Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


Time Capsule Bethlehem

Journey down memory lane and experience the history of our beautiful city like never before at the Time Capsule Bethlehem: Our City Then & Now exhibit.

March 29 - August 26, 2018

Unearth Bethlehem's past in an exhibition that highlights our historic city's most important moments, people, and places. Take part in this community-built project to help us create an all-encompassing time capsule of today by adding your own piece of history to our timeline.

Don't Miss

Time Capsule Bethlehem Opening Reception

Thursday, March 29, 2018 from 6-8pm at the Kemerer Museum

Join us for the opening reception of Time Capsule Bethlehem: Our City Then & Now and explore our beloved city's past while making your mark for the future.

Be one of the first people to see the artifacts of people, places, and more that no longer exist today!

Enjoy wine and light refreshments.

Reservations are required.

From March 29 to August 26, take a journey with us through the rich history of our very own Bethlehem.

The First House of Bethlehem, Anna Nitschmann, the Eagle Hotel, Bethlehem Steel, Calypso Island… these places, businesses and people no longer exist in the Lehigh Valley, but their presence and impact is repeatedly felt thanks to the dedication of historians, community members and organizations to preserve the past for future generations.

Time Capsule Bethlehem: Our City Then & Now showcases surviving artifacts—a large portion being donated by the local community—that tell the stories of the region’s history. Yet not all history is tangible! We welcome the community to make this exhibition their own by telling and showing your own family stories from our city to add to the collection.

Make your mark on Bethlehem’s timeline and take part in this collaborative project of bringing the past to meet the present and preserving it for the future.

In collaboration with local historic organizations and collectors, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites presents a range of artifacts including paintings, journals, archeological findings, photographs and more, displayed over seven historic sites.

Step back in time to the days of the early Moravian settlers and travel the timeline of Bethlehem through its evolution to today! Explore the pieces of history that still survive today thanks to the commitment of Bethlehem's community across six historic sites- the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, the Single Sisters' House, the 1752 Apothecary, the 1810 Goundie House, and the 1869 Luckehnbach Mill.

At The Kemerer Museum

Doll Trunk

These Things Tell Stories

Our Community Gallery features a timeline that highlights important moments in Bethlehem’s history. Explore the objects on display and their stories to the people, places, and events they were tied to. We invite you to add your own objects, memories and events to the Bethlehem timeline, via white board panels and display areas.

In the lower gallery areas, visitors can browse letters and learn more about letter writing techniques. A letter writing station provides the perfect location to sit down and write a letter to your future self or relatives about what life is like today!

Take part in a guessing activity to determine the function of mystery tools from the past, peruse family heirlooms, and test your time capsule analysis skills, reviewing several “mini capsules” to determine the period they would have represented in Bethlehem.

Upstairs view the Dollhouse Displays and see how these structures are not just playthings from a child’s past, but also records of how more affluent families lived from 1830-1933.

At The Moravian Museum

Journal and Photo

Record Keeping

Learn more about how people preserved the past in the earliest days of Bethlehem by exploring:

  • Excerpts from diaries
  • Business record letters
  • And more!

At The Single Sisters' House

Embroidered Art


Explore how the artwork and craft made by women in Bethlehem in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries help historians today learn more about the past.

What can a piece of embroidery made at the Ladies’ Seminary teach us about what it was like to live there? How do we learn about a painter from her painting or a musician from her performance notes? Find out in this multi-room display in a building that serves as a time capsule itself.

Visitors to the Single Sisters’ House can see traces of the lives of the unmarried women who continuously resided in the building, working and living there from 1748-2007.

At The 1752 Apothecary

Apothecary Perscriptions

Apothecary Records

See rarely exhibited manuscripts from the Apothecary Collection, including:

  • bills
  • sales
  • records
  • customer information.

At The Goundie House

Fireman's Hat


Discover how past residents of Bethlehem prepared for and coped with disaster.

See photographic record displayed among artifacts from first-responders, surviving artifacts, and insurance documents of:

  • floods
  • train accidents
  • fires
  • and more

At The Luckenbach Mill

Lehman Portrait

Bethlehem Past and Present

This exhibition of photographs features images of Bethlehem’s past, interspersed with the work of contemporary photographers capturing the city today.

Time Capsule programs are funded with support from the Jones Adult Programming Fund.

  • June (Date TBA): Historical Relics - Assist with cleaning items found at an archaeological dig within the Colonial Industrial Quarter. Details to come.
  • Sunday, July 15, 1PM - 2:30PM: Behind-the-Scenes Dollhouse Tour at the Kemerer Museum
  • Thursday, July 26, 6PM - 8PM: Scrapbooking 101 at the Kemerer Museum
  • July (Date TBA): Historical Relics - Assist with cleaning items found at an archaeological dig within the Colonial Industrial Quarter. Details to come.
  • Thursday, August 16, 6PM - 8PM: Paint and Sip - Family Tree at the Kemerer Museum
  • August (Date TBA): Appraisal Day- Bring a maximum of three items to be appraised at the Kemerer Museum
  • August (Date TBA): Historical Relics - Assist with cleaning items found at an archaeological dig within the Colonial Industrial Quarter. Details to come.

Other Things You Might Like

Historic Site Rentals

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites offers the most unique settings for an unforgettable event.

With unsurpassed charm and elegance, our sites can accommodate as few as 10 and as many as 250 people for weddings, dinner parties, family reunions, corporate receptions, team-building activities, and more.

From the pastoral homestead of Colonial statesman James Burnside to the one-of-a-kind decorative arts destination for discerning guests, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites offers a range of venues that will not only make a perfect backdrop for your event but introduce your guests to Bethlehem's rich heritage.


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74 West Broad Street, Suite 260, 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.