Art, science, sports and history museums near State College, Pennsylvania



Conary McClain, 3, searches for dinosaur teeth at Discovery Space in this file photo.

Looking for a fun way to get out of the house on a summer afternoon? Center County is full of museum offerings, including showcases of art, history, science, and athletics.

There are exhibits on Penn State’s campus that are open to the public, as well as a Discovery Center where kids can dissect animals or learn math.

Some of the museums are free, and one with a suggested $5 donation offers great views of Beaver Stadium.

Check out these six museums in and around the State College area.

Bellefonte Art Museum

Makery at the Museum1.JPG
This children’s art workshop is located on the second floor of the Bellefonte art museum. photo provided

Current exhibits at the Bellefonte Museum of Art for Center County feature the area’s role in the Underground Railroad, a photography gallery, dreamcatchers from various Native cultures, and an “interactive dream.”

The gallery hosts poetry readings and craft workshops, as well as receptions to celebrate the new programming.

Price: Free entry.

Location: 113 N Allegheny St., Bellefonte, PA 16823

Central Furnace Mansion

The Center County Historical Society Center Furnace Mansion on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. Abby Drey Center Daily Times, file

This restored historic home serves as the headquarters of the Center County Historical Society. It is furnished to show the residence of Moses Thompson from 1842 to 1891.

Tours are available by appointment, and you can online booking at least 12 hours in advance. There is also a miniature, identical copy of the mansion on permanent display.

Price: Tours are free, but there is a suggested donation of $4 per person.

Location: 1001 E College Avenue, State College, PA 16801

The Palmer Museum of Art

The Palmer Museum of Art features American, Contemporary, and Baroque galleries. Photo provided

The Palmer Museum of Art is located on the campus of Penn State and is open to the public. The permanent collections include American, Contemporary and Baroque art galleries and a glass and ceramics exhibition studio.

You can see a special exhibition of staff favorites until September 4 and check out works by former faculty until August 14.

Price: Free entry.

Location: Pennsylvania State University, Curtin Road, University Park, PA 16802

Discovery Area

Amy Smith, 8, plays with a globe at the opening of Discovery Space in North Atherton Street. Phoebe Sheehan

This science and technology center has more than 45 exhibitionsand its latest features of sea animals, including starfish, hermit crabs, and ocean fish.

The museum offers a variety of programming, from preschool sensory exploration to squid dissection for kids ages 10 and up. There are exhibits focused on mathematical concepts, as well as archaeological dig pits and block toys.

Price: $7 for ages 3 and up and free for children under 3. Free parking is available on site.

Location: 1224 N Atherton St., State College, PA 16803

Penn State All Sports Museum

Visitors view memorabilia in the Basketball History Hall at the Penn State All-Sports Museum in 2014. Photo of the CDT file

The Penn State All Sports Museum consists of 10,000 square feet of exhibits honoring the university’s athletic history. Permanent exhibits include the Heisman Trophy won by John Cappelletti in 1973, as well as other awards won by student-athletes and interactive components.

You can also see Beaver Stadium from Mount Nittany Club Level in screenings which are given approximately three times a day.

Price: There is a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for students, seniors and children. Parking is available at ParkMobile parking lot 95112 for $1 per hour or $5 per day.

Location: The museum is located on the southwest corner of Beaver Stadium, across from the Bryce Jordan Center. A long awning leading from Curtain Road marks the entrance.

Boalsbourg Heritage Museum

The Boalsburg Heritage Museum tells the story of life in central Pennsylvania in the 1800s. Photo CDT

Discover life in the 19th century at Sarah sweet homeSummer Kitchen, Boalsburg Country Store and other historic sites.

You can visit this museum on Saturday afternoon or by appointment. The house was built in 1825 and is typical of homes built by German settlers in Pennsylvania.

Price: Tours are free, but donations are appreciated.

Location: 304 East Main St., Boalsburg, Pennsylvania 16827

Meredith Howard is a duty reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat. She graduated from Baylor University and previously freelanced for the Illinois Times and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.


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