Live Like a Local – Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts
Video released on: August 7, 2014
George: Hello and welcome to this episode of Live Like A Local. We’re here at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts in downtown Bethlehem, and we’re here with Caitlin Harvey. Can you tell us your title and can you tell us a little bit about what makes Kemerer special?
Caitlin: Sure. I am the curator of collections and exhibitions for the historic Bethlehem museum and science partnership. The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is actually the only decorative arts museum in the state, and it is so special because we have a vast collection that includes anything from furniture to textiles to glassware. This is our small vitrine and corner decided to Annie Kemerer, the namesake of the Kemerer museum. She resided here in Bethlehem where Annie had a strong passion for decorative arts. Now, we’re in our second temporary gallery space and currently we have an exhibit up called portraits, and it discusses the transition from fine art examples of portraiture into photography. One of the most special collections that we have here at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is the Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse Collection. We have 44 separate buildings that were collected by Elizabeth and she donated her entire collection here, including 6000 pieces that go with the buildings. Elizabeth’s goal was to have period appropriate furniture and dolls within each building, so her collection actually ended up filling an entire apartment in Manhattan. The dollhouses really play well into some of our children’s activities. We do a monthly event called, Dolly and Me.
George: Can you tell us a little bit about the local artist gallery?
Caitlin: We’ve designated a gallery space for local artists within the Lehigh Valley area. Our fourth is now up, Michael Sandy. We actually have a Pennsylvania German room at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, and while Annie herself was not specifically a Pennsylvania German collector, it does speak really well to the local area and heritage of the Lehigh Valley. This is the Buhler [SP] bedroom and it basically talks about what a Victorian bedroom would have looked like toward the end the 19th century, and it features typical bedroom furniture, clothing of the time draped on the bed. It’s definitely to give you the idea of what a bed would have looked like for a couple of that time period.
George: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Live Like a Local. We’ll see you next time.