Home ยป History

Celebrating Pennsylvania’s Rural Heritage by Visiting the Somerset Historical Center

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. We will make a small commission from these links if you order something at no additional cost to you.

I’ve been to many different county and city historical society museums throughout the state, and the Somerset Historical Center has to be one of the most unique. Unlike the others, the Somerset Historical Center doesn’t really focus on the county’s important events or tell the story of famous people from Somerset. Instead, it focuses on one aspect of Somerset County’s historical culture: agriculture.

To tell the story of agriculture in Somerset County, they do have to cross over a bit into some other local history, but overall, the museum is designed as more of a history of farming in western Pennsylvania than it is a history of the people and events of Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Visits to the museum start with a brief overview of the Native Americans that used to reside in the area and how the Monongahela Indians lived and farmed in the region. From there, it’s on to a short film that provides a great overview of the history of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Signs and displays inside the Somerset Historical Center
Displays inside the Somerset Historical Center.

The museum itself is very well done, with a lot of informative signage and a great collection of historic farming equipment. Throughout the museum, there are areas labeled “How Do We Know?” that give kids a great chance to learn the how and why behind many of the items on display.

The museum showcases a large collection of antique farming equipment and tractors as well as a large Conestoga wagon. There is also a recreated general store that allows you to get a glimpse of what types of items were on display in the frontiers of Pennsylvania.

Electrical machinery on display inside the Somerset Historical Center
Electrical machinery on display inside the museum.

I especially enjoyed the section of the museum that discussed other jobs that farmers would do to make additional money when things on the farm were slow. One focus in this area was on the harvesting and production of maple syrup.

I was surprised to learn that Somerset County still produces more maple syrup than any other region in the state, and the display of the tools necessary to make syrup should be interesting to anyone who, like me, loves maple syrup products.

Walters Mill Covered Bridge at the Somerset Historical Center in PA
Walters Mill Covered Bridge sits on the grounds of the center.

Outside of the museum, there are several buildings that give you a great opportunity to experience what life was like on the frontiers of Pennsylvania. The property has one of the 10 covered bridges in Somerset County, a 1770s farmhouse, and an 1830s farmhouse which gives visitors a great chance to see how much life changed over the course of 60 years.

Given that the Somerset Historical Center is the only local museum that the county’s historical society runs, I would have really liked to have seen some information about the county’s large coal industry and read a bit about some of Somerset’s local celebrities.

The 1830s farmhouse that stands on the grounds of the Somerset Historical Center.
The 1830s farmhouse that stands on the grounds of the Somerset Historical Center.

However, while I would have loved to learn a bit more about the people and events that made Somerset County special, I did enjoy my time at the Somerset Historical Center. Their displays on the history of agriculture in the region are excellent and provide a great look into a part of society that I know I often take for granted.

If you’re looking to learn a bit more about the history of farming in Pennsylvania, I can’t imagine there is a better place in the state to visit.

Note: My visit to the Somerset Historical Center was hosted by the facility. However, the opinions in this article are my own and were not subject to review.

Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out the Quecreek Mine Rescue Site, Flight 93 National Memorial, and the Fort Bedford Museum.

Somerset Historical Center

Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: 10am-4pm

Cost: Adults: $6, Children: $3

Website: SomersetHistoricalCenter.org

Address: 10649 Somerset Pike
Somerset, PA 15501


See map for other area attractions.

Great places to stay in Somerset

Click the map to see more nearby things to do

Map of the Laurel Highlands"

More nearby places worth exploring

Find more things to do in the Laurel Highlands

Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!