Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


Gilded: Objects of Luxury

PAST EXHIBIT: Thanks for attending!

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

October 6, 2017 - March 11, 2018

Thank you for attending the Gilded Opening Reception!

Come and see more luxury items across three historic sites- the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, the 1810 Goundie House, and the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem.

Victorian Brass William Shakespeare & Anne Hathaway Girandoles c. 1950s Candlesticks Candelabra Garnitures with Crystal Glass Prisms

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 jewelry 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

Brass Oil Lamp
  • 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

Hand-Painted Moravian Tea Set Donated By Moravian Family Descended From Count Zinzendorf.
  • 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

Bethlehem-based J. Carroll Tobias hard at work!
  • 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!
Hand-Painted China

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

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 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.