The National Watch and Clock Museum

514 Poplar St.
Columbia, PA 17512- Map It
(717) 684-8261

AAA Editor Notes

The National Watch and Clock Museum is off US 30 and SR 441 at 514 Poplar St. at jct. Fifth St. The museum, in a stately columned building, has what is said to be the largest collection of timepieces in North America as well as interactive exhibits that introduce visitors to horology, the study of time and timekeeping. After viewing a 10-minute introductory film explaining how clocks work, visitors enter the galleries through the Time Tunnel and begin a chronological examination of timekeeping and timepieces. The history of timepieces is traced from Stonehenge to early water clocks to mechanisms used in early monasteries to clockmaking in the United States. Clockmaking in this country did not develop until after 1775, when tall case (grandfather) clocks were first made. During this time period, cabinets were made by a cabinetmaker and the clock mechanism by a clockmaker. One of the museum's finest collections is the large group of 18th- and 19th-century tall case clocks. Other interesting displays include collections of European clocks, including German cuckoo clocks; vintage pocket watches; and old and new wristwatches. Sound effects accompany many exhibits, and murals and graphics provide background information about the timepieces displayed. In addition, visitors can see timekeeping items from around the world including movements, tools and machinery; a cabinetmaker's workshop; a watch factory; a replica train master's office; a turn-of-the-20th-century watch and clock shop; and examples of various technological developments, from the earliest mechanical timepieces to the futuristic atomic clock. Temporary exhibits also are featured. A reference library and a computer-catalogued index are available. Time: Allow 1 hour minimum.
$9; $8.50 (military with ID); $8 (ages 65+); $5 (ages 5-16); $23 (family, two adults and children under 18 in same household).
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. noon-4, Apr.-Nov. (also Mon. 10-5, Memorial Day-Labor Day); Tues.-Sat. 10-4, rest of year. Closed Jan. 1, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas.