What is Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites?
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that proudly preserves and maintains 20 historic sites, seven gardens, five ruins, one orchard, and 60,000+ artifacts. Our organization engenders a sense of place by working tirelessly to restore, educate, and share all we can about these beautiful buildings and their storied pasts.
What sites are a part of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites?
- 1752 Apothecary
- 1748-1848 Burnside Plantation
- 1810 Goundie House
- 1869 Luckenbach Mill (Located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter)
- Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts
- Moravian Museum of Bethlehem - 1741 Gemeinhaus
- 1758-69 Nain-Schober House
- 1744/52 Single Sisters' House
- 1751/1760 Reconstructed Smithy (Located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter)
- 1761 Tannery (Located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter)
- Visitor Center & Museum Store
- 1762 Waterworks (Located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter)
Who are the Moravians?
The Moravians are one of the oldest Protestant denominations, predating Martin Luther and the formation of the Lutheran Church by about 50 years. Beginning in eastern Europe, the early Moravians were followers of John Hus, an early reformist who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1415. They later united in 1457, calling themselves Unitas Fratrum or Unity of the Brethren.
After worshiping in secret for almost 2 centuries, leaders of the Unitas Fratrum came out of hiding after meeting Count Zinzendorf, who later became their benefactor and religious leader.
From there in 1732, they came to the New World as missionaries and settlers, and founded Bethlehem in 1741, the first well-established Moravian settlement in the Americas. In fact, all of the historic buildings constructed from 1741 to 1845 were built by Bethlehem's Moravian forefathers.
The name Moravian refers to the geographic area where the faith community originated, in ancient Bohemia and Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic.
Are there gift shops at Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites?
We have gift shops at the Visitor Center, 505 Main Street, Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, 427 North New Street, and the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, 66 West Church Street.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem
Historic Moravian Bethlehem is one of only eight National Historic Landmark Districts in Pennsylvania and one of only about 200 in the entire United States! It preserves two National Historic Landmarks, 1741 Gemeinhaus and 1762 Waterworks.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem’s footprint is 14 acres of the original 18th-century Moravian settlement which served as the center of Moravian activities in America. The settlement played a key role in both the international and American Moravian communities.
Today, visitors can experience some of the finest 18th century colonial Germanic architecture in the nation and explore some of the artifacts that speak to the Moravian community.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem was recently nominated to the US Tentative List for eventual nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Learn more here.
What is a National Historic Landmark District
A National Historic Landmark District is a section of a city that is considered to be of national historic significance.
How far is Moravian College and Lehigh University from the Landmark District?
Moravian College's North Campus is located at 1200 Main Street; 1 mile away from the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Visitor Center, 505 Main Street. Moravian College's Hurd Campas (South Campus) is .25 of a mile away.
Lehigh University is located at 27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem and is 1.5 miles away from the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Visitor Center, 505 Main Street.
How far is the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks from the Landmark District?
The ArtsQuest Center is located on the south side of Bethlehem at 711 East First Street, Bethlehem, about 1.8 miles away from Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Visitor Center & Museum Store.
How long does it take to visit?
Tours typically run from an hour to an hour and a half. Abbreviated tours can be given upon request.
How much does it cost to visit?
A One-Site Museum Pass is $10 and a Multi-Site Museum Pass is $20.
What are the museum’s operating hours?
Click here for our museum operating hours.
How will I know where to go once I arrive?
Start your visit at our Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Visitor Center & Museum Store, located at 505 Main Street, Bethlehem. Our Visitor Center staff are more than happy to assist you.
Where to park?
There is street parking available in the Historic District, including Main Street, Market Street, New Street, and at two parking garages: North Street and Walnut Street.
Where to eat?
Click here for great selection of restaurants in downtown Bethlehem.
Where to stay? Lodging?
Click here for a selection of hotels in Bethlehem.
How do I find out what is going on at Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites?
How do I find out what’s going on in the City of Bethlehem?
You can find out what’s going in the City of Bethlehem by clicking here.
What is “Bethlehem by Night” Bus Tour?
The Bethlehem By Night Bus Tour is a guided bus tour with a costumed docent that traverses the north side and the south side of Bethlehem during the Christmas season. This tour includes a visit to the famous star atop South Mountain, a look at early and current local holiday traditions, and access to historic highlights in north and south Bethlehem.
Where is the Bethlehem Star “on the hill”?
The Bethlehem Star is located atop South Mountain. Take the Bethlehem By Night bus tour to get an up-close view!
What is the difference between Christmas City Stroll and the Bethlehem By Night bus tour?
On the Christmas City Stroll, a guide in period dress will lead you on foot through Bethlehem’s National Historic Landmark District and regale you with how Bethlehem began.
On the Bethlehem By Night bus tour, you will traverse north and south-side Bethlehem with a costumed guide and discover 275 years of Bethlehem’s rich history from its unique beginnings in 1741 to its time as a major producer of steel with the rise of Bethlehem Steel, and more.
What is the “Christmas City Stroll”?
The Christmas City Stroll is a walking tour with a guide in period dress who leads you on foot through the dazzling Christmas City where you will learn Bethlehem’s unique beginnings in 1741 and tour one of America’s National Historic Landmark District.
What is the “Horse-Drawn Carriage” ride?
The horse-drawn carriage ride is a cozy and intimate way to experience the lights, sights, and sounds of downtown Bethlehem during Christmas with loved ones and friends.
Is there a “Christmas Light Tour”?
During the holiday season, Bethlehem features charming old-fashioned, traditional Christmas lights which turn on every day at 5 pm starting Nov. 25.
Take the Bethlehem By Night bus tour will take you around north and south-side Bethlehem and show you best views of The Christmas City glowing with holiday lights.
What is the Live Advent Calendar?
The Live Advent Calendar comes from the tradition of Advent Calendars or Christmas Countdown Calendars for children and families during the holidays. With a traditional calendar, there is a set number of “doors” to open each day as Christmas draws near. Traditional calendars provide a treat or saying each day.
Bethlehem has one of the only Live Advent Calendars in the United States!
This is hosted by the merchants of the Downtown Bethlehem Association (DBA), a council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites.
Why are the candles in some of the windows on the outside?
The candles are placed on the outside of the windows because they are done by Bethlehem Area Moravians and are timed to turn on all at once.
Learn more about the candle-in-every-window story on our Christmas City Stroll tour.
When is the Christmas Tree Lighting for the City of Bethlehem?
The Christmas Tree Lighting for the City of Bethlehem is Friday, November 25 at 4:30 pm.
Don’t miss the Holiday Wassail Tree Lighting Open House shortly after at 5 pm at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, Moravian Museum, and the Single Sisters’ House for beautifully decorated Christmas trees, festive holiday music, costumed docents and more.
What is the Hoover-Mason Trestle?
The Hoover-Mason Trestles is an elevated rail line that was built around 1910 by two engineers named Hoover and Mason. It has three tracks which brought raw materials to the blast furnaces of Bethlehem Steel. Take the Hoover-Mason Trestle tour to hear the incredible stories of Bethlehem Steel workers and how some of America's largest landmarks were made of Bethlehem steel.
What is the Rise & Fall of Bethlehem Steel tour?
Learn how blast furnaces worked, why men needed brass checks to get in the gate every morning, and which buildings housed which operation on this on-site walking tour that gives visitors a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a steel worker.