A project for the whole community

LancasterHistory is deeply committed to creating a museum space that is a model of accessibility and community engagement for all visitors—especially our neighbors. The Stevens & Smith Center will provide educational experiences for regional schools, partnership opportunities with area businesses and nonprofits, and economic benefit for the surrounding neighborhoods.

a historical building in downtown Lancaster masked by an ampersand

The Stevens & Smith Center will be located in the heart of downtown Lancaster in a traditionally underserved part of the city. It will bring educational opportunities, retail sales, increased visibility, and new cultural opportunities to this historically important part of the community.

Job creation and retail sales

Increase traffic to nearby cultural attractions, shops, hotels, and restaurants.

Contribute to the vibrancy of the Southeast neighborhoods

Using a conservative estimate of 50,000 annual visitors:

The Stevens & Smith Center will generate more than $90 million in tourism-related revenue for Lancaster in its first five years.

LancasterHistory honors the legacies of Lydia Hamilton Smith and Thaddeus Stevens by helping the next generation carry on their work with courage, perseverance, and hope.

Mission Statement

At the Thaddeus Stevens & Lydia Hamilton Smith Center for History and Democracy, we chronicle, interpret, and advance the accomplishments of Thaddeus Stevens, Lydia Hamilton Smith, and others who fought for equality and championed citizenship in the United States. We seek to promote democracy in action by connecting past and present freedom struggles — emboldening visitors to make positive change in their communities.

Values Statement

We draw inspiration and vitality from the lives of Thaddeus Stevens, Lydia Hamilton Smith, and others to: align our actions with all seekers of freedom; ensure equality of opportunity in all our endeavors; shoulder our responsibilities as citizens in a representative democracy; and foster positive change in our communities and country.