Historic Bethabara Park

The Mission of the Museum is to preserve, acquire, and interpret our cultural and natural history to make a better future.

Historic Bethabara Park, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, established to bequeath the Moravian heritage to the future in trust and to maintain a historic museum at the 183-acre, 1753 site of the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina. Modern structures include a Visitor's Center and an Archaeological Resource Center. Historic structures include the unique 1788 Gemeinhaus, the 1782 Potter's and 1803 Distiller's Houses and the 1816 log house. Reconstructed structures include a 1752 cabin, the four buildings of the 1753-54 settlement, community and medical gardens, a 1756 French and Indian War palisade fort and a 1765 barn. The Museum also contains 40 stabilized archaeological foundations, the sites of the Bethabara Mill, village and fort complex, and two colonial graveyards. The flora and fauna found in the surrounding flood plain forest and adjacent uplands remain similar to the wilderness environment of the colonial frontier settlement.

The past to be interpreted is the period 1752-1820, especially the 20 years from 1752-1772, when the first Moravian settlers founded Bethabara as a religious, medical, educational, cultural, artistic, trade, and business center. The Museum focuses on five major educational areas of interest: (1) Moravian and frontier history, (2) the archaeology park, (3) the 1753 wilderness preserve, (4) the colonial gardens and agriculture, and (5) community and school outreach programs

Bethabara is important locally as the birthplace of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Regionally it is important for its role in attracting settlers to the Carolina Piedmont Backcountry; its wildlife preserve and its natural history; and its programs to restore the natural history of the area. Nationally it is important for its archaeological resources; its continuous 1755to -ca. 1855. Moravian Pottery tradition; its reconstructed, well-documented colonial gardens; its unique German-Moravian architecture; the quantity and richness of the historic documentation associated with the settlement; and its early role in the development of American historic archaeology. Historic Bethabara is one of 12 statewide WILD Education Sites. The site is a local historic district, on the National Register of Historic Places and designated by the Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark.

The Museum preserves the historic buildings, property and artifacts. (The City of Winston-Salem and the County of Forsyth share the annual administrative budget and the City Department of Recreation and Parks is responsible for the maintenance of the buildings and grounds.) The Museum acquires more material culture through purchases, archaeological research and restorations. Moreover, it interprets our past through educational tours, exhibits and programs, as well as through carefully researched reconstructions of historic structures. Finally, the Trustees and staff operate the Museum according to the best policies and procedures of the museum profession to achieve this mission.

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