Located in eastern Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley is a small two-county region that is packed with exciting things to see and do. Once a bustling industrial center and home to one of the world’s largest businesses, Bethlehem Steel, as well as a thriving silk industry and the headquarters of Mack Trucks, today the region’s history can be explored at the National Museum of Industrial History and Allentown’s Liberty Bell Museum. Outdoor enthusiasts can head into the fields and forests that surround the region’s three cities to enjoy miles of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, backpacking, picnicking and kayaking on the Lehigh or Delaware Rivers. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
4.National Museum of Industrial History
5.America on Wheels Museum
7.Mack Trucks Historical Museum
9.Da Vinci Science Center
10.State Theatre Center for the Arts
12.Allentown Art Museum
13.Moravian Museum of Bethlehem
14.Liberty Bell Museum
15.National Canal Museum
17.The Shoppes of Premise Maid
18.McCarthy's Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar
19.Tapas on Main
19 Best Things to Do in Lehigh Valley, PA
- Coca-Cola Park, Photo: dendron/stock.adobe.com
- SteelStacks, Photo: CE Photography/stock.adobe.com
- PPL Center, Photo: razihusin/stock.adobe.com
- National Museum of Industrial History, Photo: National Museum of Industrial History
- America on Wheels Museum, Photo: America on Wheels Museum
- Klein Farms, Photo: Klein Farms
- Mack Trucks Historical Museum, Photo: Mack Trucks Historical Museum
- Sands Casino, Photo: Maridav/stock.adobe.com
- Da Vinci Science Center, Photo: Da Vinci Science Center
- State Theatre Center for the Arts, Photo: State Theatre Center for the Arts
- Burnside Plantation, Photo: Burnside Plantation
- Allentown Art Museum, Photo: Allentown Art Museum
- Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, Photo: Moravian Museum of Bethlehem
- Liberty Bell Museum, Photo: Liberty Bell Museum
- National Canal Museum, Photo: Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
- Bolete Restaurant, Photo: Bolete Restaurant
- The Shoppes of Premise Maid, Photo: Pixel-Shot/stock.adobe.com
- McCarthy's Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar, Photo: McCarthy's Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar
- Tapas on Main, Photo: Tapas on Main
- Cover Photo: Ethan/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Allentown Art Museum
Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Allentown Art Museum showcases multidisciplinary works spanning more than 2,000 years of human history in the Americas and beyond, offering gallery exhibitions and public special event programming to the Lehigh Valley area.
The Allentown Art Museum was the vision of educator and artist Walter Emerson Baum, who began a grassroots campaign in the 1930s to create a public art museum for the Lehigh and Bucks County areas. As an arts advocate for the eastern Pennsylvania region, Baum was also the founder of the Baum School of Art. The museum was officially opened to the public in 1934 in Allentown’s Hunsicker School, showcasing 70 works on canvas by local eastern Pennsylvania artists with its first exhibition collection. As a result of the museum’s public success, two years later, the museum was given a permanent home by the City of Allentown within a historic home facility within the city’s Cedar Park. The museum acquired large expansions to its collections over the next several decades, including a gift of more than four dozen Baroque and Renaissance works by local philanthropist Samuel H. Kress. In 1975, the museum building was renovated to accommodate expansions to its gallery and educational programming space, and in 1978, the museum’s mission was refocused to expand its American art collections. 10,000 square feet of additional gallery and public use space was added to the facility in 2011 to accommodate growing collections.
Permanent Collections and Exhibitions
Today, the Allentown Art Museum is located within a Federal-style historic home facility in the Rose Garden section of the city’s Cedar Park, offering a variety of gallery exhibitions and public educational programming to the Lehigh Valley community. More than 100,000 visitors and program participants are served by the museum annually, including 14,000 annual participants in the museum’s K-12 student educational programming. Exhibitions are geared toward broad public audiences of all ages, with educational and public special event programming available for students and community members of all ages.
More than 17,000 works are showcased within the museum’s permanent collections, which focus on multicultural and multidisciplinary works spanning more than 2,000 years of human history. Major collections include an American Painting and Sculpture Collection, which showcases American works dating back to the mid-18th century with a focus on the works of eastern Pennsylvania artists including Nelson Shanks, Harry Bertoia, Franz Kline, and Wharton Esherick. A European Painting and Sculpture Collection presents more than 100 European Old Master works, with its basis in the 1961 donation of 61 works from the private collection of local philanthropist Samuel H. Kress. European works on display at the museum include Renaissance and Baroque works by Italian, German, Dutch, and Flemish masters dating back to the 17th century. An Asian Art Collection also contains more than 1,900 multidisciplinary works by Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan artists, including a special collection of Japanese woodblock prints.
Special museum collections include a Textile and Costumes Collection showcasing works produced on five continents over the course of 16 centuries, serving as the museum’s most globally-diverse collection. A Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Collection includes more than 400 Renaissance-era prints and a retrospective collection of 20th-century American printmaking works, along with a sizeable collection of contemporary photography. A Decorative Arts Collection also focuses on British silver, Tiffany glass, and Americana and Arts and Crafts movement pieces.
In addition to collections-focused gallery exhibitions, the museum displays the preserved Frank Lloyd Wright Library, recovered from the Francis W. Little House prior to its demolition in 1971. The home’s living room was transported to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, while its library, designed by the famed 20th-century American architect, was relocated as a permanent display exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum. A museum cafe is also offered, featuring healthy fare by award-winning local caterer Karen Hunter and a view of Allentown’s downtown skyline and Arts Park area.
Ongoing Programs and Education
More than 14,000 Lehigh Valley-area students are served annually as part of the museum’s K-12 educational programming, which includes curriculum-incorporated field trip tours for elementary and secondary school students. Other student educational programming includes a teen advisory board program, a teen docent and internship program, and art workshops with local multidisciplinary artists. City Arts arts camps are also offered periodically for children and youth. For community members, a variety of art-related programming is offered, including a lecture series, an art and lunch program, panel discussions, and free Sunday events offering docent-led tours and family-friendly Art Ventures programming. Regular public special event programming includes a Third Thursday evening open gallery event, an annual “Poetry Out Loud” contest, and an annual showcase of local student artwork. The museum also facilitates a variety of community outreach programming, including its HeARThstone program, which brings artists-in-residence to local community events and festivals.
31 N 5th St, Allentown, PA, Phone: 610-432-4333
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Attraction Spotlight: Mack Trucks Historical Museum
Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Mack Trucks Historical Museum presents exhibits dedicated to the history of the Mack Trucks corporation and its products, along with a public company showroom and a test-drive performance track. The Mack Trucks corporation was founded in 1900 by Brooklyn, New York native Jack Mack, a former employee of the Fallesen and Berry carriage and wagon company, and his brothers, Gus and William.
Inspired by the work of transportation entrepreneurs Henry Ford and Orville and Wilbur Wright, the Macks established their corporation for the purposes of producing heavy-duty trucks, engines, streetcars, and touring vehicles. Originally known as the Mack Brothers Company, the corporation moved its headquarters and operations from Brooklyn to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1905, and began manufacturing locomotives and railway cars. In 1922, the company rebranded to its current name, Mack Trucks, Inc., adopting its now-famous bulldog corporate symbol.
Throughout the 20th century, Mack Trucks became involved in a number of government operations, including aid with the construction of New Deal-era structures such as the Hoover Dam and vehicle donation for transcontinental surveys for the creation of planned national highway systems. A second Mack trucks production facility was opened in 1966 in Ontario, Canada, which operated until 1993, and in 1970, the Allentown facility became the company’s world headquarters. In 1979, the company began a business affiliation with international vehicle manufacturer Renault Trucks, eventually becoming a fully-owned subsidiary of the company in 1990. In 2001, the combined company was purchased by Sweden’s AB Volvo car manufacturing company.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Since 2008, Mack Trucks has been headquartered out of Greensboro, North Carolina, though the company’s line of vehicles is still primarily produced at its assembly plant in Lower Macungie, Pennsylvania. In 1984, the Mack Trucks Historical Museum was incorporated as a nonprofit organization, offering a public customer and visitor experience at a 160,000-square-foot facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania on the site of what is now the former company world headquarters property. Following 2016 renovations, the facility offers both a historical museum visitor experience and a Mack Customer Center facility for Mack Truck owners.
At the Mack Trucks Historical Museum, the company’s history of operations is showcased in a variety of hands-on interactive exhibits, including a chronological timeline panel of the company’s founding and expansion. Several historic Mack buses and trucks are on display throughout the museum, ranging from century-old restorations to current-day models. The company’s Megatron vehicle, which was used in the feature film Transformers, is also on display at the museum, along with vehicles used in films such as Die Hard and used as models for animated vehicles in films such as Pixar’s Cars. Many vehicles are offered as living history exhibits, allowing visitors to climb behind the wheel for a hands-on experience.
In addition to display vehicles, exhibits of Mack Truck memorabilia are also showcased, including collector toy cars, advertising materials, and interior car engines and parts produced by the line. As the museum is housed within the plant’s former testing center facility, several exhibits and features offer unique testing experiences, including interactive exhibits related to vehicle aerodynamics and soundproof factory paneling. An archive exhibit also allows visitors to research the history of family-owned Mack Trucks with a VIN number or other vehicle information.
At the facility’s Mack Customer Center, a Mack Customer Experience Zone offers more exhibits, including an Uptime in Real Time exhibit detailing the operations of the facility’s 24/7 Uptime Center, and a Bulldog Theater, featuring a 360-degree wraparound screen and immersive special effects and showcasing programming related to product manufacturing and development. A product showroom showcases the company’s current model offerings, while a performance track allows customers to test-drive vehicles on a paved track and an off-road course.
Ongoing Programs and Events
Guided tours of the Mack Truck Historical Museum are offered for individuals and visitor groups of up to 10 participants, showcasing the museum’s exhibits and historical vehicles. Walk-in groups of 10 or more participants will be divided into multiple tours at the museum’s discretion, while small groups, organizations, and elementary and secondary school field trip groups wishing to plan large tours should contact the museum directly in advance of requested tour date to schedule a reservation. Annual public special event programming at the museum and Customer Center includes the Trucktoberfest appreciation event, which celebrates the museum’s antique truck club supporting organizations with a historic car showcase and festival. Activities include a flag-raising ceremony, a garage sale and silent auction, and a Pedigreed Parade of Power.
2402 Lehigh Pkwy S, Allentown, PA, Phone: 610-351-8999
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Attraction Spotlight: Museum of Indian Culture
Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Museum of Indian Culture preserves the social and cultural history of the Lenape and Northeastern Woodland indigenous cultures through a variety of exhibits and educational outreach public programming activities.
The Museum of Indian Culture was founded in 1980 by Allentown residents Dorothy Schiavone and Carla Messinger, originally opened as the Lenni Lenape Historical Society. As the state’s oldest museum exclusively focusing on indigenous culture, the museum is housed within a historic Pennsylvania German farmhouse and springhouse facility, originally constructed around 1750 by Allentown’s Bieber family. Following controversy related to the museum’s original mission and owners, the museum changed administration in 2003 and sought to actively improve its relations with local federally-recognized indigenous tribes of the Northeastern Woodland region. By 2007, the museum was under the management of the Oklahoma Delaware indigenous tribe and had refocused its mission as an organization striving to educate Pennsylvanians on the region’s indigenous culture and tribes.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
Today, the Museum of Indian Culture is operated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and educational complex, dedicated to the preservation of indigenous Lenape and other Northeastern Woodland cultures through museum exhibits and public educational programming. The museum is a member-supported all-volunteer organization and serves as an indigenous research facility and outreach liaison between the Pennsylvania community and the area’s federally-recognized indigenous tribes. In addition to museum exhibits, a variety of public programming is offered by the museum, including guided tours, community outreach programming, and annual festivals and public special events.
The museum’s artifact collections showcase items from Northeastern Woodland and other North and Central American indigenous cultures, including significant collections of Californian Hupa baskets, Mexican Aztec ceremonial clothing, and Pennsylvania Delaware stone tools. An artifact collection of items uncovered by amateur archaeologists Paul Delgrego, Frank Sterling, and W.W. Venney at the Broomall Rock Shelters is also showcased, highlighting traditional Lenape items dating back more than 3,000 years. Other significant collections include ceramics, carvings, photography, beadwork, and weapons crafted by indigenous tribes across North and Central America. An Intertribal Room also displays artistic creations from a variety of tribes, including a Lakota Morning Star quit, a Cheyenne sash, Navajo sand art items, Hopi textiles, and hand-carved Kachina replicas.
In addition to permanent museum collection displays, a variety of rotating temporary exhibits are showcased at the museum, focusing on historic and cultural topics related to indigenous tribes and their interaction with European settlers. Past exhibits have included Warrior Spirit: Journey of the Native American Warrior, which examined indigenous participation in the United States military and service during national and international conflicts. Oral histories and photography retrospectives of indigenous service members were highlighted, along with a collection of WWII-era field radios used by Navajo Code Talkers.Treading Lightly Around Prehistoric Digs: 1980’s Interstate-78 Southern Corridor Project focused on the relationship between the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and local archaeologists in preserving indigenous artifacts and archaeological sites prior to the development of Interstate 78’s southern corridor and the Route 309 alignment project. The endeavor resulted in the preservation of more than 6,600 prehistoric Paleoindian artifacts, including the Upper Saucon P-42 site, which is recognized today as one of the most significant pieces of evidence related to the state’s prehistory.Mystery Unearthed: The Extraordinary Story of Two Lenape Rock Shelters explored the 1942 archaeological excavation of the Broomall Rock Shelters, which resulted in the discovery of more than 200 stone and bone tools, 1,000 ceramic fragments, and evidence of European trade goods.
Ongoing Programs and Education
As the largest indigenous library collection in the state of Pennsylvania, the museum’s Clair A. Carbonell Research Library showcases more than 3,000 volumes related to Northeastern Woodland indigenous history, including books, pamphlets, and photography. Significant collections are also held related to indigenous history throughout the Western hemisphere, along with special collections related to indigenous arts, languages, horticulture and medicine, historical treaties, and archaeology endeavors. The library may be used by students and researchers during museum hours by appointment.
Educational field trip opportunities are offered for elementary and secondary school students, with elements tailored to Pennsylvania curriculum standards. A variety of educational programming is available for student groups, with all programs able to be tailored to meet groups’ educational needs. Programs include a Lifeways and Lore workshop for young students, a Woodland Life Skills program for middle-grades participants, and a Northeastern Woodland program for older students and adults. All programs may be presented as field trip programming or as classroom outreach presentations. Annual public special events include a Roasting Ears of Corn Festival and an American Indian Relic Show and used book sale sponsored by the Indian Artifact Collectors Association of the North East.
2825 Fish Hatchery Rd, Allentown, PA 18103, Phone: 610-797-2121
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