An area founded on tourism, coal mining and conservation, the Poconos' past is one of robust antiquity. And the best part is, you don't even have to leave your couch to see it.
From seeing America’s first commercial locomotive train to viewing the infamous Lincoln Flag, there’s a ton of history to be discovered. Once our museums open back up you can visit in-person, but for now sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Learn about eight museums in the Pocono Mountains with our videos and information below.
Located in historic Jim Thorpe, the Asa Packer Mansion was built in 1861 for multi-millionaire Asa Packer. He moved to town during the booming coal mining industry, founded the local railroad and university and made significant contributions to the community.
This 18-room, Victorian-style mansion has been preserved to what it looked like back in the 19th century, and is a National Historic Landmark.
One of the most notable exhibits is the Lincoln Flag, which has remained a key component of our nation’s past. The museum also has genealogy records available for those in search of their own history.
Nestled into the wooded forests of the Poconos, the Dorflinger Glass Museum is home to one of the nation’s largest displays of Dorflinger Crystal.
Starting in the 1860’s, Christian Dorflinger produced the finest glassware here where some pieces were distinguished enough to reside in the White House. Several exhibits display over 1,000 pieces of crystal throughout the museum.
Perched on top of 100 secluded acres sits Grey Towers National Historic Landmark. Built in 1886 in Milford as a summer retreat for the Pinchot family, Grey Towers later became son Gifford Pinchot’s permanent residence.
With a true love for the environment, Gifford introduced conservation to the country and founded the United State Forest Service. Grey Towers has since been donated to the US Forest Service and established as a National Historic Landmark.
As an added bonus, you can even take a virtual tour of the museum courtesy of Grey Towers!
Another gem in downtown Jim Thorpe, the Old Jail Museum is a must-see. Since it’s creation in 1871, the jail was in operation until 1995. It’s claim to fame is the hanging of the notorious Molly Maguires miners and Cell 17; the handprint of a prisoner who proclaimed his innocence has eerily remained on the wall for hundreds of years.
Rumored supernatural activity occurs at the jail when you least expect it; the jail hosts late-night ghost tours in the fall.
The Pocono Indian Museum is the only museum in the region that showcases the history of the native Delaware Indian.
Dating as far back as 10,500 BC, the museum features ancient artifacts, weapons, and tools that the Indians weaved into the framework of their culture over thousands of years. The museum also features a large gift shop full of both traditional and non-traditional treasures.
Step back in time to experience life on the farm. Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm is a life-action museum in Stroudsburg preserving the 19th century Pennsylvania German heritage that founded the farm.
Period-dressed "family" members re-enact the life of the original family who lived here from the 1760s to 1913. Live agriculture demonstrations and events occur throughout the year as well as special holiday festivities.
While in Honesdale, known as the "Birthplace of the American Railroad", it pays to stop at the Wayne County Historical Society & Museum. Here a replica of The Stourbridge Lion, the country’s first locomotive, is permanently on display.
The museum also features histories relevant to the region with displays like Native American artifacts and Dorflinger crystal. Events take place at historical locations off-site throughout the county as well.
We only showcased eight museums, but there’s more history to see and learn! When you're ready to travel, please contact our museums directly to confirm current operation status. Groups can be accommodated with call-ahead notice.
Check out these museums featured in our Pocono Mountains Magazine historical attractions segment for a bonus!