Michael Vyskocil, Historic Bethlehem Winter 2016
Beginning Nov. 16 and running through Jan. 10, 2016, visitors can go behind the doors of Bethlehem’s museums and historic sites and participate in Christmas-themed tours designed to educate and inspire visitors to learn more about the history and Christmas traditions associated with Historic Bethlehem in this National Historic Landmark District. Tour experiences include a new exhibition, the “100 Years of Gift Giving,” plus perennial offerings that include the Bethlehem By Night bus tour, horse-drawn carriage rides, the Christmas City Stroll walking tour, Holiday Putz Trail, and Trees of Many Colors Christmas tree display. A complete schedule of tours, museum hours and programs is available at HistoricBethlehem.org/christmas or by calling 1-800-360-TOUR.
‘100 Years of Gift Giving’ exhibition debuts at Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts
Children list them, parents hide them, lovers search for them and faraway friends mail them. Christmas presents, with their festive paper and bows, have been part of Christmas celebrations throughout the decades. The “100 Years of Gift Giving” exhibit at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, 427 N. New St., will highlight the elements of gifting: concepting, shopping, making, wrapping and expressing gratitude. Special items on loan from the Lehigh Archives, Duke University Special Collections and the artifact collection of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites will connect gifting practices of the past to those in the present, with a focus on traditions connected with Bethlehem, “The Christmas City.” Admission to the “100 Years of Gift Giving” exhibition is included with a Pass Into History admission ticket available at HistoricBethlehem.org, at the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center, 505 Main St., or by calling 1-800-360-TOUR.
Peek at dollhouse treasures in the Merry Christmas Moritz: Dollhouse Gallery
The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts will also serve as the setting for a display of dollhouse treasures from one of the country’s premier dollhouse collections, the Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse collection. This Christmas-themed exhibit will highlight the work of German-based dollhouse manufacturer Moritz Gottschalk. Gottschalk’s company was one of the leading mass-market dollhouse manufacturers in the 1860s. Admission to the Merry Christmas Moritz: Dollhouse Gallery exhibit is included with a Pass Into History admission.
‘All Dolled Up: Polly and Her Sisters’ showcases history of German doll making
The Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, 66 W. Church St., will host a temporary winter exhibition, “All Dolled Up: Polly and Her Sisters,” focusing on the history and traditions associated with German doll making. Dolls from the Moravian Museum collection – along with doll furniture, clothing and interpretive displays – will give visitors a view into the German toy companies that produced some of the most highly regarded, sought-after dolls. Admission to this special exhibition is included with a Pass Into History admission.
Trees of Many Colors multi-site display to feature bevy of decorated Christmas trees
Trees of Many Colors is a multi-site Christmas tree display featuring decorated Christmas trees that highlight specific time periods. The trees, decorated by volunteers of the Bethlehem Garden Club, will be displayed throughout the Christmas season at the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, the 1810 Goundie House, the Single Sisters’ House and the Luckenbach Mill in the Colonial Industrial Quarter, off Main Street in downtown Bethlehem. Visitors can vote for their favorite trees in an annual contest sponsored by The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Admission to Trees of Many Colors is included with a Pass Into History admission.
Holiday Putz Trail to highlight traditional Moravian Christmas customs
From the German word meaning “to decorate” or “to embellish,” the Holiday Putz Trail displays miniature replicas of the Nativity scene at the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem Gemeinhaus, Single Sisters’ House, 1810 Goundie House, and Central Moravian Church, a new addition to the 2015 Holiday Putz Trail. This Moravian Christmas custom features ornate figurines, animals and building scenes to tell the Nativity story. Admission to the Holiday Putz Trail is included with a Pass Into History admission.
Bethlehem By Night, horse-drawn carriage rides, Christmas City Stroll, Christmas music programming
Deemed “the best way to see Bethlehem,” the Bethlehem By Night guided bus tour experience introduces visitors to the history and Christmas traditions of Historic Bethlehem. The tour includes a visit to South Mountain, site of Bethlehem’s Christmas star. Bethlehem By Night bus tours begin Friday, Nov. 27, and run through Sunday, Dec. 27. Tour times are 5, 6 and 7 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, except for Sunday, Nov. 29. Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center, 505 Main St., or by calling 1-800-360-TOUR.
Horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered Friday through Sunday through the Christmas season, from 3 to 9 p.m., beginning Friday, Nov. 27 and running through New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. Carriage rides are approximately 20 minutes, with rides traveling through the streets of downtown Historic Bethlehem. Carriage ride tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center, 505 Main St., or by calling 1-800-360-TOUR. The carriage cost is $55 per carriage, and the carriages hold a maximum of four passengers.
Visitors can also explore Bethlehem’s Christmas traditions with the Christmas City Stroll, guided city walking tours led by certified docents dressed in period Moravian attire. These walking tours highlight several distinctive landmarks in Bethlehem’s National Historic Landmark District, including the 1741 Gemeinhaus and the Bethlehem Waterworks. Walking tours are held at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Local musicians and caroling docents will lend voice and instruments to holiday music performed at the sites. Scheduled public concerts at the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem will be held Dec. 3, 10 and 17 at 6 p.m., and Jan. 2, 2016, at 4 p.m. A full schedule of musical performances can be found at HistoricBethlehem.org.