World Heritage Site Progress
What is a World Heritage Site?
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is part of an effort to bring World Heritage Site status to Historic Moravian Bethlehem. As a World Heritage List candidate, Historic Moravian Bethlehem preserves and advances the ageless values of education, equality, industry, integrity and spirituality that have been part of the community since 1741.
The site’s original architecture along with its town planning across 14.7 acres, 10 structures, several ruins and a cemetery, stands today as a reflection of and tribute to the resilience of a community built on universal human ideals that are essential and relevant to this day.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem is on a prestigious list of U.S. sites poised to be nominated to the World Heritage List in the coming years, which would place it alongside national treasures including Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon and globally iconic sites such as the Great Wall of China, Pyramids at Giza, Acropolis in Athens and Sydney Opera House. Learn more about World Heritage sites with this clip from CBS News to the right.
World Heritage Timeline
- On Friday, December 9, 2016, Historic Moravian Bethlehem was honored with placement on the US Tentative List for eventual nomination to the 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.
- In 2017, the Mayor of Bethlehem established the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission (BWHC) made up of the five property owners of Historic Moravian Bethlehem and representatives of the cultural, academic, and corporate communities to raise funds for the preparation of the dossier and fulfill the nomination process requirements.
- In the summer of 2020, BWHC engaged the services of an international World Heritage consultant to help guide the complex process of preparing a transnational serial nomination to the World Heritage List. This will be one of the first transboundary, transnational serial nominations by the United States to the World Heritage Committee.
- In January, 2021 the Federal Register Announcement requested public comment on the next site to be put forward in nomination by the United States. We are very pleased to report that many letters in support of Historic Moravian Bethlehem were submitted and all were strongly in favor of our being the next site chosen.
- In 2015, the historic Moravian community of Christiansfeld, Denmark was inscribed on the World Heritage list. In spring of 2021, we are so delighted to be continuing on the path started by Christiansfeld. In May 2021 the first official working meeting was held with representatives of two historic Moravian settlements: Herrnhut, Germany founded in 1722 and Gracehill, Northern Ireland, founded in 1765. We will be preparing a joint serial nomination to the World Heritage List with a detailed dossier and statement of the Outstanding Universal Value of our three sites as an extension of the Christiansfeld nomination.
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, Jean-Claude Dubacher, Tim Fallon, Dr. Bryon Grigsby, Bruce Haines, Cynthia Kosso, Tony Iannelli, Alex Michaels, Lamont McClure, Michael Perrucci, Dr. Joseph Roy, David Shaffer, Dr. John Simon, Dan Soos, and Congresswoman Susan Wild.