Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


Holiday Putz Trail

line of buildings that look like the Main Street of Bethlehem. Red Brick Building with green trim

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is excited to present our Holiday Putz Trail, a collection of displays at two of our historic sites. A Putz is a traditional Moravian decoration used around Christmas time. The word comes from the German term, which means  “to decorate” or “to embellish.” These miniature replicas depict various settings of the Nativity story through the use of ornate, hand-crafted figurines. Each set may feature animals, buildings, and amazing details to recreate the holiest of scenes.

A whole new world! In keeping with the spirit of building a Moravian putz - Historic Bethlehem is presenting an expansion of that miniature world in its new exhibition - PUTZTOWN. Mike Cox and Jim Whildin, builders of the putzes Historic Bethlehem has displayed for the past 10 years, have created these theme rooms using 119 buildings Jim has built over the last seven years.

For the holiday season, the exhibit captures the splendor of Christmas. The large putz, which is built each year in the Sisters’ House, features the Museum’s beautiful hand carved wooden figures. The downtown contains many favorite Bethlehem traditions, including carriage rides, the Goundie House Advent Calendar, the holiday shopping huts on Bethlehem’s Main Street, and the lighting of the City Christmas tree. Carolers crowd the streets, and Santas can be found throughout the display- delivering presents, eating, and even playing sports. There is even a small Christkindlmart!

Admission to the Holiday Putz Trail is part of the Trees of Historic Bethlehem Pass, which grants visitors access to the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, the Single Sisters’ House, and the Luckenbach Mill.

Want to meet the Putz Designers? Jim Whildin and Mike Cox will be providing tours to visitors from 1-4 PM on December 11, 16, 18, 20, and 31.

Putzes in the Press

Moravian Christmas putzIn praise of the putzes: Bethlehem’s embrace of a Christmas tradition dating back centuries

Each December, dozens of putzes (rhymes with “foot-zes”) appear in this historic city settled by the Moravians in 1741. All depict the story of the birth of Christ, but the renderings are as different as their creators. If you’ve seen one, you definitely haven’t seen them all.

Welcome to 'Putztown': Miniature Christmas world comes to Historic Bethlehem

In keeping with the holiday spirit of building a Moravian Putz — a miniature, detailed model of The Nativity scene — a Bethlehem architect, artist, and craftsman is presenting an expansion of that tiny world into an elaborate new exhibit called “Putztown.”

Putz Trail Locations

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Putz Trail locations (included in your Trees Pass):
Additional Putz hours and locations (not included in your Trees Pass):


Our holiday season hours of operation run November 18, 2022 - January 8, 2023.

Please contact the Visitor Center at 1.800.360.TOUR with any questions about this exhibit or hours of operation.

Putz trail


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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.