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Germantown Historic Museum
Germantown
Philadelphia, Pa 19144
Cross Street: E.Church Ln
215.844.1683
Hours of Operation
Tuesdays 9 AM - 1 PM Thursdays 1 PM - 5 PM Please email library@germantownhistory.org to inquire about Sunday hours Please email or call the library/archives to schedule your research visit.Admission FeesNon-members $10.00; students $5.00 GHS members receive free admission to the Library and Archives.

Founded in 1900 as the Site and Relic Society of Germantown, the Germantown Historical Society is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the rich and diverse history of the historic German Township (now Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill) in northwest Philadelphia. The Society currently serves as the home of Historic Germantown, a partnership between fourteen Germantown organizations joined by a common mission to provide knowledge and resources to help preserve Germantown's historic sites, interpret them to the public, and incorporate them into the life of the local community. Germantown's story is the story of founding and settlement, religious freedom and tolerance, patriotism, abolitionism, architectural excellence, industry, and community service. Come to Germantown Historical Society and learn about the first German settlement in the New World, the nation's earliest "urban village," the site of the first written protest against slavery, the setting for the Battle of Germantown, the nation's first commuter suburb served by one of the nation's first railroads, and then the "town within a city" served by the longest streetcar line in the nation. Every major theme in American history is played out along the Belgian blocks of Germantown's "Great Road." Come to Germantown and the Germantown Historical Society to experience this history.

At Home in Germantown, 1750-1900

GHS exhibition
 

The exhibition highlights the Society’s vast collection of period domestic objects, including furniture, silver, pottery, porcelain, tableware, kitchenware, personal hygiene items, needlework, and children’s games & toys. It provides a vivid picture of what it was like to live in Germantown years ago and how people worked, relaxed and entertained in the home. Period settings re-create the rooms in Germantown homes of the 18th and 19th centuries, including a Colonial keeping room and parlor, a Federal dining room, and a Victorian reception room. Other displays illustrate the various activities conducted in the home and show how domestic practices and patterns of living changed over time.

Art & Artifact Collections

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The museum and library collections of the Germantown Historical Society total more than 50,000 objects, documents and photographs.

  • Educational Programs: A variety of Historic Germantown school programs and field trip opportunities, including the award-winning History Hunters Youth Reporter Program http://www.historyhunters.org are available at member sites. For ideas and help in planning your fieldtrip experience, please contact the Program Director at info@freedomsbackyard.com  or 215-844-1683. And visit www.freedomsbackyard.com for links to individual Germantown sites and programs.

    Library: Discover your neighborhood, community, house or family in our Library & Archives! Named in honor of Mt. Airy historian Pat Henning, the research collections include a wealth of material from 1683 to the present day on the history of Greater Germantown (Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill) including individuals, buildings, businesses, community organizations, activities and more. Our holdings include personal papers, manuscripts, business records and institutional archives as well as books, newspapers, church and cemetery records, maps, deeds and other land records, scrapbooks and oral history interviews. The image collection is especially rich and includes thousands of glass plate negatives, daguerreotypes and lantern slides, and well over 5,000 photographs depicting residents, streets and structures from the mid-19th century to the present. Collections of particular note include the archives of the African-American Genealogy Group, the Germantown Theatre Guild, Germantown Hospital and the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Rail Road.

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