Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts Winter Exhibition “The First House of Bethlehem”

Dec 16th, 2013Press Release from Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites

firsthouseJoin us at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts for the new holiday exhibition, “The First House of Bethlehem.”

The setting of Bethlehem’s Christmas Eve christening in 1741, Bethlehem’s first house has provided an iconic subject for local artists throughout the town’s rich history.

On Christmas Eve 1741, Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf, the benefactor of this fledgling settlement, led the small band of Moravians into the stable part of the first house. There, with their animals and lighted candles in hand, they sang hymns to commemorate the birth of Christ. While singing the hymn Jesus Call Thou Me with the stanza Not Jerusalem, Lowly Bethlehem our city of Bethlehem was christened.

The First House was made of logs with part for people and part as a stable. It was built to provide shelter while the Moravians began building their other buildings. It was situated on the hillside along an American Indian trail leading to the spring near the Monocacy Creek. It was torn down in the early 1820s to make room for a livery ( a bigger parking lot) for the hotel at that time called The Eagle, now the Hotel Bethlehem.

Many artsits have documented the small log structure in numerous mediums all showing slight personal touches of interpretaion. This exhibition includes nineteen paintings which include one by Annie Kemerer, and local artists M. K. Morris, J. Carroll Tobias, Mary Frick, W. Arthur Schneller and Gustavus Grunewald.

For the first time ever, see the wealth of inspiration that this humble building fostered on display all at one time.

The Pass into History to visit the exhibit and also to gain access to the Moravian Museum. Adult admission is $12 and children aged 6-12 are $6. Start a new family tradition and celebrate with us during the most wonderful time of the year!

Starting on November 29th both the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts and the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem will be open Thursday through Sunday, from 11 to 4. Then, December 26th, the museums will open their doors Thursday through Tuesday, 11-4, until December 31.

About Historic Bethlehem

Historic Bethlehem is a not-for-profit institution that brings to life three centuries of American history. Historic Bethlehem tells the story of a small town of great influence, home to some of our nation’s earliest settlers, to America’s first municipal water pumping system, and to one of the world’s greatest industrial companies. Historic Bethlehem is located in Eastern Pennsylvania, only a 1.5 hour drive from Philadelphia to the North and 2 hours west of New York City. Historic Bethlehem is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and is distinguished as a National Historic Landmark District for Historic Moravian Bethlehem. For more information please call 610-691-6055 or visit
Contact: LoriAnn Wukitsch, Vice President and Managing Director
Email: gro.mehelhtebcirotsihnull@hcstikuwl
Date: December 5, 2013

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