The Bethlehem Museum is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the role Palestinian Arab Christians play in preserving the Palestinian’s heritage, identity, and culture.
The vision of the museum is:
Increasing understanding of Palestinian Heritage, Culture and Art through the Palestinian Christian national experience. Highlight the Palestinian people who are behind the Basilica of the Nativity and their role in preserving Christianity for over 2000 years. Bringing the Palestinian treasures that have been scattered around the world back to Palestine. Delivering prosperity and peace to the region.
- On October 1977 the Bethlehem Arab Women’s Union (AWU) purchased land in Bethlehem to build a museum and tourist center. They hoped to create a destination that would educate tourists on the history and heritage of Palestine.
- Through donations from different institutions and individuals, the women were able to begin construction for the museum but were unable to finish. After almost 30 years the AWU finally found HCEF whose vision for the museum was compatible with their own.
In 2012, the AWU partnered with HCEF to make their dream of opening the Bethlehem Museum for Heritage and Culture a reality.
- The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation: HCEF is a non-profit, charitable, development organization established in 1998 in the USA with the mission of preserving the presence and wellbeing of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land by raising global awareness of their present day struggles and the intrinsic role they have played in the Holy Land’s history and development.
Over the years, HCEF has developed over 20 programs and events to fulfill its mission. These programs aid the Palestinian Christian population in a number of ways, including: housing rehabilitation, children’s education, women’s empowerment, elderly care, financial investment, job creation, and bringing Palestinian youth of the Diaspora back to Palestine. HCEF utilizes these programs to promote peace, justice, prosperity, interfaith dialogue, and coexistence in the Holy Land by removing the causes of suffering and replacing despair with HOPE, fear with HUMAN SECURITY, and humiliation with DIGNITY.
- Arab Women’s Union of Bethlehem (AWU): The AWU is a non-profit charitable, social and cultural society, founded in Bethlehem in 1947. Its first mission was to support needy Palestinian women by providing jobs which enabled them to lead decent lives. This mission was expanded to promoting and supporting local handicrafts, Palestinian Folklore, and the Palestinian culinary tradition. In 1972 the AWU founded the Baitouna Al-Talhami ethnographic museum to preserve the Palestinian tradition and popular art.