Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


US Tentative List Nomination

What do Ellis Island, Early Chicago Skyscrapers, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and Moravian Bethlehem District have in common?

They have all been nominated to the US Tentative List!

On Friday, December 9, 2016, Historic Moravian Bethlehem was honored with placement on the US Tentative List for eventual nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

This happened just two weeks before the 275th anniversary of the naming of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve 1741. Official documentation of the nomination was made through the Federal Register through the Department of the Interior.

Next Steps...

  • Dossier must be prepared to prove Outstanding Universal Value of our National Historic Landmark District
  • Mayor of Bethlehem established the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission to raise funds for the preparation of the dossier and fulfill process requirements.

World Heritage Commission Officers

Mayor Robert Donchez, Chair
Curtis H. Barnette, Vice-Chair
Charlene Donchez Mowers, President
Don Cunningham, Treasurer
Daniel McCarthy, Secretary

World Heritage Commission Members

Phillips Armstrong, Curtis Barnette, Pastor Hopeton Clennon, Former Congressman Charles Dent, Tim Fallon, Dr. Bryon Grigsby, Bruce Haines, William Alexander Karras, Cynthia Kosso, Tony Iannelli, Alex Michaels, Lamont McClure, Caroll Neubauer, Michael Perrucci, Dr. Joseph Roy, David Shaffer, Dr. John Simon, and Dan Soos.

What Is The US Tentative List?

Historic Moravian Bethlehem joins with four other cultural sites to be named to the 2016 US Tentative List, working toward a nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

There are only 24 World Heritage Sites in the entire U.S. Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Falling Water outside of Pittsburgh are the only two sites in Pennsylvania. There are just over 1,100 World Heritage sites in the entire world, two examples of which are the Great Wall of China and the pyramids in Egypt.

This endeavor has been underway since 2002 and has taken much effort led by Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites. In 2012, Historic Moravian Bethlehem was designated a National Historic Landmark District, one of 8 in Pennsylvania and about 200 in the United States.

About Historic Moravian Bethlehem

With its intact core of original buildings, this National Historic Landmark District preserves some of the most important structures and sites relating to the Moravians in the New World and is significant as an outstanding example of Moravian architecture and town planning.

The Moravian settlement of Christiansfeld, Denmark—founded 30 years after Bethlehem—was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015.

Historic Moravian Bethlehem’s footprint is 14.7 acres of the original 18th-century Moravian settlement which served as the center of Moravian Church activities in America. The settlement played a key role in both the international and American Moravian communities.

Today, visitors can experience some of the finest 18th century colonial Germanic architecture in the nation and explore some of the artifacts that speak to the Moravian community.

In the News

Learn more about Historic Moravian Bethlehem's nomination to the US Tentative List.

“The Moravian District is a source of pride for the city of Bethlehem and the surrounding Lehigh Valley, as it has provided a unique, historically rich, and culturally significant way of life for over 300 years. The United States is filled with a number of important historical sites, so to even be considered is an honor.” - US Congressman Charlie Dent


Thousands of people have walked these streets, farmed these lands, built these buildings and industries. Thousands of stories, thousands of lives to cherish.

Join a community of people who share our mission to preserve:

  • 20 historic structures
  • 60,000+ collections and artifacts
  • 3 centuries of rich history


Copyright © 2019 Historic Bethlehem Partnership. All rights reserved.
site design: oneroofmedia.us

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.