The Hagen History Center (also called HHC) has an incredible collection of Erie facts, information, artifacts, and much more. Located in Erie, PA, the HHC is actually a campus that is made up of 5 buildings! The five of them are:
- Watson-Curtze Mansion
- Wood-Morrison House
- Carriage House Visitor Center & Gift Shop
- New Exhibit Building
- The King-Mertens Archival Storage Building
Explore all five at your leisure! They are open to anyone with a ticket. Go to the Welcome Desk located in the Carriage House Visitor Center & Gift Shop to purchase yours! If you aren’t able to make it to the campus, there is a free virtual tour of the Watson-Curtze Mansion located here: https://www.eriehistory.org/visit/virtual-tour/
One of the best times to check out the Hagen History Center is around the holidays because all of the buildings are filled head to toe with gorgeous decorations.
The Watson-Curtze Mansion once belonged to Harrison F. Watson plus family, and then was owned by Frederic Felix Curtze plus family. The mansion was later donated to the Erie School District and is now officially considered a Historic Place. Facts of the family’s history is spilling out of every corner, as well as other info from the past, such as the Civil War.
This mansion is absolutely gorgeous! When I walked through it recently in December 2021, I imagined what it was like to live long ago in a place so beautiful. It was also cool to learn about how different life was back when the Watson’s and the Curtze’s were living there! There are so many different rooms, all with something cool to learn or look at. Even if you don’t read a single fact, just seeing the beauty of the mansion with your own eyes is worth the price of admission!
Fun fact: a lot of local Erie bands have filmed songs and also play shows on the top floor of the mansion!
The Wood-Morrison House was originally built by Dr. William Maxwell Wood back in the 1800’s. This house is jam-packed with historical facts and even has recent Erie information from current events. The upstairs is not available for visitors to check out at this time. Make sure to check out exhibits here such as:
- Erie and the Navy
- The Admiral Thomas Weschler Military Gallery
- The Erie Extension Canal
Carriage House Visitor Center & Gift Shop
The gift shop had amazing items for sale. Items included apparel, books, toys, and knick-knacks. My favorite was a tiny “Erie” sign (wouldn’t that make a perfect gift for someone who loves Erie?)!
The Carriage House had some amazing vintage cars parked in the garage. There is many a fact here on different methods of travel in Erie through the ages, even steamboats!
New Exhibit Building
The New Exhibit Building was just recently built in 2019. The 1st floor has various exhibits while the 2nd floor is not yet open. Exciting news: the 2nd floor will be open in 2022!
My favorite part of the New Exhibit Building is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Office. (Yes, his actual office is located inside!) Check out my post on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Office: Visit Famous Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Office in Erie (erieactivities.com)
The King-Mertens Archival Storage Building
An array of archived materials are housed here and is great for researchers. Be sure to check out the following exhibits:
- Open Storage
- The Erie Hall of Fame
- The Temporary Exhibit Gallery
Hours: Check their website for updated hours; current hours as of December 2021 are:
Age: All ages
Cost: Hagen History Center Members: Free
Students & Seniors: $7.50
Children 6 & Under: Free
Address: Hagen History Center
356 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16507
Looking for more to do in Erie? Check out my post Different Places to Take Your Dog in Erie – Erie Activities