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Exhibitions at Moravian Historical Society  

Highlights include: 

  • Six oil paintings by John Valentine Haidt (1700–1780), the first artist in colonial America to portray chiefly religious topics.

  • The Antes violin: the earliest-known violin made in the American Colonies.

  • A 1776 pipe organ made by David Tannenberg, the most important organ-builder of his time.

  • A rare 18th-century rifle made by Andreas Albrecht at the Moravian settlement of Christian's Spring.

Moravian Historical Society Ettwein

Special Exhibitions at Moravian Historical Society 

Permanent Exhibition

The Moravian Historical Society permanent exhibition features an outstanding collection of objects connected to the establishment of the 18th-century Moravian settlements and the significant contributions Moravians made to music, art, education and culture in early America.

These items are shown together with textiles, furniture, photographs, maps, early American made firearms, tile and iron stoves, case clocks, and much, much more!

February 3 through October 29, 2023

This exhibition brings together three American firsts—a violin (1759), cello (1763), and viola (1764)—all made by the Pennsylvania-born John Antes (1740-1811). Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the fascinating life of John Antes and discover how the trio of Antes instruments came to be reunited. The exhibition will explore how stringed instruments are made and the legacy of lutherie in the Lehigh Valley from Antes to C.F. Martin. Visitors can also hear recordings of chamber music composed by John Antes while viewing the trio.

As a luthier, John Antes made seven instruments, only two of which were thought to still exist—the Moravian Historical Society’s 1759 violin and the Lititz Historical Society’s 1764 viola. The Antes 1763 cello was recently discovered in an attic outside of Pittsburgh and bought at auction in 2018 by Thomas Riddle, a descendent of Antes. Now reunited for this special exhibition, the trio represents the oldest surviving American violin family instruments. 

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Riddle Family, descendants of the Antes Family; the Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation; and the County of Northampton Hotel Tax Grant Program.

Online Exhibitions at Moravian Historical Society 

View our online exhibitions on our Digital Collections site:

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