Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution



Stars of Bethlehem

December 5, 2014 Through March 29, 2015

The Star of Bethlehem is one of the oldest, most recognized and well loved quilt patterns today. In general stars have always been a popular motif in quilts, often used for its symbolic reference to religion and the heavens. The importance of the star motif will be showcased through the display of spectacular quilts from the various collections of HBMS!

Through the display, you will learn about the significance of this motif on a cultural, religious and artistic level. These star quilts have a wide range of names, with each type being discussed.  Gain an understanding of quilting techniques, fabrics and the impact of these seemingly ubiquitous quilts.

This exhibit will not only be a great celebration of the holiday season, but also falls under the 150th anniversary of the end to the Civil War.

Quilt detail

A Winter's Tale

November 21, 2014 Through March 29, 2015

If Jack Frost is nipping at your nose then embrace the chill at our newest exhibition, “A Winter’s Tale.” Opening November 21, learn how famed artists Gustav Grunewald, Emil Gelhaar and Antonio Martino played with the hues and tones of this season in a fine assortment of snow capped landscape paintings. Feel the sublime power of the snowy season as their art transforms the world into a winter wonderland.  The paintings will be contrasted with examples of three dimensional objects often associated with the winter season, such as skating and sleigh rides.  So as the temperatures begin to drop you’ll know it’s time to brave the cold and visit our latest exhibition.

cut-out mittens with red snowflakes

Bright Lights, Big City

July 25, 2014 through March 1, 2015

As the Industrial Revolution progressed, factories popped up and down the East Coast and millions of people flocked to the bright lights of the cities in search of fortune. The architecture of cities changed; homes had to be designed to accommodate the large influx of people and the wealthy business tycoons built their city estates. From row-homes to brownstones, the buildings on display from the Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse Collection provide a glimpse into what life would have been like living in the Big City.

Red brick dollhouse


June 20, 2014 Through November 16, 2014

Whether it’s the swoosh of a paint brush, the click of a camera, or the upload from a smart phone, capturing images of ourselves has a longstanding tradition. Regardless of the medium, the objective of portraiture is to encapsulate the sitter’s personality or mannerisms. Historically, fine art examples were once sought out by the wealthy but with the advent of photography, portraits transformed from aristocratic pomp to mass consumption. This exhibit examined the characteristics of portraits by drawing attention to its various forms, styles and sizes. Examples from the collection will include painted miniatures, silhouettes, carte-de-vistes, cameos, daguerreotypes and tintypes and other depictions of portraiture featured in decorative arts.

black and white antique portrait


May 23, 2014 Through November 9, 2014

Cross-Site Exhibit
505 Main Street

We’ve braved the drab and dreary winter, and what you need now is a Pop of Color! Our first cross-site exhibition is now open to the public, presenting some of the collection’s most vibrant and colorful objects. The Goundie House hosts representations of monochrome design from the HBMS collections.  Here you will learn about color symbolism and how the subtext of black and white changed over time. See the display at the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem. This kaleidoscope of objects will spotlight how multicolored combinations were used in a variety of mediums. At Burnside Plantation, discover how color was made and perceived in the 18th and early 19th century. By looking at the relationship between nature and color, learn why colorful objects were once so highly prized.

Colors Exhibit logo

Country Living: The Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse and Toy Collection

January 5, 2014 Through June 22, 2014

Explore the extravagant county houses of the Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse Collection, where the house is just the beginning. Verandas and gardens accompany many of these homes modeled after German villas, and French estates.

antique dollhouse


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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.