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Somerset Historical Center and Visitors' Center

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1996–1997, Susan Maxman and Partners; Missy Maxwell, project architect. 10649 Somerset Pike (PA 985), 4.5 miles north of Somerset

Set in the semirural outskirts of Somerset, the Historical Society and Visitors' Center building is the centerpiece of a thirty-acre agricultural history museum, and one of the few, post-1980 buildings in the county. The outdoor portion of the complex displays agricultural lifestyles of different eras, including a settlers' cabin (1790s), a farmstead (1850s), and a dairy farm (1920s). The buildings were either moved to the site or are replicas. The Visitors' Center contains exhibition space, and houses the Somerset Historical Society. It was designed by Philadelphia-based Susan Maxman and her firm, which is known for designing environmentally responsive public buildings. The center takes its inspiration from agricultural structures, with their cupolas, clerestory windows, and steeply pitched roofs. Using common materials such as laminated wood and exterior metal siding, it evokes the ubiquity of prefabricated metal structures on late-twentieth-century farms.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Somerset Historical Center and Visitors' Center", [Somerset, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 391-391.

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