Set on 28 beautiful acres, Ephrata Cloister offers visitors a glimpse into a community created by people seeking the religious liberty offered in America. Founded in 1732, Ephrata was a Protestant monastic community of celibate Brothers and Sisters supported by a married congregation living near the settlement. Members sought spiritual goals rather than earthly rewards, choosing Saturday as their main day of worship. At its zenith in the 1740s and 1750s, the congregation numbered nearly 300 people. Housed in impressive Germanic-style buildings, the lifestyle of the celibate members included strict self-discipline and self-denial. They became known for their self-composed music, Germanic calligraphy called Frakturschriften and printing. Following the death of the last celibate member in 1813, the remaining married congregation formed the German Seventh-Day Baptist Church. Members continued to worship at the Cloister until 1934. The surviving elements of the historic site were acquired by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1941.
Guided tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday. A typical visit takes approximately 1-1/2 hours — however, we will schedule a visit according to your needs and time constraints. An annual sale of apple dumplings is held in October. Two holiday programs are offered in December. The Museum Store at Ephrata Cloister offers books, prints, handmade crafts and fine gifts.
Group rates are available. School groups (K–12th grade) may visit for as little as $1 per student. More in-depth special focus school tours are available, as well as programs developed specifically for home schooled students. Please contact Ephrata Cloister to learn more. Free off-street parking can accommodate motorcoaches.
Ephrata Cloister is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with the generous support of the Ephrata Cloister Associates, a private, non-profit organization supporting the preservation of the National Historic Landmark.