. The site also contains various other historical buildings, including a reproduction of a Native American longhouse. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.*

The Johannes Mueller House was built in 1792 and restored in 1964 by the Lititz Historical Society. Visit for guided tours in costume and a unique gift shop. Note that it is only open Memorial Day through the last Saturday in October.*

LancasterHistory is a museum, research center, and the location of Wheatland, President James Buchanan's homestead. It is reopening to the public on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at a limited capacity. Registering in advance is encouraged.*

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society is both a museum and library that focuses on the Mennonite and Amish history of the county. It is open Tuesday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

Lancaster Science Factory is an interactive museum for kids (7-13) with a strong emphasis on STEM education. They also host workshops, trivia nights, and parties. They are currently open for limited hours.*

Lancaster Symphony Orchestra is currently offering free virtual performances through their facebook page and their youtube channel.*

Landis Valley Museum is an open air museum designed to help both children and adults learn about the lives of early German settlers in PA. It features both historical interpreters and live animals as well as special exhibitions. It is open with limited hours and capacity.*

National Watch & Clock Museum contains the largest collection of timekeeping devices in North America. Its exhibits will take you all the way back to the Stone Age with over 13,000 timepieces included. It is currently open Tues-Sat.*

North Museum of Nature & Science features many STEM exhibits including a planetarium and a live animal room. They are currently selling STEM kits for children learning from home and are open Wednesday through Sunday.*

The Phillips Museum of Art (F&M) hosts both permanent and temporary exhibits and art installations. It is also the site of various lectures, film screenings, and events, but its currently open only to F&M students, faculty, and staff.

Railroad Museum of PA offers a collection of over 100 railroad cars and locomotives from throughout history. It also includes an extensive archive and library. They are offering several virtual activities including educational programs and is open with limited hours.*

Historic Rock Ford is a Georgian plantation, once the home of Edward Hand who served as George Washington's Adjutant General. It is open for tours.*

STEM Make 717 is located on the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology campus and provides a space for innovators of all ages to create. They currently have 3D printers, various computers, CAD and design software, electronic coding resources, a laser cutter, various machines including sewing and embroidery, woodworking equipment, and much more available for use.*

National Toy Train Museum is built to replicate a historical train station and contains a large toy train collection with pieces dating back to the 1800s. It also houses the National Toy Train Library of toy train publications and history. It is open on weekends.*

Wright's Ferry Mansion was built in 1738 as the home of Susanna Wright, a Quaker businesswoman and poet. It is open for the season until October.

 

Virtual Museums & Other Attractions