14 Fantastic Museums in Pennsylvania (2022)
Museums in Pennsylvania offer top-notch experiences and a wealth of authenticity, and believe us, some of the best Museums in America can be reached within this State. You haven’t explored a Country, State, or City thoroughly if you failed to learn about its history, culture, and art. The best about learning culture and history of a place is by visiting the Museums and galleries of those regions. Either it is about the rich history, National/ State sentiments, culture, art, or science, Pennsylvania has it all and believes us in some of the best forms.
Most of the Pennsylvanian museums are either in their top metropolitans that are Philadelphia or Pittsburgh though it does not mean that the small towns might not find you one such spot. No matter which corner of the State you are in, there will always be a museum within an hour’s distance from you.
14 Fantastic Museums in Pennsylvania
Further, check out some of our Top-rated picks for Pennsylvanian Museums. Have a look:
1. Carnegie Museums of Natural History
Carnegie Museums are a compilation of four different Museums, namely the Andy Warhol Museum, Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, and the Science Centre. Every Museum here is a different element, and no matter which age you are of or what interests you carry, the array of options here will keep you engaged and entertained. The collection here mainly consists of art and science, and it is by far one of the most-visited and top-rated museums in Pennsylvania State.
For viewing America’s best arts, go through the Andy Warhol Museum and learn about 4,000 Warhol artworks like never before. Another stop for art is the Carnegie Museum of Art that offers a vast modern art collection and also America’s most extensive collection of plaster casts of architectural masterpieces. Another two, Natural history and science center are ideal for exploring if you Children along, as there is much to learn here.
Reach at: 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh
2. Philadelphia Museum of Art
One of the internationally renowned museums in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must-visit site. Founded in the mid of 19th century, the museums hold a collection of 240,000 objects, majorly from Asian, European, and America, in the form of drawings, photographs, Armor, paintings, prints, sculptures, and decorative art. The Museum building and complex in itself is a work of architectural wonder, and here at every corner, you can find something to admire and appreciate. Here you can explore the only dedicated Rodin Museum besides in France, the World’s largest Marcel Duchamp and the renowned Gogh’s Sunflowers painting. No matter you are here for the first time or coming over again, the collection here is so huge that you will find something surprising every single time. Once you are done with exploring the art, stop at the gift shop or coffee shop to rewind your energy.
Reach at: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia
3. Houdini Museum
The only Museum dedicated to Harry Houdini in the World; the Houdini Museum is definitely a hub of entertainment for visitors of all ages alike. Harry Houdini is known for his escape arts and was highly appreciated for his illusions, stunts, and mysteriarch back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Houdini has done multiple shows in Scranton and other regions of Northern Pennsylvania, and thus an entire museum dedicated to his artwork can be reached in this city. The exhibitions here include Houdini’s personal collections like artifacts, mannequins, memorabilia, and films of Houdini. Apart from its permanent display, the Museum is known for a 2 to 3 hours magic show, organized here through the year during the weekends. No matter you are here with a kid or a senior adult, the magic shows are a delight to watch and will keep you entertained and curious for the entire time.
Reach at: 1433 N Main Ave, Scranton
4. Independence Hall
The best Museum to visit in Pennsylvania, Independence Hall, is a place that you won’t forget in your entire life. It is a historic civic building that is well known for the debate and adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. It is undoubtedly the most famous square miles in the United States, and there’s a lot to explore here, including museums, the liberty bell, city hall, convention center, visitors center, gardens, and whatnot. Independence Hall is also designated as a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO world heritage site attracting visitors from all over the World. Considering the craze, the admission tickets for independence Hall go full within the first few minutes of the day. Try reaching the visitors center before 10 in the morning so that you can book your tour for the day. Also, because it is a site of high National importance, make sure you follow all the security protocols and do not carry something controversial along.
Reach at: 520 Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets, Philadelphia
5. American Swedish Historical Museum
United States’ oldest Swedish- American Museum, the American Swedish Historical Museum, is a charm of Philadelphia. The Museum building is based on a 17th-century manor house in Södermanland, the Ericsberg Castle, and is loved for its architectural and design features. It has 12 permanent galleries, of which three are dedicated to the 1638 established history of the New Sweden Colony, while the remaining of them consist of a combined collection of culture and history. Topics like Swedish textiles, the refugee crisis in Europe, Scandinavia’s indigenous people, and such are focused on the display here. Apart from the collectives, the museum galleries, interior and furnishing in themselves are the most fantastic examples of 20th-century Swedish interior design. The American Swedish Historical Museum is also famous for wedding and corporate events.
Reach at: 1900 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia
6. Bicycle Heaven
Bicycle Heaven is a museum and shop, relatively new, founded in the year 2011. However, it isn’t any regular site, but the largest transportation museum in the World dedicated to bikes and bicycles. The Museum is a wonder of Craig Morrow, and most of the things here are from his personal collection. While you enter inside the building, the very first room will look like any other regular bike shop; however, once you start exploring the bikes closely and walk towards all the directions, the collection here will surprise and shock you at the exact moment. Some of the rarest bicycles here in the collection are the Bowden Spacelanders, 17 of the 38 in the World are here, and each of them today is valued at $50,000. Do not confuse with the outdoor view of the Museum as until and unless you aren’t inside the display room, you might not even imagine what this hidden wonder stores for you. And if you are a bicycle enthusiast, this place is indeed heaven for you.
Reach at: 1800 Preble Ave, Pittsburgh
7. Civil War Museum of Philadelphia
The Civil War Museum of Philadelphia dates back to its establishment in 1888, founded by the Army, Navy, and Marine Veterans. It is known to be the United States’ oldest chartered American Civil War institution. The Museum has been relocating to several stops since 2007; thus, you might not find all of the entries from their collection in one single location. Of all the collectible you can find here includes the large number of military escutcheons made in the US, personal collection of Union generals like General Meade John F. Reynolds, George B. McClellan, and Ulysses S. Grant. The Museum once was home to the mounted head of Old Baldy though you can no longer find it here. With 3,000 artifacts, several photographs, thousands of letters, hundreds of works of art, muster rolls, maps, charts, diaries, and other artifacts. Every single element from the collection here will take you back to the glimpse of the Civil war and history in the most pleasant manner.
Reach at: Philadelphia
8. Brandywine River Museum
Another internationally recognized art museum in Pennsylvania, the Brandywine River Museum, is known for its unparalleled collection of regional and American art. Though not a really massive complex, the collection here is a work of appreciation, specifically the artwork from Andrew and Jamie Wyeth and N. C. Wyeth. The museum building in itself is a historic grist mill designed with glass-walled lobbies that offer a scenic and peaceful view of the Brandywine River. Apart from the permanent collection, you can also find an extensive O-gauge model train display (during the holiday season only). Five trains altogether run on nearly 2,000 feet of track, making it one of the largest in the United States. Brandywine River Museum is not only famous for its collection but also for its Natural calming settings and the pleasant views outside. If you want to spend a day with yourself, do pay a visit here and spend some quality time.
Reach at: 1 Hoffmans Mill Rd, Chadds Ford
9. Erie Art Museum
One of the most significant cultural treasures of Erie, the Erie Art Museum, is where you can learn a lot about American and Asian art. From Indian Bronzes to Tibetan painting and American Ceramics, every single object out of the total 8000 are worth stopping and observing. It also comprises a vast collection of photography and comic book art dedicatedly attracting school students all throughout the year. Their permanent collection of Nepalese and Indian Art and the Chinese pottery shows where one can learn how the traditional Chinese pottery is made is, definitely an experience to learn from. The Museum building is also the first LEED-certified building in Erie promoting Sustainability. Though not very huge, the Erie Art Museum is an excellent spot to spend an hour or two at.
Reach at: 20 E 5th St, Erie
10. Delaware County Institute of Science
Located in the first fair trade town in America, the Delaware County Institute of Science is one of the must-visit museums in Pennsylvania. It was established in 1833, standing firm as a science and natural history museum, education center, and library. The exhibits here include an extensive collection of minerals, a collection of preserved plants and specimens, fossils, shells, corals and mounted animals and birds, and several other things that speaks about Natural science. Walking into Museum feels exactly like if you have reached 100 years back in time. Of all the museums in Pennsylvania, the Delaware County Institute of Science is undoubtedly a hidden gem, and you might not know how to appreciate it until you have been there and explored it to the core.
Reach at: 11 Veterans Sq., Media
11. National Toy Train Museum
A historical museum in Pennsylvania popular amongst kids, the National Toy Train Museum is no less than an entertainment center. The Museum is home to collectives from the 1800s till the present, some displayed within shelves, while some are working and engaging the viewer’s sight. It has Six working train layouts and archival materials serving model railroaders (within the toy train library), more than 150 animations, and several other displays. Even though there are several toy train museums across the World, but this site in Ronks is definitely one of the tops amongst them, with the best collection indeed. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is also around the corner, making it a hub for train enthusiasts.
Reach at: 300 Paradise Ln, Ronks
12. Reading Railroad Heritage Museum
If you have even a slight bit of interest in Locomotive and its history, then there is no better place for you than the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum. The museums run with the motive of preserving famous southeast Pennsylvania’s reading railroad. Admission here is free, and the Museum is operational on Saturdays and Sundays all throughout the year. Even if the pictures and first sight of the Museum do not surprise you much, a visit inside will definitely fill your experience with so much learning and fun. From diesel locomotive units to electric units and railway office settings, everything here will blow your mind for sure.
Reach at: 500 S 3rd St, Hamburg
13. Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a 1983 museum, an ideal place to take your kids along. From small kids to teenagers, the Museum has something for kids of all age groups. For smaller kids, there are several activities to be a part of, including dress-up, puppet shows, theatre shows, rocket building, robotic, quilting, and several other physical activities. Locals who reside near Allegheny Centre mark it as one of the most fun centers for kids’ parties or engaging the little ones in something interactive, learning, and fun. Though the only drawback is that admissions here are slightly expansive, and the Museum is mostly crowded.
Reach at: 10 Children’s Way, Allegheny Centre
14. National Civil War Museum
National Civil War Museum is both a museum and an educational institute promoting information and material culture that relates to the 1861 to 1865 American Civil war. The institution here is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. It is the only Museum that provides an unbiased, balanced, and OutFront view of the Civil War in the United States, talking about different personal perspectives and both sides of the war. Being extremely OutFront the Museum has always been a topic of controversy though if one wants to learn about those times without keeping sentiments in between, there could be no better place than National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. This Museum is huge with a massive collection of artifacts; therefore, make sure you take along some extra time.
Reach at: 1 Lincoln Cir, Harrisburg