St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem Campus
801 Ostrum Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Tours by appointment - please call or email Maria Collette, the museum’s curator.
Seven Kiosks Display Museum Information
Historical artifacts, photos and information for the museum were gathered from the hospital, St. Luke’s School of Nursing Alumni, Bethlehem Public Library, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Lehigh University and the Moravian Archives.
The collections are divided into seven kiosks or pavilions, each focusing on a different era or discipline.
Legacy of Caring and the Community
(1760 – 1874)
This pavilion depicts the early history of Bethlehem, from its founding by the Moravians through the construction of the Lehigh Canal and the railroads that would prove its lifeblood and its connection to the Industrial Revolution. A 1760s map of the Moravian Tract locates Dr. Oppelt’s Hydropathic Institute, the site on which St. Luke’s Hospital would be built. Several of the hospital’s founding fathers, prominent citizens of the era, are featured.
Hospital (1873 – 1973)
From 47 beds in its first year to more than 400 in its 100th year, St. Luke’s progresses from the "water cure" building to a modern center of healing and hope. This pavilion includes architectural drawings, period photos and a history of the Bethlehem Steel, one of the hospitals most generous and most important patrons.
Estes Era / Auxiliary & Volunteer Services
Arguably two of the most well known of St. Luke’s historical figures, William L. Estes, MD, and his son, William L. Estes Jr, MD, are profiled in this pavilion. Their lives and incredible contributions to the hospital are illustrated in professional and candid photos. The St. Luke’s Hospital Auxiliary, from its beginnings at the Church of the Nativity through its years as the Ladies' Aid Society, is also featured, as is St. Luke’s Volunteer Services Department and their corps of more than1,000 volunteers.
Education has always been central to the philosophy of medicine at St. Luke’s. This pavilion illustrates the many facets of education at the hospital from the diploma School of Nursing to medical education, physician residency programs and pastoral and patient education. The Priscilla Payne Hurd Education Center is featured, as is the Estes Library.
Nursing is highlighted in this pavilion. Photos and prose illustrate nursing’s long journey from its earliest days at St. Luke’s to its modern recognition as one of the most important and respected professions.
Medical / Surgical Development
From evil spirits to gene therapy, the development of medical and surgical practices is highlighted in this pavilion. Featured is the evolution at St. Luke’s of modern facilities, technology and practices and techniques.
Modern Era (1972 – Present)
From the economic downturn of the ‘70s to the era of accelerated growth in the ‘80s and ‘90s, this pavilion focuses on the dynamic leadership of Priscilla Payne Hurd, the first woman to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees, and the growth of St. Luke’s from the hospital on the hill to a regional integrated network. The first open heart surgery at the hospital is featured, as is its aggressive construction and renovation program.