Celebrating 100 years
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GHS Museum Collections and Exhibitions

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GHS Museum

Collections
Exhibitions
Hall of Fame
Gallery
Hours and Admission

Collections

The museum and library collections of the Germantown Historical Society total more than 50,000 objects, documents and photographs. High style and everyday furniture from 17th century German trunks to Colonial highboys and tall case clocks, Victorian chairs and Peale paintings to 20th century Colonial Revival secretaries are on display in the main gallery. Behind-the-scenes visitors can arrange to see spinning wheels, sausage grinders, and a 19th century mousetrap. Chinese export and Tucker china, fireplace tools, screens and backs, lighting fixtures and a copper bathtub are also part of this extensive collection.

Quilts, coverlets, and bedspreads dating from the 18th century include many examples of patchwork and album styles, as well as hundreds of varieties of needlework. Textile tools, quilt patterns, dye cards from Germantown textile mills and hundreds of pincushions, sewing boxes, Germantown and Quaker samplers, dating from the early 1700s are all part of our outstanding textile collection.

The Society's costume collection is comprised of more than 8,000 pieces of clothing for every age and sex. Second only to the collection of the Philadelphia Art Museum, this collection has something for everyone: working men's clothes, hundreds of hats, men's and women's embroidered pumps, walking sticks, jewelry, gloves, parasols, fans, pocketbooks and wallets, skirts, dresses, wedding and mourning clothes, shawls, coats, and lots of corsets, slips, and bodices.

Exhibits

At Home in Germantown, 1750-1900

A new exhibition highlighting 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.  The exhibit 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.   

Hall of Fame

The Germantown Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1994 to celebrate the German Township's contemporary history. Each year the Society honors the achievements of individuals who have local, regional and national recognition while remaining dedicated to the community of Germantown, Mount Airy, and Chestnut Hill.

The 2007 Hall of Fame honorees were: William Cash, All-Star baseball player with the Negro Leagues; Elisabeth Shellenberger, President Emerita of Historic Germantown Preserved and Lacrosse and Field Hockey Hall of Famer; and Eugene Glenn Stackhouse, genealogist and historian as well as President Emeritus of the Germantown Historical Society. They joined a distinguished roster of members that includes 1994 inductees the Right Reverend Bishop Barbara Harris and Henry J. Magaziner, FAIA; 1995 inductees Catherine P. Bachrach, Floyd W. Alston, and the late Maggie E. Kuhn; 1996 inductees Brother Al Smith, C.M., the late Grover Washington, Jr., and Ted and Stevie Wolf; 1997 inductees Francenia L. Emery, Katherine Minehart, and John Rice; 1998 inductees Rennie Cohen, the late Dr. Jonathan Rhoads and Sister Sonia Sanchez; 1999 inductees Sister M. Brigid Lawlor, Rev. Dr. Theodore Loder, the late Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Sr. and Dr. Mary Henderson Wright; year 2000 inductees Rev. Richard R. Fernandez, Hugh B. Hanson and Dorothy Sumners Rush; year 2001 inductees William and Liller Green, the Honorable Allyson Y. Schwartz, and Anthony H. Williams; year 2002 inductees Commissioner Harold B. Hairston, Clarice G. Herbert, Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi; year 2003 inductees Emanuel Freeman, Elliot Shelkrot and Sun Ra Arkestra; year 2004 inductees Graham S. Finney, Derrick H. Pitts and Shelly D.Yanoff; year 2005 inductees John L. Asher, Jr., Brenda and Helmut Gottschild, and Patricia Henning; and year 2006 inductees George Beach, Dr. Constance Clayton, and Ralph Roberts.

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Photo Gallery

Here are some images from our museum.

Old mill painting

Magargee Paper Mill, Wissahickon Creek, by Wm. E. Winner, 19th century.

18th century ladies' shoes

18th century ladies' silk brocade shoes, and the Stars and Stripes.

Early telephone operators

Early 20th century telephone operators.

Dollhouse tea setting

Tea setting in the GHS dollhouse.

Hours and Admission

Museum & Library hours:
Tuesdays 9 AM - 1 PM
Thursdays 1 PM - 5 PM
Sundays 1 PM - 5 PM

Admission: Adults $5.00, Seniors & Students $4.00, Children $2.00.
GHS members receive free admission to the museum.
Discounts for AAA, Philadelphia Hospitality, and Philadelphia Bar Association cardholders.
For more information, please call (215) 844-1683.

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Saving Our Stories - Preserving Our Community

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5501 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144-2225
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