Stand on the exact spot where U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt called the PA State Capitol Building the “handsomest building” he’d ever seen. Learn something new about your favorite candy bar at a Hershey museum like The Hershey Story, Museum on Chocolate Avenue. Walk the hallways of the mansions that housed some of Harrisburg’s most influential figures. Find a new perspective browsing abstract, contemporary, or impressionistic works at an art gallery in Harrisburg. Our heritage, rich history, and present day are the building blocks of our region, and we invite you to explore, inquire, learn, and applaud!
Art Galleries and City Murals
Harrisburg has an abundance of art, and our collections appeal to art lovers and apprentice admirers alike. From beautiful, curated galleries like the Susquehanna Art Museum to the historical (and free to browse) Art Association of Harrisburg, you’ll find an assortment of pieces in a variety of styles and themes that speaks to our region's versatile, artistic creativity. On a mission to beautify the city with colorful and cultural street art, Sprocket Mural Works has sponsored dozens of urban art projects, from four-story building mosaics to painted electrical boxes that provide a pop of color on every block. Best of all, the art in Harrisburg is approachable, and our city’s artisans want you to know that art is for everyone to enjoy.
There’s no shortage of history and fun facts about Hershey & Harrisburg, and our museums expertly preserve stories of our past for visitors like you today. The National Civil War Museum atop its perch in Reservoir Park in Harrisburg is one of the largest in the world that’s dedicated solely to the American Civil War. Through stories from both sides of the battlefield and thousands of artifacts, this museum's exhibits are both heartbreaking and inspiring. If you’re into cars today, don’t miss the cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and memorabilia of the past at AACA Museum, Inc., an impressive Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Hershey. The State Museum of Pennsylvania, with its considerable collections that fill three floors of exhibits, includes everything you ever wanted to learn about Pennsylvania, and then some. The museum event takes it way back to the age of the dinosaurs, geology and planet Earth, outer space, and back again.
People have asked, “How come Philadelphia or Pittsburgh isn’t Pennsylvania’s capital?” It just takes a little digging into the city’s history to learn how remarkable of a place Harrisburg is. It’s position on the banks of the Susquehanna River and the success of the 18th century ferry system operated by the Harris family made Harrisburg an important destination for colonists traveling through the state. Additionally, Harrisburg was the intersection point of two major Native American trade routes providing access in all directions. If you recall the makeup of the 13 colonies, Pennsylvania is right in the middle, and Harrisburg is in the middle of the state! You’ll even come to find that Harrisburg was once on the short list of cities to become the nation’s capital. Harrisburg is an eclectic and interesting city, and you’re shortchanging yourself if you haven’t visited yet!
There’s a sweet history waiting to be unwrapped in Hershey. Did you know Milton S. Hershey reserved a first-class stateroom on the Titanic but had a last-minute change of plans? Or that Hersheypark® was first built as a place for chocolate factory workers and their families to relax? Start your exploration at The Hershey Story, Museum on Chocolate Avenue, an interactive chocolate-covered history lesson for kids and parents alike. If you’re familiar with how Hershey became the town built on chocolate, you might like to know what the region was like before Hershey arrived. The Hershey-Derry Historical Society & History Museum covers the area’s first inhabitants and European settlers, as well as other famous folks from Hershey like Major Dick Winters of the Band of Brothers story.
Browse our art, history, museum, culture, and science offerings below.