The collections of the Mercer Museum were conceived as an encyclopedic assemblage of pre-industrial American material culture with the potential to teach history "from a new point of view". Established in 1897, the collection is now recognized as one of the most extensive collections of artifacts associated with everyday life and work in early America. Among its more than 50,000 objects, the museum is renowned for its collections of tools and artifacts associated with pre-industrial trades, crafts, agriculture and domestic work. Walk into the Central Court and see a Conestoga wagon, whaling boat, carriages and an antique fire engine suspended overhead. The collections are considered by museum professionals, technology scholars, and tool collectors to be the most complete collection of its kind in America.