EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) — The Nashville-based American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) announced on Wednesday that the Historic Ephrata Cloister won an Award of Excellence for their work in their 2020 Virtual Holiday Programming.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ephrata Cloister utilized technology to continue its 40-year holiday traditions in a virtual format. They hosted three programs last year, using Facebook Live, Zoom, and Youtube.

On Facebook Live, they had a conversation, titled Candlelight Chat, with Ephrata Householder, Michael Miller. The Cloister also had a recorded version of Christmas at the Cloister with photo collages and music. Then they had a 40-minute film with their student historians about the Cloister’s hospital role during the 1770s titled “Witness to History.”

The Historic Ephrata Cloister was founded in 1732 by German immigrant Conrad Beissel, and is known today to be an example of William Penn’s vision of religious toleration. Pa. purchased the property in 1941, restored it, and today gives a glimpse into Ephrata’s contributions to the founding of America.

The Cloister is now open for the public, and is one of 26 historic sites and museums on the Pa. Trail of History.

The AASLH gave out 38 national awards to honor people, projects, exhibits, and publications. Those honored are said to be the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history.

Now in its 76th year, AASLH, a not-for-profit organization, honors excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history in the U.S.