National Canal Museum

For additional information please call 610-923-3548

About the Archives

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The Archives are open by appointment for personal and professional research. Access is free for Canal Museum members and Penna. Canal Society members; there is a fee of $10 for nonmembers.

Please contact us ahead of your visit either by calling 610-923-3548 ext. 237 or email

The Place to Come When Doing Canal Research!


The museumís collections reflect the material culture and document the history of America's canals and navigable rivers plus canal-related industries in the Lehigh Valley. The museumís holdings include: 3,753 artifacts; 3,890 reels of film, video cassettes, and audio (oral history) tapes; 52,782 slides, photographs and negative images; 31,824 engineering drawings; a library of more than 13,483 volumes; 736 linear feet of manuscript materials; and 261 rolls of microfilm. Among the museumís archival holdings are rare film footage of canal life, historic photographs, canal maps, captainís logs, a complete set of the Army Corps of Engineersí annual reports to Congress, and engineering plans for 15 towpath canals east of the Mississippi River.

The museum maintains large industrial artifacts, including a 350-horsepower Harrisburg Uni-Flow stationary steam engine, industrial blacksmith machines, shaft and belt-driven woodworking and metalworking equipment, a 1920s Dixie cup making machine, a mine service 0-4-0 Vulcan steam locomotive, and a silk loom, reeler and doubler. The Elaine and Peter Emrick Technology Center, a new museum and educational facility to be located in the park, will house these artifacts related to industries that developed along the Lehigh Canal. Fifteen percent of the museumís artifacts are on display in the main museum building at Two Rivers Landing and in the Locktender's House Museum at Hugh Moore Park.

NCM is responsible for maintaining and interpreting the historic structures and sites within the 260 acres that comprise Hugh Moore Park, a National Register Historic District. These include Section 8 of the Lehigh Canal and its three operating locks, a locktenderís house, ruins from three nineteenth century industrial areas, and the Change Bridge, one of the first iron cable suspension bridges constructed in America.

The variety of artifacts and research materials promotes the appreciation, preservation and restoration of canal-related sites in the United States and Canada. Our interpreters use these resources to show visitors how canals helped create a regional and national economy. Visitors also learn about life on the canal and discover the technological advances that canals introduced. Through on- and off-site education programs we promote learning and appreciation of the transportation and industrial revolutions in the economic, technological and cultural history of the United States and the Lehigh Valley region.

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