Polly Heckewelder Tea Party: For So Much More Than Just Tea

Jan 11th, 2016Press Release from Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites

BETHLEHEM, PA – Calling all community members who have a Polly Heckewelder doll, family heirloom, favorite family doll, or a benefit doll! Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites invites you to join us for a Polly Heckewelder tea party on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 2:00pm in the Saal at the Gemeinhaus, the Moravian community house since 1741.

Enjoy Moravian sugar cake and cookies on original Moravian anniversary china as you discover the fascinating story behind the oldest and longest continuously American hand-made cloth doll as well as Polly’s own story!

Mary Brown, President of the Ladies’ Sewing Society and self-taught doll enthusiast, will lead an up-front and personal conversation about the dolls, joined by the other members of the Ladies’ Sewing Society.

Polly originally organized the Moravian Ladies Sewing Society in 1861 to sew for the soldiers fighting in the Civil War.  Even after the War ended, the society continued to meet.  After Polly’s death in 1868, the ladies decided to make a cloth doll named after Polly and sell it to benefit Moravian causes, with the first doll selling in 1872.

The Polly Heckewelder doll is dressed just like a little girl from the late 19th century.  This doll is so well loved that, over the 143 years that Polly has been made, many have been returned for new faces or replacement clothes.

To celebrate almost a century and a half of Polly doll history, guests will also have a chance to meet and have a photo-op with a life-sized Polly Heckewelder doll!

The life-sized Polly, a guide in period dress, will then take the tea party guests to see Polly’s original rocking chair as well as what Polly’s room looked like at the Single Sisters’ House, a German colonial style building that continuously housed women from 1752 until 2008.

Several kids’ activities will be available, including Where’s Polly? and Polly Bingo. Plus, any participants who attend this tea party are invited to come back to see the dollhouse exhibit at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts with a friend free of charge.

At the end of the tea party, one lucky winner will be chosen to receive two free passes for the Behind the Scenes Dollhouse Tour: The Elizabeth Johnston Prime Collection vault tour at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts.

So, bring your Polly or favorite doll and come help us celebrate the 143 year history of the Polly doll at a tea party on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm in the 1741 Gemeinhaus, home of the Moravian Museum.

Tickets to the Polly Heckewelder Tea Party are $12 for adults and $6 for children. RSVPs are limited to 48 attendees so tickets will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Payment must be received at the time of reservation. For more information or questions regarding the tour, please contact Adelle Mantle at gro.mehelhtebcirotsihnull@eltnama or 610-882-0450 ext. 10. The Gemeinhaus is located at 66 West Church Street, Bethlehem.

All proceeds from this event help Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites to maintain 20 historic landmarks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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.


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