Joseph Priestley House [PA]
When Joseph Priestley (17331804) is remembered today, it is usually for his 1774 discovery, in England, of oxygen. Few know he was a noted theologian, political progressive, and prolific author whose scientific contributions include the development of the carbonation process, the identification of carbon monoxide, and early experiments in electricity. He counted Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Watt among his friends. Yet Priestley was also a controversial figure whose views were so odious to some of his countrymen that his house, Fair Hill in Birmingham, was burned in a riot, and he and his family left England. Priestley spent the last 10 years of his life in Northumberland, PA, where he continued his work in science, religion, and education. But even in this democratic republic his liberal ideas were frequently received with intolerance, and the peace that he so ardently desired was often elusive. Today, the Joseph Priestley House is an historic site that preserves and interprets the contributions and significance to American history of Joseph Priestley, noted English theologian, educator, natural philosopher, and political theorist.
The house offers a short film, exhibits, tours, educational programs, research library access, and occasional recreational and educational events (including living history events).