Your Place for History
Established in 1857, the Moravian Historical Society is the third oldest in Pennsylvania. The site offers permanent and changing exhibitions, and a gift shop featuring books, local souvenirs, and handmade artisan items. We are open daily 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (except major holidays) for self-guided tours. Guided adult and youth group tours (ten or more guests) are available by appointment.
The handsome three and a half story Whitefield House that was planned and begun by George Whitefield in 1740, is today home to the Moravian Historical Society. Throughout the centuries the building has served the Moravian community in several capacities. It was the first place of worship in Nazareth. It served as a boarding school for Moravian girls, a nursery for the children of missionaries, and as the Moravian Theological Seminary. Until recently, missionaries on furlough or in retirement lived here.
Today the Whitefield House provides outstanding educational opportunities for those interested in history, religion, art, and music. Many of the items on exhibit are one of a kind or extremely rare. Among these treasures are scenes from the nativity and passion of Christ, by John Valentine Haidt.
Haidt lived in Bethlehem from 1754 to 1780, where he produced at least 29 religious canvases and 41 portraits. His classic works were used as visual aids in Moravian schools and among Indian settlements to preach the Gospel.
The Museum houses a large collection of musical instruments, including one of the first violins made in America. One of the nation's first pipe organs (c. 1776) can be seen, and a variety of other mid-18th century instruments are displayed.
A clothing and textile exhibit features beautiful religious objects, pictures embroidered in silk by members of the Bethlehem Female Seminary around 1800, and uniforms of the Nazareth Hall Military Academy.
Household Items on display include a rare Huebener tile stove made in Lititz, pottery and Stiegel glass, handwrought and cast bells of early Moravian settlements and churches, an 18th century sea chest, and more.