Bethlehem Historical Association

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2020 Fall Exhibits

New Exhibits for Fall 2020 are:

  • How transportation formed Bethlehem history with Rivers, Roads & Rails.
  • Step into an early classroom and see how our formal education system developed. 
  • Go Around the Mulberry Bush with early 20th c. housewives as they go about their weekly chores. 
  • Get acquainted with the Wilke family who farmed on Beaver Dam Road.
  • Learn about events that took place right here in Bethlehem that led to the passage of 19th amendment one hundred years ago. 

A new scavenger hunt will help lead you through the various exhibits.

2012 Summer Exhibit

A vintage photo of a Westervelt family home on Clapper Road.


Our annual Ice Cream Social opens the Summer Exhibit at the Cedar Hill School House Sunday, June 17, 2012 from 1-4 pm. Many thanks to Stewart’s Shops for providing the fixings for a refreshing old fashioned sundae.

The summer exhibit this year highlights the local Westervelt family. The history of two branches of the family from Clapper Road and Wemple Road are explored through family items such as documents, toys, clothing, and coverlets many of which date from the 1790s to the civil War era. Our own Dawn Pratt, whose grandmother was a Westervelt, will be available during opening day with information on her family.

Other displays focus on Home Life during the Civil War. A local collector will showcase antique medical equipment and battlefield medicine

Another exhibit highlights the Albany Army Relief Bazaar. "On the 1861 home front, President Abraham Lincoln authorized the formation of the United States Sanitary Commission to raise private funds for the medical care of the Union Troops wounded in Civil War battles. In February 1864, a group of Albany women organized the Albany Relief Bazaar and raised $17,189. This three-week event included ethnic booths, art exhibitions, tableaux, souvenir shops, and lotteries, all well-documented with detailed photographs. " (Quote from the Albany Institute of History & Art)

The Summer Exhibit continues through September 30, 2012. The museum at the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse is open Sunday afternoons from 2-4 pm, June 17 – September 30 (closed Sept.2). The Ice Cream Social and museum displays are free and open to the public. All are welcome!

A vintage photo of a Westervelt family home on Clapper Road.

2011 Summer Exhibit

The Civil War Remembered

The Bethlehem Historical Association announces a special series of Summer Sunday presentations in conjunction with their summer long exhibition: “The Civil War Remembered.” The exhibition features displays of relics and reproductions from members and friends, and looks at several aspects of army and navy life, as well as treating of several local families and their involvement in that time 150 years ago.

Each presentation is given by a local expert, is free to the public, and lasts less than an hour. Visitors are invited to tour the museum, which is also free every Sunday this summer, from 2 pm to 4pm. 

July 24, Robert E. Mulligan, Jr. will offer How and Why Do We Remember the Civil War? - 35 Minutes. With brief examples, we see how song, story, poetry and prose (and the Movies and TV) have kept the Civil War alive in the memory of the American public. Mr. Mulligan will also be able to answer questions about the museum exhibition, of which he was the Curator.

August 14, Mark Bodnar will offer his entertaining power point: “The Civil War in Albany Rural Cemetery” Mark has discovered almost 800 veterans buried in this large and old cemetery, including some from Bethlehem. But he also talks about the bankers, business men, politicians, wives and families of people caught up in the national trauma. In the 1860s news from Albany was national news, as Mark will make clear.

August 28, Michael Aikey, Director of the NYS Military Heritage Museum, will show his power point presentation: “Father Abrahams’ Boys: When We Sent Our Children to War” New York State sent more soldiers to war than any other. The youngest to die, was ten and a half years old. Don’t miss this thought provoking presentation.

September 11, Valerie Thompson will discuss “Mary Edwards Walker, MD” Walker was not only the first American Woman to qualify for the medical degree of Doctor, but she is also the first and only woman to receive the Medal of Honor. Her life was pioneering, controversial, and you will find it very interesting.

Our 2011 summer exhibit continues through September 25, 2011.

“The Town of Bethlehem sent 149 men to the Civil War. This was about 3% of the total population. The majority of the 64 men were born in Germany. This surprise is accounted for by the fact that the Town Supervisor set up a recruiting booth in the South End of the City of Albany, the German section of town. Most of these Germans went to Captain David Burhans’ company of the 43rd New York. 36 of the 149 were born in the County of Albany.”   From “The Civil War Remembered” an exhibit mounted by the Bethlehem Historical Association.

2010 Summer Exhibit Opens June 13

Opening day is Sunday June 13 and includes a free ice cream social.  The exhibit, which features recent acquisitions and vintage clothing, will be open Sunday afternoons until September 26. 

2009 Summer Exhibit

Bethlehem's Hudson River Heritage

Opening Day Ice Cream Social & Bethlehem Art Association Show & Sale

Opening Day is Sunday June 14 from 10-4 pm, ice cream served at 1 pm. 

The exhibit continues Sunday afternoons through October 25, from 2-4 pm.