State Museum of Pennsylvania
300 North Street, Harrisburg, PA, USA
statemuseumpa.org - (717) 787-4980
State Museum of Pennsylvania Harrisburg Reviews
A capital attraction Jan 02, 2016
The State Museum of Pennsylvania is a bit imposing at first glance. Parking outside the huge, monolithic structure feels like you’ve just pulled up to a prison. It only takes a few minutes inside, however, to realize you will be knee-deep in a diverse range of exhibits. My suspicion is the curators take their charter as the “official museum of the commonwealth” seriously and try to cover all the bases.
As I said, the building is enormous. There are three stories and plenty of space for plenty of exhibits, with permanent collections seeming to span everything in the natural world and modern history. From a historical perspective there is an abundance of detail around Native Americans, William Penn and colonial times, the American Revolution, the Civil War, famous Pennsylvanians and famous inventions / products. I was surprised by things I had previously been unaware of. Did you know my home state was the birthplace of Slinky and banana splits? I did not before this visit. And so many people. Little did I suspect Jonas Salk, Andy Warhol and Marian Anderson, among others, originally hailed from Pennsylvania.
The collections are extensive and equally impressive in explorations of the natural world. The disciplines of geology plus flora and fauna both have in-depth exhibits, and the prehistoric collection of dinosaurs was surprising. They even had a planetarium, though I was disappointed it was one of those “cost plus” deals where you had to purchase an additional admission ticket (mom and I learned this when we tried to enter).
We spent a couple hours enjoying displays and you could easily invest much more time diving into the wealth. I did not want to wear my mother out too badly by forcing her to walk around all day (especially since we took the winding stairway up and down the three floors), so we concluded after a pleasant visit. I would recommend this as a quality site which appeals to all ages and interests – the range of what lies inside is truly astonishing.
Part of the Home for the Holidays travel blog
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