The Center is part of the educational and cultural program at Kutztown University. It was established in 1992 to gather, preserve, and disseminate knowledge of Pennsylvania German rural life in southeastern Pennsylvania from about 1740 to 1920. The primary functions of the Center are educational and archival. The means by which the purpose and functions are carried out are programs and collections which authentically portray Pennsylvania German life.
Activities include lectures, musical events, historic reenactments, and courses in folk lore and history. Special programs for children are held in the Freyberger School, an authentically-restored 19th century one-room school house. Annual events of special note are Harvest festival, a fall weekend celebration of Pennsylvania German life in a farm village setting, and Glieder Fescht, the festive early-spring dinner meeting the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center Membership.
Our collections include over 10,000 artifacts, numerous historical documents, and 18th and 19th century Pennsylvania German family genealogical records, representing the spectrum of human activity in rural life of the period. The genealogical collection is a partnership project of the Center and the Palatinate Historical Institute, Kaiserslautern, Germany. Genealogical research is available at nominal cost through the Center.
Preservation of the Pennsylvania German ("Pennsylvania Dutch") dialect as spoken in southeastern Pennsylvania is one of the Heritage Center's goals. In cooperation with Grundsow Lodges and other organizations, the Center sponsors classes in the dialect in the Fall. For more information, please call (610) 683-1589.
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