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“Hidden Gem very close to VFNHP outside Philadelphia”

Wharton Esherick Museum
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Paoli
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Wharton Esherick was a sculptor who worked primarily in wood, readily extending his unique forms to furniture, furnishings, utensils, interiors, buildings and more. His motto, "if it isn't fun, it isn't worth doing," is evident in the joyful expression of his work, inviting the eye and the hand. A National Historic Landmark for Architecture, his hilltop studio/residence, with more than 300 of his works on exhibition, has been preserved much as it was when the artist lived and worked there. The Museum is open to the public through guided tours for which reservations are required.
Wayne, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
330 reviews
125 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 172 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem very close to VFNHP outside Philadelphia”
Reviewed May 31, 2012

I made an overnight trip to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater" and "Kentuck Knob" several years ago yet had never visited (or even heard much about!) Wharton Esherick's Museum in my own backyard...until this week! How did it happen that I knew nothing about the artistic genius of this man who lived in our neighborhood until his death in 1970 when I was in college? My friends and I were so impressed by our tour given by a very knowledgeable guide that we are now headed to Yellow Springs to see "Poplar Culture"...an exhibit of woodworkings by craftsmen who were invited to use their talent to create a piece from the wood of a tulip poplar tree that once stood near the entrance of Esherick's studio. The Wharton Esherick Museum is a must see for locals and for anyone who finds their travels take them in the vicinity of Valley Forge National Historical Park. Check out the website/blogs first so you know what to expect... and call ahead for reservations if you plan to visit during the week!

Visited May 2012
1 Thank Judy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
351 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
“Amazing Brillant and Humble Artist”
Reviewed March 1, 2012

My husband surprised me with a visit to this quirky, and truly breath-taking museum. If you can negotiate the tight spaces with other people in the museum, you can thoroughly enjoy the craftsmanship of the art Wharton Esherick. He was a visionary and the recycling he did way before it was fashionable and trendy was truly amazing! This is s MUST SEE when visiting the Philadelphia area.

1 Thank Sawwhetowls2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, NY
Level Contributor
114 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Great Place for Architecture and Art and Woodworkers - a gem”
Reviewed November 16, 2011

I'd "ditto" the other reviews.

This is a fascinating place that has an almost fairy-tale quality to the buildings and the interiors. You really need to see it in person as wide-angle lenses and such, as seen in pictures on their web site, don't really do it justice.

You must make reservations for a tour. The tour gives you about a 1.5 hour tour of the buildings and a guide offers details on much of what you see. Our guide was pleasant, interesting, and knowledgable. The tour involves a lot of standing which can be difficult for some of us, but there are some stools you can use if you need them . (Genuine Esherick stools might add! So you can park yourself on an expensive piece of history!).

I don't remember precisely, but handicap access might be a problem, climbing of stairs is required to see some of the building. Check if this is an issue.

Well worth the time and money. A bit hard to find, but worth the trouble.

Visited November 2011
1 Thank HimselfNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
429 reviews
146 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 236 helpful votes
“Ingenious and quirky home and studio of terrific wood artist”
Reviewed November 19, 2010

A big thumbs up for this museum and studio. Do call for reservations in advance. We lucked into a couple of spots on a small-group tour at last moment. Images of Frank Lloyd Wright come to mind but nothing so commercial or conservative. Esherick was a painter first but found his true calling in wood and design. The wood sculptures and furniture are positively sensual. The tour guides are passionate about the place and extended an hour long tour through their enthusiasm.

1 Thank mule54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
274 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“A must-see for woodworkers, craftsmen and...”
Reviewed May 22, 2010

A must-see for woodworkers, craftsmen and furniture enthusiasts. Esherick is in a beautiful setting, and the building is really special. Nary a straight line or right angle in the place. A sculptor, painter, etcher, artist and furniture maker. Just incredible stuff. You see the first floor of the studio and the second level bedroom area. And you get an opportunity to ascend the famous staircase. Truly an awesome site, unlike any other in the area. Be sure to call ahead and reserve a tour.

1 Thank LaChatNoir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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