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“A World-Class Museum In A Small Pennsylvania Town”

National Watch and Clock Museum
Ranked #1 of 12 Shopping in Columbia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The National Watch and Clock Museum was officially opened to the public in 1977 with fewer than 1,000 items. Since that time, the collection has increased to over 12,000 items and the museum has undergone several expansion projects. The latest expansion opened in October 1999 and featured an entirely new and redesigned exhibit space, as well as a new two-story addition. Today, the museum is recognized as the largest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America.The National Watch & Clock Museum is conveniently located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, less than two hours from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre.
Reviewed December 26, 2013

If a Picasso exhibit would come to the United States, we'd expect the paintings to be in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or another big city. We certainly wouldn't expect an exhibit of such distinction to be on display in Columbia, PA, but for enthusiasts of timekeeping devices, a display that's the equivalent of a Picasso display is currently available for viewing in Columbia, at the National Watch & Clock Museum.

The museum is currently hosting an exhibit of clocks and watches produced by Thomas Tompion of England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many experts regard Tompion as the most important clockmaker in history, and his pieces display both amazing mechanical accuracy and artistic beauty. His pieces were tremendously instrumental in allowing us to reach the point where we are today, which is to time our lives down to the milisecond.

Tompion's clocks will be on display only until January 19,2014, but the National Watch & Clock Museum is always the nation's premier museum for watches and clocks. Columbia is in western Lancaster County, beside the Susquehanna River, and it's less than an hour's drive from Lancaster County's Amish country and the Gettysburg Battlefield, so this is definitely a good place to visit either as a single-destination trip or as a part of a trip to south-central Pennsylvania.

1  Thank Fred R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"pocket watches"
in 22 reviews
"on display"
in 20 reviews
"james bond"
in 8 reviews
"moving figures"
in 6 reviews
"two hours"
in 11 reviews
"watch making"
in 4 reviews
"gift shop"
in 15 reviews
"interesting exhibits"
in 4 reviews
"every hour on the hour"
in 3 reviews
"sounds boring"
in 3 reviews
"national association"
in 3 reviews
"minute movie"
in 3 reviews
"worth a stop"
in 4 reviews
"self guided tour"
in 5 reviews
"lancaster county"
in 3 reviews
in 33 reviews
in 31 reviews

150 - 154 of 217 reviews

Reviewed November 22, 2013

I've been going to this musuem for decades. I did the video production for the clock tower dedication so I had connections and access.

This is a world class museum for time and related time keeping mechanisms through the mellenia. As my title states, words really cannot describe the place and you just have to see it all for yourself. You start out with a roughly 20 minute movie on time. Then you enter the museum. Starts with a Stonehenge type exhibit. There's just too much to describe. The hundreds upon hundreds (or thousands) of timepieces probably could not be valued. Must be millions, at least. You wind your way through the ages.

Thank Tom A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2013

This is truly as interesting and unique a museum as you'll find anywhere. Fascinating! I have traveled this area for years but only recently learned about it. I wish I had known earlier. We are now members and I even took a course at the School of Horology across the street. This museum is definitely worth a stop or a detour if you are in the Lancaster/York areas.

Thank Patrick B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

My wife and I stopped here while on a long weekend vacation. Living in Lancaster I have seen signs for the attraction, but have never stopped. It is well worth going to. The museum is massive and you copuld easily spend hours there. We were there a little over an hour, but with the schedule we were on we could not stay any longer. A nice treasure.

1  Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 10, 2013

I thought this place sounded silly when I looked at the brochure in our hotel, but when my family went to the Turkey Hill Experience they offered combo tickets to this for only a little extra. So we decided to go, and if it wasn't any good then we wouldn't have spent much. It was wonderful! The first 2 rooms aren't that great. They are about the history of time keeping, and don't have much to look at. But, when you turn the corner to the next room it is stuffed with beautiful old grandfather clocks! They have everything you could imagine from pocket watches set up in a old jewelry store setting, to a giant clock with figures that popped out (They did a demonstration on this). I think a small child would get bored since there is something to read on every clock, but it seems like the museum is doing some to fix this since there are some interactive exhibits on how clocks work. (Which actually helped me understand better) I only had 2 hours to spare here, but could easily have spent 4 there if I had read all I wanted to. Also, their bathrooms are spectacularly clean and have many stalls! It wasn't crowded at all either, there were maybe 8 other people there on a Saturday afternoon. I give them a 4/5 since I think their first 2 rooms could do with more exhibits and their gift shop was expensive. It sounds lame but trust me, you will love it!

Thank Katie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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