Explore the Past

President James Buchanan’s Wheatland

Museums & History

Lancaster County museums and tours offer insight into every aspect of the culture in PA Dutch Country, from local art and the Amish community to natural science, trains and Lancaster history.

DID YOU KNOW? Since its founding in 1729, Lancaster has had a rich and varied history. On September 27, 1777 Lancaster hosted the Second Continental Congress, turning the city into the U.S. capital for one day!

Learn more fun facts about Lancaster when you dive deep into its history on your next visit. You can even combine outdoor adventure throughout the county with it's history!

Follow this historical tour itinerary

History in Lancaster County


LancasterHistory welcomes you to the Lancaster Campus of History—our region’s hub for history and heritage and the perfect place in Central Pennsylvania for citizens to connect with the past. American history begins on the local level, and the Lancaster region played a critical role in the formation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and in the design of the founding documents of the United States a unique experiment in freedom and democracy.

President James Buchanan’s Wheatland

Visit Wheatland, the beloved home of 15th U.S. President James Buchanan, where period furnishings and personal artifacts tell the story of Buchanan, the president who struggled to calm a divided nation on the brink of civil war. Visitors will tour the 1828 mansion with knowledgeable guides, making it the perfect experience for history buffs and presidential history and home enthusiasts.

Exterior of Lancaster Central Market in downtown Lancaster

Lancaster Central Market

When you shop at Lancaster Central Market at Penn Square in the heart of Lancaster City you become a part of a living history. This is America's oldest farmers' market building. Since the 1730's farmers have been bringing meats and vegetables to the site for sale to local residents. Many of today's standholders have been "on market" since the early 1900's.

Historic Rock Ford

Visit the circa 1794 Georgian-style mansion of General Edward Hand, adjutant general to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Historic Rock Ford is situated on 33 acres on the banks of the Conestoga River one mile south of Lancaster. Guided tours are offers of the Hand Mansion as well as the opportunity to visit the new John J. Snyder, Jr. Gallery of Early Lancaster County Decorative Arts housed on the second floor of the reconstructed 18th century bank barn.

Ephrata Cloister

Since its start in 1732, the Historic Ephrata Cloister has attracted visitors fascinated by the community’s unique lifestyle that allowed the creation of incredible architecture, original music, significant publications, and remarkable art. Originally, Ephrata was a retreat from worldly distractions where devoted members followed a disciplined life designed to prepare them for a heavenly existence. Today, you can explore the surviving historic site and discover the history and culture of an intriguing story in the nation’s past.

History of the Underground Railroad

By the 1830s, Lancaster County became an important area for those individuals on their journey to freedom. The county's location along the Mason-Dixon line, some of its residents' devotion to freedom (supported by religious convictions), and Lancaster’s transportation connections to other free northern states made it ideal as a pathway to freedom.

Experience history during your stay

A three-floor brick mansion with white detailing, columns, and a grand staircase that belonged to James Buchanan.

Explore Lancaster County's history and heritage.

For an authentic immersion in early Pennsylvania German life (1740-1940), visit Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum.

From history to hands on, we’ve got you covered.

Attention history buffs! It’s one thing to read about history but it’s a whole other experience to stay overnight at a historical hotel...

Haunted Lancaster County

Explore these spooky Lancaster locations.

group of friends eating at restaurant

Enjoy a taste of history at one of these long-standing and historic dining establishments.

Hans Herr House and Museum

1719 Museum

The 1719 Herr House stands as the oldest structure and the...

Barry's Car Barn

Barry's Car Barn

Take a trip down memory lane with Barry's collection of...

Demuth Museum

Demuth Museum

A master watercolorist and pioneer of the Precisionist...

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society

Mennonite Life

Experience the material beauty wrought by Lancaster...