The National Watch and Clock Museum was officially opened to the public in 1977 with fewer than 1,000 items. Since that time, the collection has increased to over 12,000 items and the museum has undergone several expansion projects. The latest expansion opened in October 1999 and featured an entirely new and redesigned exhibit space, as well as a new two-story addition. Today, the museum is recognized as the largest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America.
The Museum collection is international in scope and covers a wide variety of clocks, watches, tools, and other time-related items. The main focus of the collection is on nineteenth-century American clocks and watches. However, additional collections include early English Tallcase clocks, Asian timepieces from Japan and China, and timekeeping devices from Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Russia. Chronologically, the exhibits take you on a tour through the entire history of timekeeping technology from early non-mechanical devices to today’s atomic and radio controlled clocks.
Special temporary exhibits are also part of the museum experience. Previous exhibits have examined military timekeeping, fine timepieces from around the world, Civil War timepieces, and American Tallcase clocks.