Although we have lived in Pennsylvania almost twenty five years, I am always learning about new and exciting attractions to visit. The most recent attraction I’ve learned about is a Beaux Arts mansion called Glencairn. The medieval castle like museum is located in the historic district of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. Bryn Athyn was founded as a religious community in the late 1800s only a mile from the Philadelphia border. In this district you will see some of the most remarkable architecture in the area.
It includes just three family residences which include the Beaux Arts mansion of the family patriarch John Pitcairn and his wife Mildred called Cairnwood. Mr. Pitcairn earned his fortune from Pittsburg Plate Glass Company. His home is built in the medieval Romanesque style. Although he had no formal architectural training, Pitcairn oversaw the construction of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral which was built in the Gothic and Romanesque Style. While construction was ongoing shops and studios were built on the grounds for the designers and workmen. Mrs. Pitcairn remained in the house until her death in 1979. The following year the house and its contents were given to the Academy of New Church schools. Today what is known at the Glencairn Museum houses the art collection. Pitcairn’s sons, Harold and Raymond each had residences called Cairncrest and Glencairn. All of the structures were built between 1892 and 1938. In 2008 the Bryn Athyn Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Included in the museum is religious art and history as well as Mr. Pitcairn’s medieval collection and Egyptian art and artifacts. There is also a Greek and Roman gallery. You’ll also find works of art in stone, wood, glass and mosaic.
They offer special ninety minute highlights guided tours which are highly recommended. Christmas at Glencairn opens the day after Thanksgiving and runs through the first Sunday in January. We visited the day before Easter when the altar was decorated with beautiful flowers. We didn’t notice many restaurants in the area so suggest you order one of our picnic baskets to enjoy on their grounds.
For times and more information or call 267-502-2990. Bryn Athyn, The museum is a member of Blue Star Museums which offers free admission to active duty military and their families. It is located about an hour’s drive from Hamanassett Bed and Breakfast. Check our room availability and then book your visit to Glencairn.