Novelty Timepieces Gallery
Although the primary purpose of a clock is to tell time, this is not necessarily the only purpose. Many clocks have been designed to dazzle, entertain, and even instruct those who see them. Since the earliest days of the mechanical clock, clockmakers have sought to make timepieces that are mechanically and decoratively unique.Read More
With more than 20 galleries to explore, the National Watch & Clock Museum features timekeepers from all over the world spanning centuries. From sundials to atomic clocks, the Museum has it all.
- 18th-Century Gallery
- 19th-Century Gallery
- Early American Watchmaking
- Asian Horology
- Jeweler’s Shop Gallery
- Current Time Gallery
- Novelty Timepieces Gallery
- Escapement Exhibit
- European Clock Gallery
- Time on the Road Gallery
- The Robert Wolf Marine Chronometer
- Hamilton Watch Gallery
- Wristwatch Gallery
- Member Contribution Gallery
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The 18th-Century Gallery
The 18th-Century Gallery features tall, or grandfather, clocks from the United States and Europe. Although the mechanical technology is similar in both types, European clocks far surpassed American clocks during this period in artistry, dial design, and cabinetry.
The 19th-Century Gallery
Children can have fun designing tall clocks and clock faces in this and the 19th Century Galleries while adults try to decipher how to tell time on the Franklin Clock, an unusual timepiece invented by Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s.
Early American Watchmaking Gallery
Pocket watches enabled people to tell time wherever they went, and the Early American Watchmaking Gallery features an extensive collection, including from the Lancaster, PA, Hamilton Watch Company. The gallery also includes factory machinery from that period that still works.
The Asian Horology Gallery
The Asian Horology Gallery features clocks from China and Japan, including lantern, incense, and the rather mystifying Shaku-Dokei clocks. Shaku-Dokei clocks display time differently according to season.
The Jeweler’s Shop Gallery
The Jeweler’s Shop Gallery authentically replicates a jewelry store from the early 1900s, giving visitors the sense they’ve stepped back in time.
The Current Time Gallery
The Current Time Gallery features electric clocks from the mid-1800s through modern times. In the Tower Clock Gallery, visitors can see the inner workings of a tower clock. Children will enjoy exploring hands-on activities in the Dr. Fred & Isabel Beeker Learning Center.
Novelty Timepieces Gallery
Those interested in the unusual will enjoy both The Interest of Time and The Roger and Alice Dankert Novelty Timepieces Galleries, featuring advertising and novelty clocks, respectively.
The Museum’s interactive Escapement Exhibit nicely illustrates how clock gears work to keep time. A clock’s escapement causes the tick and tock.
The European Clock Gallery
Europe was the leader in designing clocks that were also works of art. The European Clock Production Gallery features impressive examples from different periods. The largest on display is a conical pendulum clock from France designed by Eugène Farcot in the late 1800s.
The Time on the Road Gallery
The Time on the Road Gallery features clocks from car dashboards and steering wheels as well as from various aircraft.
The Robert Wolf Marine Chronometer Gallery
Finding longitude at sea was nearly possible until the mid-1700s when John Harrison invented the marine chronometer – the first to keep accurate time at sea. The Robert Wolf Marine Chronometer Gallery features chronometers through history, including a few the Hamilton Watch Company mass-produced during WWII.
The Hamilton Watch Gallery
The famous Hamilton Watch Company, now a part of the Swatch Group, began in Lancaster County. The Museum features a large display of Hamilton pocket watches, wristwatches, chronometers, desk clocks, and even the first-ever electric watch. The Museum is also proud to house the Hamilton archives.
The Wristwatch Gallery
The Wristwatch Gallery features watch styles from the late 1800s until the present day, including several models worn in various James Bond movies as well as more novelty and children’s watches. The exhibit also features the first smartwatch.
The Member Contribution Gallery
The Member Contribution Gallery, as its name suggests, is where museum members can place special items from their personal collections for museum visitors to enjoy. This gallery’s exhibit changes frequently, so no two visits may be the same. One thing is for sure, this gallery will feature the most uncommon pieces, such as a wooden sculpture clock constructed in 1994.