Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution

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About Us


Who We Are, What We Do

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites interprets three centuries of the history and culture of Bethlehem from its founding as a Moravian community in 1741 to the 21st century. By vividly telling the stories of Bethlehem’s people through well-maintained buildings and sites, rare collections that are available through exhibits and research, and electrifying educational programs, we show the zeal and commitment of Bethlehem’s community in forging our American nation.

Mission & Vision

Mission Statement:

The mission of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is to bring history to life by educating the public about Bethlehem’s rich heritage, by preserving historic sites and by collecting, preserving and exhibiting historical and artistic objects that can be used to tell the stories of Bethlehem’s people.

Vision Statement:

Historic Bethlehem Partnership will establish itself as the premier historical organization in our region by presenting, powerfully and credibly, three centuries of Bethlehem’s unique history. Well maintained buildings and sites, collections that are accessible through exhibits and for research, and educational programs designed to engage diverse members of the community will engender a sense of place that connects one generation to another, showing the zeal and commitment of Bethlehem’s Moravian founders and the strength and foresight of our industrial community in forging our American nation.

A Brief History

Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Inc. T/A Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites (HBMS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that formed in 1993 to consolidate the operations of several local museums and historic sites including Burnside Plantation, Inc., Historic Bethlehem Incorporated, Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, Inc. and Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, Inc. We provide property management, financial management, fundraising, curatorial services, educational services, public relations/marketing, and oversight of daily operations to our affiliated member institutions.

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites maintains 20 historic buildings and sites in Bethlehem.

  • 1748/1848 Burnside Plantation, our 6.5 acre farm in the city, includes the 1748/1818 farmhouse, 1820s summer kitchen and corncrib, 1840s wagon shed and two 1840s bank barns, one with the only operating high horse-powered wheel in the U.S., a kitchen garden, an apple orchard, and two meadows.

HBMS has over 60,000 artifacts in its combined collections. In addition, the HBMS Library and Archives has 10,000 photographs, thousands of documents, letters, maps related to the history of our community. The library contains 2,000 volumes.

In 2003, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites became a founding member of the International Moravian Heritage Network, one of six key 18th century historic Moravian communities in the world.

A Smithsonian Affiliate

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a proud Smithsonian Affiliate member. This prestigious partnership allows members of HBMS the option of purchasing a Smithsonian membership for a nominal fee in addition to their HBMS membership.  For more information and to become a member, click HERE.

Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums, educational, and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. More information is available at www.affiliations.si.edu.

A World Heritage Site Candidate

We are part of an effort to bring World Heritage Site status to Historic Moravian Bethlehem. The site preserves and advances the ageless values of education, equality, industry, integrity and spirituality that have been part of the timeless community since 1741. Joining the World Heritage List will give Historic Moravian Bethlehem the same global status as the Great Wall of China, Pyramids at Giza, Acropolis in Athens and Sydney Opera House as well as Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon here in the States.

For More Information

Funding for Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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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.