Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University
The Center was established in 1992 to gather, preserve, and distribute knowledge of Pennsylvania German rural life in southeastern Pennsylvania. The collections and functions carried out aim to 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 open to the public include Harvest Fescht, a fall weekend celebration, Christmas on the Farm, and Easter on the Farm.
Our collections include over 10,000 artifacts, numerous historical documents, and 18th and 19th century Pennsylvania German family genealogical records. Preservation of the Pennsylvania German (“Pennsylvania Dutch”) dialect as spoken in southeastern Pennsylvania is one of the Heritage Center’s goals. The Center sponsors dialect classes in the fall and is heavily involved with the only dialect newspaper still in existence, Hiwwe wie Driwwe. The Center also publishes a calendar and annual volume that is available for sale.
The Center houses the collection of more than 10,000 artifacts of the Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Culture Society. The distinctive collection represents Pennsylvania German rural life of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is special emphasis on the household, the school, women’s clothing, as well as farm and agricultural equipment.
The Center also houses the Pennsylvania German Genealogical Center, an important resource established through the research of the late Russell Baver and through subsequent contributions of materials. In cooperation with the Palatinate Historical Institute in Kaiserslautern, Germany, the historical records of German emigrants to Pennsylvania in the late 18th and early 19th centuries are now accessible at the Center. All of these genealogical resources are available to the public. Inquiries are invited.