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Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Extends its Successful Silk Exhibit into the Spring

January 18th, 2024

New additions to the exhibition include never-before-seen pieces and a digital component.

Bethlehem, PA (January 18, 2024) – Since June 2023, Unspun: Stories of Silk, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites’ (HBMS) exhibition, has been telling the fascinating story of silk in the Lehigh Valley. Starting with the attic cocooneries of Moravian Bethlehem, the exhibition detailed the region’s rise in the industry and looked at silk’s impact on fashion and the global marketplace. Due to overwhelming popularity, the exhibition has been extended until April 28, 2024.

The collection comprises special objects, beautiful garments, and fascinating individual narratives from both the past and present. Three museums are participating in the exhibition, the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, and the National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH). An expanded digital exhibition companion has been added since the opening, which features a selection of photographs from the Industrial Archives & Library and additional content related to the exhibition.

Highlights include:

  • Rarely seen items from Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites’ collections, including silk gloves, silk-insulated boots, and a fur-lined coat from Mrs. Frances Martin, who in the 1960s helped to save the 1810 Goundie House from demolition.
  • Wedding gowns that double as wearable art on loan from internationally recognized fashion designer Barbara Kavchok
  • Silk purses, handbags, and clutches from the collection of Lehigh Valley local author and community leader Ilene Wood.
  • Silk puppets on loan from LA-based puppeteer and artist Robin Walsh.
  • The exhibit’s latest acquisitions include an 1870s silk Quaker dress and a 1940s parachute wedding dress.

This colorful show is made possible, in part, through generous support from presenting sponsor, The Helen & R.K. Laros Foundation. A combo pass with access to all three exhibition sites is $30 for adults and $22 for children (7-18); children (6 and under) are free. HBMS members and NMIH members enjoy free access during the exhibition. Tickets are on sale now at historicbethlehem.org

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ABOUT HISTORIC BETHLEHEM MUSEUMS & SITES: Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a not-for-profit institution that brings to life three centuries of American history. Historic Bethlehem tells the story of a small town of great influence, home to some of our nation’s earliest settlers, America’s first municipal water pumping system, and one of the world’s greatest industrial companies. Historic Bethlehem is located in eastern Pennsylvania, only a 1-hour drive from Philadelphia to the North and 2 hours west of New York City. Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and part of Historic Moravian Bethlehem, which is a National Historic Landmark District and candidate for possible nomination to the World Heritage List. For more information, visit historicbethlehem.org 

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