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Celebrating a giant step forward: Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites honors World Heritage milestone

February 3rd, 2023

BETHLEHEM, FEBRUARY 3, 2023— The Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites community received some spirited news Wednesday.

On Friday, the team popped a few bottles of Champagne to celebrate the bubbly occasion.

HBMS leadership and staff gathered (appropriately) in the Gemeinhaus — the Bethlehem Moravian’s first meeting place — to toast the team’s latest step toward attaining UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition.

Earlier this week, the City of Bethlehem announced that the U.S. Department of the Interior submitted Historic Moravian Bethlehem as its first multi-national nomination to the World Heritage List.

Current HBMS President LoriAnn Wukitsch seized the moment to honor the accomplishment and those assembled — especially the dedicated work of her predecessor Charlene Donchez Mowers.

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites’ President LoriAnn Wukitsch (left) and former HBMS President Charlene Donchez Mowers receive flowers of appreciation Friday at the Gemeinhaus in celebration of the city’s next step toward World Heritage Site recognition.

“What an exciting time for Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites and our team to celebrate,” said Wukitsch as addressed the party assembled in the Saal. “This culminates over 20 years of work within our partner organizations and community … along with Charlene’s unwavering focus on creating this badge of honor for our community!”

Wukitsch then turned to those assembled to take turns sharing stories about how they have engaged the community around the city’s history.

The ceremony was capped off as HBMS Board of Trustees Chair Joel Rosenfeld presented Wukitsch and Donchez Mowers with a colorful bouquet of flowers — along with heartfelt congratulations and appreciation.

HBMS docent Ted Moyer addresses the crowd at the Gemeinhaus in celebration of the city’s next step toward World Heritage Site recognition.

There are just 24 World Heritage Sites in the U.S. and 1,154 worldwide. The Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, and the Great Wall of China are among them.

Bethlehem’s World Heritage Commission has been working for years to prepare for the nomination and unite with the other applicants to form a single worldwide Moravian Church Settlement Site.

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