Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution



Winter Back When

December 16, 2016 through February 28, 2017

View an all new selection of photographs from the impressive photo collection, donated by Bethlehem Steel in 1980, that capture a typical Bethlehem, including snowball fights, returning library books, shoveling out walkways, and lots of Christmas decorations! The project began as a community-driven effort to digitize and catalogue a collection of over 8,000 photographs that were taken for Bethlehem Steel and catalogued prior to being donated to Historic Bethlehem in 1980. Thanks to dedicated volunteers from Bethlehem Historic District Association working with our dedicated staff, these images of historic Bethlehem’s people and places will be available to the public through an online catalogue in the upcoming months!

Way back When black and white Christmas tree photo

Bethlehem's Christmas, 1741

November 18, 2016 through January 15, 2017

Find out how Bethlehem got its name and view early Moravian Christmas decorations from the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Collection. Learn about Moravian Traditions such as Lovefeasts, The Moravian Daily Texts, and Putzes. Make your own Moravian Stars and dress a Beeswax Candle.  Learn how the traditions of 1741 are adapted and practiced by Moravians in Bethlehem today.

Bethlehem's Christmas 1741

Baby, It's Cold Outside

November 18, 2016 through January 15, 2017

From muffs to bear fur gloves to Sherlock Homes-esque and Jackie Kennedy-style coats, this exhibition is sure to chase the frost bite away. Discover how to tell real fur from fake fur and learn how fur clothing is made from smaller sized pelts. Enjoy historic photographs of Lehigh Valley residents in their finest knits, wools and fur. One photograph features a little girl wrapped in a fur-trimmed coat posing for the camera while another shows a woman dressed to impressed in a full length fur coat, a fashionably slanted hat and boats against a snowy background. See how the textile techniques used in featured objects from the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Collection inspire contemporary textile artists through a pop-up exhibition and demonstrations by The Knitters’ Edge, who have a mini-exhibition featuring handknitting & crochet work.

Baby it's Cold Outside

Creature Companions

July 15, 2016 through October 30, 2016

From felines to fish to Fido, animals have long made excellent companions. Featuring a collection of pet likenesses, training techniques, pet paraphernalia, and more, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites looks at the role furry friends play in family, work and city life in Bethlehem PA. Creature Companions features a range of painted pet portraits, pet photographs from Bethlehem family albums, and animal-inspired attire and home décor spanning over 100 years. Explore how the human-animal relationship in Bethlehem reflects broader sentiments toward animals in America over centuries.

portrait of a black tabby cat

Bethlehem Back When…

May 14, 2016 through November 1, 2016

Spanning decades and captures moments, big and small, in the lives of Bethlehem residents, these amazing snapshots taken by Bethlehem Steel photographers encompass portraits, street views, landscapes, and the occasional oddball: like a man in tights or a woman on a donkey. Other photos include: a snapshot from 1893 of the Lehigh River boat landing on Memorial Day on Calypso Island, now known as Sand Island, as well as a look at a reception at the Historic Bethlehem Tour on May 14, 1948, where hostesses, Mrs. Allen W. Stephens is pouring tea, and Mrs. William Bewley is serving sugar cake.

Black and white photo of Bethlehem from the 1950s

Apothecary in Bloom

May 7, 2016 through August 31, 2016

Step into spring with the Apothecary in Bloom exhibition at the 1752 Apothecary. See how flowers are used to decorate objects that were designed to improve wellness throughout history, such as fans, perfume bottles, and faux flower arrangements. Your senses will be drawn to bright, floral patterned pieces that accent the austere shop’s shelves and walls. Florals have long been in the veins of medicine and design, with flowers both inside the medicine bottle and on its label.
Discover the incredible history these floral artifacts share with medicine and wellness while enjoying a colonial-inspired menu at the wine and cheese Apothecary Garden Reception, included in the House Tour ticket.
Floral print

All Dolled Up: Polly & Her Sisters

February 14, 2016 through March 31, 2016

The Polly Heckewelder cloth doll  made by the Moravian Ladies Sewing Society of Central Moravian Church since 1872 will be featured along with the Anna Nitschmann portrait doll made by the Busy Workers Society , also of Central Moravian Church, since 1953.  Both of these benefit dolls are still made.  Becky Langley  and Countess Benigna, benefit dolls,  formerly made by Edgeboro Moravian and First Moravian (now Advent Moravian) Churches respectively will also be included in the exhibit.  Come learn about Moravian sisters and the dolls which were made to benefit Church causes. Exhibition included in museum admission.

Wooden cradle of dolls

Bethlehem by Design

February 2, 2016 through July 3, 2016

In honor of the 275th anniversary of Bethlehem PA, the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts presents a variety of artifacts and publications that demonstrate the development of the city of Bethlehem and the use of images of Bethlehem in decoration and design. Bethlehem by Design immerses the visitor in 275 years of history within the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts. Using maps, diagrams, drawings, and models that trace Bethlehem’s development as a city, guests dive into the past and build connections to the present.

This interactive exhibition is great for adult map and city planning enthusiasts, children learning to find their place in the community, and those who are looking to learn a little more about our fascinating past. Enjoy the “build your own city” area, mark your favorite places and record cherished memories on top of a Plexiglas-covered historic map of Bethlehem, and explore modern views of Bethlehem through the photography of John Kish IV, our current featured local artist. Find your way to the Kemerer Museum and share your memories of Bethlehem through the years.

Commemorative plate


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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.