America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
America on Wheels Museum
Along the banks of the Lehigh River, not far from the trailhead for the National Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Trail, which runs 165 miles from Bucks County to the coal regions of Pennsylvania, sits a gem of a relatively new museum that touches on the subject of a unique american treasure, the open road and the vehicles which traverse it. The subtitle to the museum says it all; it's the Museum for Over the Road Transportation. So no planes or trains, but plenty of automobiles from the many eras since Henry, trucks of the Mack variety, and even a Segway thrown in for good measure. Wonder if there are shoes. With 43,000 square foot of space spread out in fine style with engaging exbibits, all wrapped around a historic building for good measure, the museum tells the story about the transport that forged a nation from one sea to the other, assisting in both migration west and commerce from coast to coast. Photo above: Exhibits inside the America on Wheels Museum.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
America on Wheels Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania
The exhibits are spread out among several galleries, some which rotate their exhibits, and there are hands-on interpretive displays that can keep adults and children from their attention deficit tendencies, like learning to drive a Mack Truck, for one.
It's also a great place to get the educational experience, with programs for the individual and your class. So if you're anywhere close to the museum and want to visit and learn, give them a call and arrange for your group to come.
Not far outside the walls of the museum within the National Heritage corridor, you can still see examples of transportation that took a different road than the focus of the museum, the railroad. Freight trains cross the river toward the museum on a regular basis with a freight yard directly next to the trailhead of the canal. So you get history of the road, the railroad, mules, canals, and industrial revolution all in one, plus the changing character of an area once steeped in the tradition of all that as it moves into the 21st century trying to keep pace and make the historic connections between them.
Photo above: The bright and glimmering museum on the bank so the Lehigh River. Photo below: Outdoors exhibit in summer of historic vehicles.
Where Is It
Not the easiest travail as the location is along the LeHigh River near downtown and not any major highways. Best bet. Come off I-78, Route 145 North, to Hamilton Street, then take a right. Not far from there. Look for signs to the site.
What is There Now
43,000 square feet of exhibit space.
An Orientation Theatre.
A gift shop.
Rotating exhibits every six months.
Plenty of Parking, but be wary that this is a one way street and turn right out of the lot when leaving.
When Did It Open
The America On Wheels Museum opened on April 8, 2008.
How Much to Visit
Adult - $10.00
Senior - $8.00
Student (6-16) - $6.00
Child (Under 6) - Free
Child (Under 12) - Free on Sundays
April to December, open Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. January to March, open Wednesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Holiday hours may differ.
How Many People Visit
35,000 people per year. And growing!!
America on Wheels Museum
Audubon Auto Tour, Two Rivers Landing Visitor Center and Canal Museum (Easton), National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Jim Thorpe, and Eckley Mining Village. There's also the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, both National Park Service units.
Photo above: Pennsylvania Coal Miners circa 1900, courtesy Library of Congress.