Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

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Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts


Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts (Hub Wilson) 2

Discover Pennsylvania’s only Decorative Arts Museum and one of only 15 museums in the United States exclusively dedicated to the decorative arts.

About the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is housed in three interconnected mid-1800s homes featuring changing exhibits, period rooms, and galleries highlighting furniture, paintings, china, clothing, and silver over three centuries of decorative arts. This museum speaks to the changes in style and design over three centuries.

The Kemerer also features a garden designed by Scott Rothenberger's PLACE. The garden uses traditional horticultural sampling and classic landscape architectural elements in a creative and contemporary way. Throughout the garden are stainless steel sculptures created by Bethlehem native, Skip Karlik. With two stunning gardens full of lush sustainable plants, the cocktail garden and chapel garden, the Kemerer makes the perfect space for programs, parties, and events.

Kemerer Garden spring

Honoring Annie S. Kemerer

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The Kemerer Museum is named for Annie S. Kemerer who was born in 1865 just south of Bethlehem. Annie married into a prominent Bethlehem family; she and her husband had one son. Annie and her family enjoyed surrounding themselves with beautiful furniture, paintings, and decorative objects.

 

After the untimely deaths of her son and then her husband, she became a recluse but continued to be an avid collector of antiques. Through her generous bequest, the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts was established in Bethlehem
after her death in 1951.

 

Annie Kemerer’s extensive personal collection includes lovely examples of Pennsylvania German textiles, exquisite furniture, priceless Bohemian glass, and her breathtaking 200-piece wedding china.

Historic Bethlehem Collections Resource Center

The Collections Resource Center addition to the Kemerer Museum opened in the fall of 2013. This is a two-story environmentally controlled vault which houses all of the most sensitive objects in the collections of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites. On the interior there are floor to ceiling glass walls making it possible for visitors to see our priceless collections.

 

The second floor of the vault is home to the distinguished Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse and Toy Collection, forty-four structures and 6,000 pieces, making it one of the largest antique dollhouse collections in the United States. This collection, spanning the period from 1830-1930, recounts 100 years of architectural and decorative arts history.

 

Mrs. Prime was so precise in her collecting that she only put pieces in each house that were period-appropriate, down to the china. Because the collection is so vast, we feature select houses throughout the year on display.

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Plan Your Visit

GO ON A TOUR

  • Open by appointment-
    From Monday through Friday. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please email Director of Collections & Programming Lindsey Jancay at ljancay@historicbethlehem.org or call 1-800-360-TOUR.

BECOME A MEMBER

Thousands of people have walked these streets, farmed these lands, built these buildings and industries. Thousands of stories, thousands of lives to cherish.

Join a community of people who share our mission to preserve:

  • 20 historic structures
  • 60,000+ collections and artifacts
  • 3 centuries of rich history

What's Happening?

PURSEonality: A Stylish Handbag History Exhibition

Explore 500+ handbags from the private collection of Ilene Hochberg Wood.

Family Programs

FREE Sundays at Home
Every Sunday while museum is closed

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Bring your children to see our interactive play space Once Upon a TreeHouse Interactive Room!

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Site Rentals

The Kemerer is a one-of-a-kind destination sure to fascinate your guests!

Photo Credit to Greg Heller

Step back in time and celebrate your child's birthday with a party at the Kemerer Museum!

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Need Directions?

Start your visit by stopping by our Visitor Center.

Order your tour tickets, gather information, and shop in the museum store!

Get your Insiders Guide!

Original Cover Historic Moravian Bethlehem Book

Everything you need you know about the Kemerer Museum and more!

Want to see more of what Historic Bethlehem has to offer?

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74 West Broad Street, Suite 310, Bethlehem, PA 18018 | Phone: 610-882-0450 | FAX: 610-882-0460 | info@historicbethlehem.org

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.