Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


Annual Report

We are excited to share with you our
2018/2019 Fiscal Year Annual Report

This Annual Report recognizes our donors and sponsors for their continued support and extraordinary generosity. Turn to Page 5 in the report to learn more about our shortlisted status to the World Heritage List.  This is a major accomplishment for Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites, and we have our supporters, past and present, to thank for it.

Please take a moment to read through this report to see how the donations from our supporters are impacting our community and our mission to preserve Bethlehem’s heritage for future generations.

As members, volunteers, and sponsors of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites, your support continues to help us operate and maintain our 20 historic buildings situated on approximately 20 acres of land in Bethlehem. HBMS includes the 1748-1848 Burnside Plantation, Colonial Industrial Quarter, 1810 Goundie House and Visitor Center Complex, Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem.

You may know that two of our buildings are National Historic Landmarks-the 1741 Gemeinhaus and the 1762 Waterworks-and many of our buildings are part of Historic Moravian Bethlehem, a National Historic Landmark District, one of only eight in Pennsylvania and one of about 200 in the entire United States.

Travel back in time with me to 1741, when the city was founded.

What was it like to be one of the early settlers of Bethlehem in the 1740s, establishing this outpost on the colonial frontier? In the late 1800s, what was it like to be one of the immigrant families who came here looking for work at Bethlehem Steel? What was it like to be here in the 1950s when the area below Hotel Bethlehem was a junkyard?

As a history-based organization, we are always looking for ways to share the stories of what life was like in Bethlehem 50 years ago, 100 years ago, or even 275 years ago. It is important to be knowledgeable about the past so that we can understand what is happening today and plan for the future.

Young visitors cannot imagine a time before smartphones, and most adults cannot imagine living without electricity and all the benefits it provides. For special programs, I occasionally dress as a Moravian lady of the mid-1700s while carrying a smartphone in a hidden pocket.

While we are preserving the buildings and artifacts of previous generations, we are planning how to keep the past relevant and exciting for current and future generations, and creating opportunities to make it more accessible to the public.

We are at a very critical time in the life of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites. As a part of Historic Moravian Bethlehem, a National Historic Landmark District, we have reached the highest level of distinction in our nation and are short-listed for nomination to the World Heritage List. We will form a heritage triangle with the Statue of Liberty in New York and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, two of 23 World Heritage Sites in the United States.

As we continue on this path toward worldwide recognition for our timeless community with ageless values, we must be prepared to welcome visitors, not only from the Lehigh Valley and the United States, but from around the world. There is a lot to do! We must be ready with exhibits that engage visitors in our story. We must have dynamic programs that capture the excitement of our heritage. Our sites must be ready to receive thousands of visitors. We must be worthy of being named a World Heritage Site.

Are you ready to help? Are you ready to Take the World Stage? We can. We will. Join us!


Charlene Donchez Mowers

1762 Waterworks. Photo by Brian Kutner


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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.