Article By Izzy Jones Picture above: Amanda Wisner, Caroline Alegado, and Izzy Jones with the Glencairn Museum Curator, Pete Pennsylvania
Recently, I sat down for an interview with Pete inside the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, PA. I was excited to talk with Pete because he has worked at the museum for seventeen years and he went to the school the Pitcairns built.
There were four things that the Pitcairns focused on more than anything else that can be found in the artwork embedded in the walls of the museum that was once their home. One is family; they often represented the Pitcairn family as sheep or lambs. Two is religion; around the house there are lots of objects that look like menorahs, but they have seven candle spots instead of eight. Three is love of country; this ties into how each of the four boys were in the military. Lastly, is education; education was very important to the Pitcairn family. They even built a school across the street, made especially for their children.
The Pitcairns loved art and all the ceilings in the museum have detailed mosaics on them. All seven children played different instruments and sometimes had concerts for their parents.
Even though there are 8 floors in the Pitcairn mansion, the Pitcairn family spent most of their time on the third floor because it had most of the bedrooms and the biggest library to read all the books that they loved. They never had to leave the grounds except to visit friends because everything that they needed was in one of the three buildings on their property.
If you go to the side of the museum, you will be able to see the Pitcairn’s secret garden, which they still keep up today. You can even sit in Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn’s concrete chairs in the garden.
Every year in October, they have a Buddhist Monk come to the museum for three days and make sand art. On the third day, anyone who wants to can come over and wipe away any designs that had been created to represent a new beginning.
I had such a great time at the Glencairn Museum and I learned so much about the Pitcairn family. I hope by reading this, it encourages you to visit this museum. I can’t wait to go back for the Buddhist ceremony in October, and maybe learn some more about the mansion.