Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution



Holiday Dinner & Auction Artwork Preview: Community Gallery November 6th through November 29th

Merry Christmas with Moritz: Dollhouse Gallery

Coming this Christmas 2015, enjoy the splendor of the Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse collection with its nod to one of the  finest dollhouse manufacturers, Moritz Gottschalk.  Beginning in 1865, this German based company, founded by Ludwig Moritz  Gottschalk (1840-1905) was able to produce beautiful and elaborate dollhouses on a mass level.  These dollhouses were being  imported into America at a rapid rate and the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is excited to display several from its collection.  Visitors will see a selection of the notorious blue roof townhouses, a gilded grocery store, and a whimsical, yet functional stable.  So  step into Moritz’s magical world of dollhouse finery this November. (November 13 - April 3, 2016)

All Dolled Up: Polly & Her Sisters

Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites announces a new temporary exhibit: All Dolled Up: Polly & Her Sisters, Moravian benefit dolls, opening November 16th in the Moravian Museum at the 1741 Gemeinhaus located at 66 West Church Street in Historic Bethlehem, PA.

The Polly Heckewelder cloth doll  made by the Moravian Ladies Sewing Society of Central Moravian Church since 1872 will be featured along with the Anna Nitschmann portrait doll made by the Busy Workers Society , also of Central Moravian Church, since 1953.  Both of these benefit dolls are still made. Becky Langley  and Countess Benigna, benefit dolls,  formerly made by Edgeboro Moravian and First Moravian (now Advent Moravian) Churches respectively will also be included in the exhibit.  Come learn about Moravian sisters and the dolls which were made to benefit Church causes.

Dolls include:

Polly Heckewelder, second white child born in the Ohio territory, started the Ladies Sewing Society to make bandages for the Civil War.  Group decided to stay together  and started making dolls in 1872, oldest continuously made rag doll in America

Anna Nitschmann, founded Moravian Single Sisters’ Choir, was Zinzendorf’s second wife

Backy Langley, lived in the Single Sisters’ House and made banner for Count Pulaski during the Revolutionary War, memorialized in the poem Hymn to the Moravian Nuns by Longfellow

David Nitschmann, Moravian bishop, lived in Bethlehem in the early days of the community ??

Rebecca Burnside, daughter of James Burnside, died at age 6

Benigna, founded Girls’ School, daughter of Zinzendorf

Maggie/Bessie Dolls – Old Salem doll

You can see the original doll given to the real Polly Heckewelder in 1781 at the Moravian Archives in their exhibit Polly Heckewelder and Her Doll.  The exhibit at the Moravian Archives is free and open 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.

100 Years of Gift Giving 

Sponsored by Golden Pepper Production Inc.

Children list them, parents hide them, lovers search for them, faraway friends mail them… Christmas presents, with their festive paper and bows have become central figures in the Yule Tide Season. Gifts are often seen as a means to express love and appreciation, but a look back at gifting practices over the last 100 years shows how reflective gift giving can be of the social and economic conditions under which presents are exchanged.

This winter, the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts will showcase the elements of gifting: conception, shopping, making, wrapping, and expressing gratitude through a range of artifacts, performances, events and educational programs. Featuring collection items on loan from the Lehigh Archives and Duke University Special Collections, and reproductions of Vogue Magazine and New York Times articles, this exhibition seeks to connect gifting practices of the past to those of the present, here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Logo - Golden Pepper Production Inc.


Trees of Many Colors

A kaleidoscope of Christmas cheer that dazzles the senses. See beautifully decorated trees featuring themed colors throughout our historic sites. Carefully chosen ornamental themes are prepared and applied by volunteers from the Bethlehem Garden Club. Enjoy our annual tree display as part of your family's holiday tradition, or start a new tradition in 2015. Trees of Many Colors is sponsored by The Morning Call.

Tree Locations: Click on the location name to see hours of operation
NEW in 2015! Luckenbach Mill
Holiday Putz Trail

We are excited to present our Holiday Putz Trail, a collection of displays at three of our historic sites. A Putz is a  traditional Moravian decoration used around Christmas time.  The word comes from the German term, which means  “to decorate” or “to embellish.”  These miniature replicas depict various settings of the Nativity story through the use of ornately produced figurines, animals and building structures to recreate the holiest of scenes.

Putz Trail Locations: Click on site location to see hours of operation
NEW in 2015! 1810 Goundie House


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Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Registration and financial information about Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Inc. may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999, or on the web at www.dos.state.pa.us. Registration does not imply endorsement.