As the first national historic landmark district in Western Pennsylvania, the Harmony Museum preserves, shares, and interprets interprets over 250 years of history dating all the way back to George Washington's 1753 expedition. Visitors can learn the history of the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) tribe and the Murdering Town, as well as the Harmonists from Germany and the Mennonites who settled in the area. They can also view the a one-of-a-kind collection of sporting rifles created by local gunsmiths in the 19th century. Historic Harmony operates eight properties in this location. In addition to the main museum building, guests can tour the Mennonite meetinghouse, cemetery, Great House, Langen Bacher House, the Harmonist Church, the "Stohr," the Beam Hotel, Frederick Rapp House, Schmitt House, Schreiber House, Wagner House, and the Muller House.
Backstory and Context
The Harmony Museum was founded in 1943 to foster education and appreciation for the Harmonists and their influence on Western Pennsylvania. The town of Harmony was founded in 1804 and was the first settlement by the Harmony Society when they migrated to the United States after facing persecution from the Lutheren Church. The Harmony Society, led by German Johann Georg Rapp, was a Christian theosophy and pietist society composed of millennialists (they believed Jesus Christ's second coming would happen during their generation) who believed in celibacy, the New Testament, and in nonviolence.