Moravian Museum of Bethlehem
66 West Church Street, Bethlehem, PA, USA
www.historicbethlehem.org/in… - 610-867-0173
Moravian Museum of Bethlehem Reviews
Colonial history at the Moravian Museum Dec 04, 2009
The Moravian Museum in Bethlehem is located in the wooden Gemeinhaus built in 1741. The Gemeinhaus was the center of the newly arrived Moravian settlers. The museum tells the story of the colonial-era Moravian community.
Museum exhibits are located throughout the Gemeinhaus interior, restored to its 18th century appearance. The center of the Gemeinhas and of the community was the large Saal. Worship and other community activites took place here.
At first, all members of the community lived communally in the Gemeinhaus. It was divided into four separate living areas, for men, women, boys, and girls. (The groups were called "choirs". Married couples lived seperatly with their choir.) Later, as the comminty grew, a chapel and other dwelling houses were built and eventually families moved into their own farmhouses.
Moravians were very musically oriented. Exhibits show examples of their string and wind instruments. (Brass quartets and choral music continue to play an important role in Moravian worship services.)
An exhibit on clothing shows Moravian dress. Men and boys work similar clothing. Females wore a differt color cap ribbon to indicate age and status: pink for young girls, red for teenage girls and unmarried women, and blue for married women.
The first Christmas Trees in America were set up by the Moravians, long before they became popular in the Victorian era. Moravian Christmas Tress consisted of a pyramid of four wooden planks decorated with greens and candles. (This style of Christmas Tree is still seen around Bethlehem.) A example is set up in the Saal.
Moravians were progessive, holding school in the Gemeinhaus for both boys and girls and establishing one of the first pharmacies in colonial America.
The original logs, squared in the German style of the period, still form the walls of the structure. They have been covered over as the building has been modified over time, but an exhibit reveals some of the original log walls and one can still see the builder's axe marks.
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