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Lehigh Valley Live: Exhibit of a slice of Bethlehem life set to open

May 3rd, 2016 |

May 2, 2016 | In The News

Written by Lehigh Valley Live

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is gearing up for the May 14 unveiling of the “Bethlehem Back When” exhibition, a selection of photos displayed on the second floor of the Luckenbach Mill.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a members’ reception slated for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

This is the first-ever exhibition dedicated to showcasing the photo collection, which spans decades and captures moments, big and small, in the lives of Bethlehem residents.

The project began as a community driven effort to digitize and catalogue a collection of over 8,000 photographs that were taken for Bethlehem Steel and catalogued prior to being donated to Historic Bethlehem in 1980. Volunteers from Bethlehem Historic District Association met weekly to scan and record the condition of the photographs.

Snapshots taken by Bethlehem Steel photographers encompass portraits, street views, landscapes and the occasional oddball: like a man in tights or a woman on a donkey. Other photos include: a snapshot from 1893 of the Lehigh River boat landing on Memorial Day on Calypso Island, now known as Sand Island, as well as a look at a reception at the Historic Bethlehem Tour on May 14, 1948, where hostesses, Mrs. Allen W. Stephens is pouring tea, and Mrs. William Bewley is serving sugar cake.
The “Bethlehem Back When” exhibit will run May 14 to Nov. 1 in the newly renovated Luckenbach Mill Learning Center. The Luckenbach Mill hasn’t been home to an exhibition or open to the public in over 10 years, making “Bethlehem Back When” its inauguration.
Beginning May 15, hours of operation for the Luckenbach Mill will be Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.  to 4 p.m.
In upcoming months, portions of the collection will be accessible to the public through an online catalogue, which will serve as a window back in time to the daily lives of the Bethlehem residents throughout history. The photos will also be available to order as print copies.
For information, call 610-360-TOUR. For volunteering information, contact Lindsey Jancay, curator, at 610-868-6868 ext. 63 or

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