Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


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

Vision Statement:

Develop in visitors and residents of the community a broad appreciation of Bethlehem's rich heritage from its earliest Native American and Moravian roots to modern times of Bethlehem today.

Mission Statement:

Bring Bethlehem's history to life by preserving historic sites; collecting, conserving, and exhibiting our historic and artistic objects; understanding and acknowledging the diverse populations that contribute to our history; and conveying our history to the public in an engaging manner.

Apothecary © Paul Bartholomew
Children looking at art in the Kemerer Museum
Summer at Burnside Plantation

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 logo

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.

Pottery Wall and Smithy in summer
Aerial view of Historic Moravian Bethlehem
Waterworks in Bethlehem PA

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.

Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission


Copyright © 2022 Historic Bethlehem Partnership. All rights reserved.
site design: oneroofmedia.us

74 West Broad Street, Suite 310, Bethlehem, PA 18018 | Phone: 610-882-0450 | FAX: 610-882-0460 | [email protected]

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.