Bethlehem resident Annie S. Kemerer left her collection of antique furniture, textiles, porcelain, folk art, paintings, Bohemian glass, and other significant historical objects to the City of Bethlehem in 1951. Her collection served as the core for the establishment of the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts. In 2006, the Kemerer Museum received the bequest of The Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse and Toy Collection – these collections, along with exhibitions and educational programs of the Kemerer Museum, tell the story of the Lehigh Valley region throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries.
The Historic Bethlehem Partnership, a consortium of Bethlehem’s historic sites, desired to expand and improve the condition of its collection storage by creating new museum standard climate controlled facilities consolidated at the Kemerer Museum. The developed scheme opens up former period rooms at the Museum, which curatorial staff agreed were not the Museum’s strength, into large open galleries that provided a continuous fluid circulation. Additions include a new garden gallery and significant collection storage located at the core of the public galleries offering opportunities to display stored artifacts.