The Moravian Historical Society is the third oldest historical society in Pennsylvania, established in 1857, to present the story of Moravian contributions to American history and culture. In addition to conserving 20,000-plus museum objects, the Society preserves and interprets the Gray Cottage (1740) and the Whitefield House (1740/1743), the two oldest Moravian structures in North America, which are located on a three-acre parcel called the Ephrata Tract. The Society relies heavily on volunteers to help host consistent, quality programming, preserve the two 18th century structures, maintain the grounds, and follow best preservation practices and collection management practices.
The Society is a typical small historical society: understaffed and underfunded. Many projects and activities simply would not happen without the participation of committed volunteers. Examples include creation and installation of interpretive signage, planning and implementation of a week-long history camp for children, and identification and repair of many building preservation needs. The volunteers also are critical in keeping the grounds of the Ephrata Tract maintained. The volunteers donate approximately 2,500 hours annually.
The Society actively works to recruit youth volunteers by reaching out to local and nearby school districts. In the Bethlehem Area School District, the Society is a certified location for students to receive points toward their required community service hours needed to graduate from high school. The Society also recruits volunteers from area colleges.
Designated a Preserve America Steward in February 2016.