A true Renaissance man, Mercer's interests and skills cut across a variety of genres. Born in Doylestown in 1856, he became a famed archaeologist, anthropologist, tile maker, artist, writer, scholar and antiquarian, and was a leader in the American Arts and Crafts Movement. Mercer built Fonthill during the period 1908-1912 to serve both as his home and showplace for his extensive collection of prints and Moravian tiles. Designed by Mercer himself, the building is a diverse mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles - an imposing sight set back from the road down a long tree-lined drive. A visit there is like entering the grounds of a lush English estate.
My son has been enjoying a neat archeology camp at this picturesque location this week, and has helped dig up some 19th and 20th century bottles and part of a brick. On Friday the kids will give an exhibition of their finds - can't wait! Today he got to throw an Atl Atl (the Native American version of a javelin). He did great, check it out!
For those of you interested in cooking, the museum includes sections focusing on confectionary, kitchen and baking utensils, meat and fruit preservation, butter and cheese making and cider pressing. In addition, outside the castle is a log cabin where they sometimes do open-fire cooking demonstrations. And I actually used the Mercer Museum Library located on the 3rd Floor to do research for my book since they have a pretty extensive manuscriot cookbook collection and other resources covering traditional crafts, trades and industries.