As the birthplace of Jesus, and with more than 2000 years of rich history, Bethlehem is recognized as a Palestinian City and the religious Capital of Palestine. The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s interest with the Bethlehem Museum for Palestinian Heritage, History & Culture, was heightened when Palestinian locals approached HCEF for assistance in the development museum that will include artifacts covering all aspects of Palestinian life including traditional garb, jewelry, art, agricultural tools and a host of various other items, all documented with a description of each.
Every year, approximately 1.5 to 2 million visitors travel to the city of Bethlehem and the Nativity, yet many do not know much about the Palestinians, or that Arab Christians even exists. They do not know there are Palestinian Arabs, Muslims and Christians, living together peacefully. Pilgrims come to Bethlehem from all over the world, visit and leave without ever knowing the depth and truth of the Palestinian Heritage, History, Culture and Faith. This is where the Bethlehem Museum for Palestinian Heritage, History & Culture will shine! It will illuminate and enlighten those who enter its doors, providing for them an education and for some a reeducation about the heritage, history culture and faith!
The (BMP) will be a place where all Pilgrims, Palestinians in particular, and others can learn about the richness and diversity of the Arab Palestinian experience, how it affects their lives and helped to shape this nation.
Additionally, HCEF is focusing on its work with the Diaspora. Already, HCEF has launched its national program, Know Thy Heritage (KTH) which was established to empower Palestinian youth in the Diaspora by strengthening their knowledge of their Palestinian identity, culture, history and traditions, as well as their understanding of Palestinian economic environment, political landscape, social structures and conditions. We aim to
- Reach the Diaspora to facilitate the re-education, and education for some, about their Palestinian heritage, history and culture.
- The KTH program also provides opportunity for us to partner with the BMP as an additional resource and opportunity for building and reconnecting people with their heritage through tangible artifacts.
- As another resource, we are launching the www.palestiniansurprises.com, a website that provides additional information about Palestinians in Palestine and around the world, and their achievements and contributions to society.
HCEF aims to maintain and preserve the Christians of the Holy Land, particularly in Bethlehem, and promote it internationally as the main religious, historic and cultural city for tourists. The presence of this unique museum will help to preserve, protect, promote and present the ideas, arts and artifacts of the Palestinian heritage, history and culture, and faith, building confidence as we effectively connect our past accomplishments with our future.
- Maintain Palestinian heritage and traditions, educate Palestinians and pilgrims from around the world about the rich culture of the Palestinian people, and tell their stories from one site replete with Palestinian history
- Continue to develop the city of Bethlehem as the religious, historic and cultural capital of Palestine
- Collect and preserve historically significant artifacts with roots in Palestine.
- Establish a research library
- Provide public education through schools, universities, academic presentations and exhibit openings
- Increasing the number of visitors to Bethlehem
Exhibit & Collections
The collections of the (BMP) will contribute to the museum's research, exhibitions and programs. The purpose is to collect, preserve and display historical artifacts, documents and art that reflect the history, development and many aspects of the Arab Palestinian experience to provide visitors with a realistic and educational perspective of the Palestinian culture and history, and its influence.
The museum's foundational collections will be representative, featuring items from all regions of Historical Palestine. Artifacts and artwork that reflect the historical and cultural links of Palestine to the Palestinian Diaspora, as well as cultural material including works of art, historical artifacts, customs, photographs, moving images, archival documents, electronic data, audio recordings, books and manuscripts will be part of the items on exhibit.
HCEF is partnering with the Arab Women’s Union in promoting and maintaining the Bethlehem Museum for Palestinian Heritage, History & Culture.