Erie County Historical Society

Since 1903, The Erie County Historical Society (ECHS) has been dedicated to collecting, preserving and promoting the study of our region’s history.

Doing business as the Hagen History Center, the HHC engages and inspires a diverse audience by exhibiting links to the past, understanding the present and guiding for the future, while preserving the history of Erie County, Northwestern Pennsylvania, and our national heritage.

The HHC engages the community through dynamic educational programs, inspiring exhibits, community building programs, and relevant publications. We preserve collections representing over 200 years of our history. Our archives and collections serve as a comprehensive and accessible resource for researchers, educators, students, and the public.

To truly appreciate Erie’s heritage, visit the museum at the Hagen History Center to see firsthand the many exhibits including Strong Vincent’s sword, Mad Anthony Wayne’s pot and our Griswold collection. Due to the current health and public safety situation, we are temporarily closed to the public. Watch our website, eriehistory.org, for updates and to take a virtual tour. We invite you to visit and Make History With Us!

Organization description

 Whether you’re a history aficionado, novice, Erieite or visitor, the Hagen History Center has something for everyone. Explore and learn more about Erie’s rich history and limitless future with a visit to the Hagen History Center. 

The Hagen History Center campus includes 20 exhibit galleries in the Watson-Curtze Mansion and Museum, the Education Center in the Wood Morrison House, a new exhibit building behind the Wood-Morrison House, and the Carriage House Visitors’ Center with the King-Mertens Archive Building. We expect to re-open to the public by late spring.

The beautiful Watson-Curtze Mansion, built in 1891, features 24 rooms, intricate wood carvings, multiple stained-glass windows, 12 fireplaces, solarium, and a 3rd floor ballroom. The mansion is listed on the National Historical Register and houses thematic galleries of Erie’s history on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The first-floor features Victorian furniture & décor. 

The thematic galleries include:

  • NEW Winifred’s Bedroom
  • Iverd (art) Exhibit 
  • Expanded Griswold ironware Exhibit
  • Ethnic Erie Gallery  
  • Manufacturing Gallery
  • Civil War Gallery
  • Mr. Watson's Billiard Room

We offer guided and self-guided tours for individuals, groups and school children. The mansion is also the venue for the ECHS Educational Speaker Series, Victorian Holidays showcasing the home professionally decorated, and Civil War Roundtables Speakers. 

The Carriage House and Archive Building feature a gift shop, research library, and archival storage. The Archive Building stores 10,000 square feet of treasures, including rare books, historic maps, architectural plans and photographs.   

The Wood-Morrison House has 3 new exhibits on the first floor for 2021. The second floor is the site of the ECHS Education Center and features 3 classrooms for lectures and educational opportunities.  

Also opening in 2021 is the new exhibit building behind the Wood-Morrison House. The first floor will feature 4 new galleries including an exhibit of national significance. Additional galleries on the second floor will be opened in 2022.  

The PRD Group, which has designed exhibits for Presidential Libraries, the Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress, has designed the new exhibits. The PRD exhibits will encourage critical thinking with hands-on, interactive, dynamic, big picture exhibits; develop an appreciation for our heritage and pride in our community with an understanding of Erie’s rich history; and encourage increased local attendance and large-scale tourism with the Hagen History Center being a destination point.   

This is an exciting opportunity for Erie as part of the ongoing downtown revitalization.


The ECHS also preserves and displays Erie County history in Girard, PA. The Girard Campus includes the historic Battles Estate Yellow House and White House which are open by appointment only.

How will donations be applied?

You can become part of Erie’s future by donating to preserve Erie’s heritage.

Donations to ECHS help us maintain the Watson-Curtze Mansion, the Wood-Morrison House, the new exhibit building, the Carriage House and Archives Building on West 6th Street in Erie, PA.  Donations also help maintain the Battles Estate Farmhouses in Girard, PA.   

It is because of the ongoing support of the Erie community that ECHS maintains over 35,000 objects, nearly 2 miles of boxes containing the archives of Erie County’s history.

So many exciting things are happening at the Hagen History Center. The new programs, new exhibits, new construction, and new educational opportunities have all been developed to fulfill the ECHS mission to preserve our history and educate the public. 

The day-to-day funding for operations needs your support. 

Your gift to the ECHS shows your investment in Erie's future. Your support enhances existing exhibits, helps create new exhibits, and preserves Erie's rich history for generations to come.

You are the key to preserving our region’s history and passing that heritage along to the children of our community.