Tours - The Banana Factory arts center

ArtsQuest encourages visitors to explore our artistic community center at The Banana Factory! Tours are led by a guide who highlights the gallery exhibits, artists' studios and ArtsQuest Glass Studio, as well as touches on the history of the building.

A fun scavenger hunt is also available for kids or the kids at heart. Tours run approximately 45 minutes and cost $50 per group of up to 10 people.

Historic Bethlehem Walking Tours

The Rise And Fall Of Bethlehem Steel-Walking Tour

Along the Lehigh River: The Rise and Fall of Bethlehem Steel

With a trained guide, learn how blast furnaces worked, why men needed brass checks to get in the gate every morning, and which buildings housed which operation on this on-site walking tour that gives visitors a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a steel worker.

Location: Tour leaves from the Visitor Center at SteelStacks, 711 E. First St., Bethlehem, PA 18015.

$15 for adult (13+); $7.50 13 and older; Free for 6 & under

Dates & Times:

  • Tours: held everyday departing at 1:15pm from the Visitor's Center.
  • Movie starts: 12:30pm
  • On 10/18, 10/19 and 10/20 The Rise and Fall of Bethlehem Steel tour will depart from the ArtsQuest Center (101 Founders Way, Bethlehem PA 18015). Tickets can be picked up or purchased at the ArtsQuest Center Box Office. The film "Bethlehem: The Christmas City" will not be shown on 10/18, 10/19 or 10/20. For questions about ticket prices, please contact customer service at 610-332-1300.

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SteelStacks Art & Architecture Walking Tour


Tours Held "Everyday" At Steelstacks! Note: This tour will not be offered 10/18, 10/19 or 10/20.

Learn all about the rich architectural history and public art that adorn the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus on these new walking tours presented by Historic Bethlehem Museum and Sites and ArtsQuest.

On the Art and Architecture Tour, you'll discover 150 years of American architecture on the site, once the home to the Bethlehem Steel plant that helped build the Golden Gate Bridge, Hoover Dam, U.S. war ships for the two World Wars and much of the Manhattan skyline. Included on the 75-minute tour are examples of significant buildings erected as far back as the 1860s. Tours touch on the history of the site, but the main focus is on how the architecture of the steel mills evolved over time.

Art and Architecture Tours begin at one of the earliest buildings on the former steel plant, the 1863 Stock House, now the oldest building remaining on the site. Made of stone and brick, the Stock House was initially used to store raw materials for the iron making process. Today, it has been fully restored and serves as a Visitor Center for the City of Bethlehem.

Participants also visit the remains of the former Bessemer Rail Rolling Mill, a state-of-the-art facility when it opened in 1873 and the first fully integrated steel mill in the United States; the Turn and Grind Shop; and the Commercial-Style Steel General Offices. The tours also stop at the Levitt Pavilion, a 21st-century outdoor music pavilion created by Wallace Roberts and Todd, as well as the ArtsQuest Center, a contemporary performing arts center designed by Spillman Farmer Architects.

During the tours, visitors learn how Bethlehem Steel became a major producer of structural steel in the early 20th century including its patented wide flange beam, the I Beam, which played a prominent role in constructing many of New York City's towering skyscrapers.

The tour also highlight the five public sculptures at SteelStacks. The art pieces include "The Bridge, a 70-foot-long steel and fire arc by Elena Colombo; "The Four Elements," a 40-foot-tall glass sculpture that features 900 pieces of handcrafted glass; and "Transformation," a neon installation by renowned artist Stephen Antonakos.

Location: Tours depart from the Visitor Center at SteelStacks, 711 E. First St., Bethlehem. For more information, visit: www.historicbethlehem.org or call 1-800-360-TOUR.

Parking and Directions

$12.00 for adult (13+); $6.00 for ages 6-12; Free for 6 & under ($2 Convenience fee per tour ticket additional). Advance purchase is recommended.

Dates & Times:

  • Tours: held everyday.
  • Time: 11am departing from the Visitor's Center.

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A "Doctored" History: The Bethlehem Apothecary

Offered Tuesday through Sunday at 2:30pm

Imagine being prescribed mercury for a toothache. The development of medicine in the 19th century included practices and substances now viewed as detrimental to humans. Drawing on collections in the Kill or Cure exhibit, the tour shows how the use of these toxic cures helped advance the study of modern medicine. Tour includes a special visit to the rarely-opened Bethlehem Apothecary.

Art Activities

Children of all ages looking for a fun, creative experience can take part in a hands-on art activity led by one of our Banana Factory artists. Everyone takes home their beautiful projects as a keepsake of the day! Art activities can accommodate school lesson plans if preferred. Art activities are one hour and cost $100 for up to 10 children, each additional person is 10.

Possible activities include:

  • 'Go Green' Sculpture
  • Jewelry making
  • Mixed Media
  • Orizomegami
  • Printmaking/Stampmaking
  • Wearable Art

Mosaic activities are two hours and cost $200 for up to 10 students, each additional person is $20

There is an art activity 10% service fee on cancelations.

Hot Glass Demonstrations

Our GlassWorks studio offers a special 90-minute glassblowing demonstration led by our esteemed glass artists. This art and education program shows participants the importance of planning, teamwork and coordination in creating glass art. The best part? Your group takes home the wonderful work that's created! $400

Contact

Please contact Elizabeth Wiggins at lwiggins@artsquest.org.

Upon confirmation of booking a Banana Factory tour or art activity, an invoice is sent. Please note that payment is due in advance; no refunds are issued for cancellations made less than one week prior.

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