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Gilded: Objects of Luxury


Be dazzled by Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites most lustrous collection objects.

October 7, 2017 - March 11, 2018

You’re invited to the Gilded Opening Reception on Thursday, October 5 from 6-8 pm at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts. Be the first to experience to see Historic Bethlehem’s most glamorous artifacts!

Running from October 6, 2017 - March 11, 2018, explore a world of magnificent craftsmanship and luxury items from the Historic Bethlehem vault, including:

  • Bohemian gold enameled glassware
  • Sterling silver tableware, mercury glass
  • Count Zinzendorf’s crystal cuff links
  • handcrafted jewelery and spoons by Bethlehem-based silversmiths
  • Metallic mirrors
  • Artwork mounted in gilded frames.

See first-hand how luxury life styles have changed over four centuries in a sparkling display of sterling silver, gold leaf, copper, and brass artifacts in this opulent installation.

This exhibition will feature other ornate artifacts such as:

  • Locally-made books from the J. Carroll Tobias Collection with gilded pages and metal fixtures
  • Mercury glass from Annie Kemerer Collection
  • Sterling silver
  • May Erdman’s gold accented china

An exhibition all about opulence and decadence on both the large and small scales! Be wowed by hundreds of pieces of jewelry, china, silver, textiles, framed artworks, photographs across three historic sites- the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, the 1810 Goundie House, and the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem.

At the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts:

  • Get an intimate look at how the concept of luxury has changed and evolved over time.
  • Explore the unique histories of luxurious materials such as:
    • Mercury glass, a double-walled blown glass first made in Germany around the 1840s that does not contain mercury at all but a silvering liquid. This silvering liquid is lined between the two walls of glass to give the appearance of silver without tarnishing!
    • Sterling silver tableware, a high-end item that rose in popularity during the Victorian era due to a desire to live like royalty! In fact, people used sterling silverware for more than just to set the table. Often times, wealthier families would purchase silverware to make their daughters more desired brides as women during that time period could not own land and needed something to contribute to the marriage.
  • Test your taste levels with our “Lux or Faux” booklet and see if you can determine which pieces on display are true luxuries versus the frauds.

At the Moravian Museum:

  • Be wowed by gilded artifacts from Moravian families.
  • See:
    • The crystal cufflinks of Count Zinzendorf, the patron of the early Moravians
    • A hand-painted tea set passed down through generations of a notable Moravian family and recently donated to the Moravian Museum
    • Silver spoons handcrafted by early silversmiths in Bethlehem.

At the Goundie House:

  • Step into the studio of silversmith J. Carroll Tobias.
  • View photgraphs of his studio, located in the basement of the Goundie house for decades.
  • Peruse his sketches.
  • Marvel at the innovative jewelry he created.
  • Learn about his unique connection to Mr. Goundie!

Featured works include:

  • Pieces from Annie Kemerer’s collection gold etched glass
  • Silver horsemanship trophies
  • 19th Century gold Tiffany & Co. purse with original receipt
  • Count Zinzendorf’s crystal cufflinks
  • A collection of handpainted China from Mae Erdman
  • Silver jewelry from J. Carroll Tobias

Join us Thursday, October 5 from 6-8pm at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts for our Gilded Opening Reception Party. Hear about Local Spotlight Artist Sergei Yaralov’s artistic process. Enjoy wine and light refreshments and be mesmorized by these dazzling collection objects along side live models in metallic attire. Don’t forget to snap a selfie at the Gilded photo-op seating area provided by Fox & Finch!

Members: Free • Non-Members: $15

  • Gilded: Objects of Luxury Opening Reception: Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 6-8 pm at the Kemerer Museum
    • Be one of the first to see this radiant display of ornate artifacts at the opening reception! Enjoy wine and light refreshments and be mesmorized by these dazzling collection objects along side live models in metallic attire. Don’t forget to snap a selfie at the Gilded photo-op seating area provided by Fox & Finch! Admission is free for HBMS Members and $15 for Non-Members.
  • Gilded Jewelry Trunk Show: Sunday, October 29 from 12-3 pm at the Kemerer Museum
    • Browse stunning pieces crafted by local jewelers at this Jewelry Trunk Show! Admission is available with the purchase of a Museum Pass to Kemerer.
  • Gilded Workshop Series: Make Your Own Faux Mercury Glass: Thursday, November 9, 2017 from 6-8pm at the Kemerer Museum
    • Learn what mercury glass is and how it was originally made. Then make your own mercury glass using a much safer method. When you’re finished, take your faux mercury glass creation home to display it proudly. The price of this workshop is $30 for HBMS Members and $35 for Non-Members. Space is limited to 30.
  • Gilded Workshop Series: Paint & Sip: Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 6-8pm at the Kemerer Museum (Inclement weather date: Thursday, February 22, 2018)
    • Sip wine and learn how to paint a scintillating metallic picture that is sure to catch the eyes of visitors to your home! The price of this workshop is $30 for HBMS Members and $35 for Non-Members. Space is limited to 30.
  • Gilded Workshop Series: Gold Leaf Workshop: Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 6-8pm at the Kemerer Museum
    • Discover the history, techniques, and different levels of crafting with gold leaf at this illuminating workshop. Then adorn your own wooden plaques with gold leaf along with other metallic decorations! The price of this workshop is $30 for HBMS Members and $35 for Non-Members. Space is limited to 30.
  • Gilded Workshop Series Package: Enjoy the best of Gilded: Objects of Luxury and sign up for all three Gilded Workshops for one great price! The price for the Gilded Workshop Series Package is $80 for HBMS members and $95 for Non-Members – Only 15 available!

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